Contrary to widespread belief, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the alliance of his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar with late Dr Alex Ekwueme during the 2003 presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party collapsed after Ekwueme was defeated at the poll.
Obasanjo said this in Ibadan on Thursday at the public presentation of ‘Amazing Grace’, a biography of former Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala.
Obasanjo, who was the chairman on the occasion, gave the explanation to correct an aspect of the book, where the author claimed that Atiku backed down before the primary poll.
He said, “Again, Atiku did not back down as you claimed until Alex Ekwueme was defeated at the primary of PDP in 2003, as Atiku’s agreement with Ekwueme was to be Ekwueme’s running mate and Ekwueme, as President, spending three years and resigning for Atiku to complete the fourth year and then for Atiku to contest election in his own right in 2007.
“It was after the result of the primary that Atiku backed down.
If you put it that way, it was when there was no other choice.”
Obasanjo also faulted the roles played by Alao-Akala in the failure of the South-West to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which Aminu Tambuwal eventually won.
He said Alao-Akala first proposed Ajibola Muraina and he (Obasanjo) and others accepted him, adding that Alao-Akala later began to lobby for Mulikat Akande, who was eventually defeated by Tambuwal.