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Atiku: Tinubu wanted to be my running mate but I said no

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has narrated how he turned down the offer made by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2007.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has narrated how he turned down the offer made by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2007.

Atiku, who served as the deputy of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007, said Tinubu wanted to be his running mate in the year he lost his first presidential election, but he said no.

Atiku fell out with Obasanjo in the bid to succeed him, but later clinched the presidential ticket of Action Congress (AC), a party that Tinubu was instrumental to its formation after the political “Tsunami” that hit Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors who were elected in 1999.

Towards the end of his second term as governor of Lagos, Tinubu laid the groundwork for the establishment of AC, the platform on which Babatunde Fashola, incumbent Minister of Works and Housing, was elected as his successor.

However, he came a distant third in the election, which was won by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President Muhammadu Buhari of the then All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP) came second.

The AC had put up a force in the National Assembly, where it won 32 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives and 6 out of 109 seats in the Senate.

Addressing the Board of Trustees members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a meeting on Tuesday, Atiku said the opposition party should not be coerced to accept zoning in the 2023 presidency race.

He also dismissed insinuations that he was working against the possible zoning of the PDP Presidential ticket to the South-East.

“In the party, we invented and formulated this zoning policy simply because we wanted every part of this country to have a sense of belonging and I personally have paid my dues on the issue of zoning.

“Many of you were members of our government when all the PDP governors came in 2003 and said I should run and I said no. We have agreed that power should remain in the South-West, Why should I?

“Some of those governors that supported me, some of them went to jail, some of them were kicked out of their offices, we made sure that we kept the policy. Therefore, you cannot come and try to imply that the PDP has not been following the zoning policy.”

“The many years of PDP government eight years and six years all of them were from the South. So, we should not be stampeded by the opposition party. They have a moral obligation which is inescapable.

“Some say the South-East have not been given the chance. When I joined the Action Congress (AC) which my friend Bola (Tinubu) set up, he gave me a set of conditions for giving me the ticket, one of which was that I should make him the Vice President. I said no, ‘I’m not going to make you Vice President,’ instead, I took Senator Ben Obi,” Atiku said.

Tinubu is currently one of the presidential aspirants of the ruling APC, while Atiku is one of the major contenders for the PDP presidential ticket.

Atiku added that when he got the ticket again in 2019 to run, he took another Obi coincidentally.

“So, there is absolutely no reason they should say that there is a deliberate attempt to exclude the South-East in political participation or power sharing.”

“So I thought I should disabuse your mind and of course, as an enlightened political class, I don’t think there’s any deliberate policy to exclude anybody in this country,” he said.

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