Abuja - Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has revealed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to become a life president, contrary to reports that he wanted a third term in office.
Atiku said Obasanjo had no plan to vacate the seat in 2007.
Atiku made the revelations in an interview with Zero Tolerance, the in-house magazine of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
Atiku said it was assumed that the plan was to modify the constitution so that Obasanjo could serve a third, four-year term as President.
He, however, said the aspect of tenure limitation was carefully removed so that Obasanjo could be President for life.
Also read: Obasanjo reconciles with Atiku in Minna
Atiku also bared his mind on the corruption charges levelled against him.
He said he was not corrupt, contrary to some perception created around him.
Read excerpts from Atiku’s interview with Zero Magazine.
Why were you at loggerheads with Obasanjo towards the end of your tenure?
“My offence was that I disagreed with him on the amendment of the constitution to remove tenure/term limits or what was popularly called the ‘third term agenda’.
“In fact, he sent the then Attorney-General and Prof. Jerry Gana to my office to bring the draft amendments to the constitution. After going through (them), I found out that tenure limits had been removed. In other words, he could be President for life.
“I then asked them that ‘if I send you to the President, can you deliver this message?’ They said yes. I said ‘go and tell him I will not support it and (I) will fight it’.”
Did Obasanjo kneel down for you in 2003?
“It is not true that he knelt for me. Of course, he came to my house and I refused to see him. He started it. How can you go and declare your candidacy and refuse to declare that you will run with your running mate?
“So I had to fight back to remain on the ticket. Eventually he declared that he was running with me and then came to my house and we made up.”
Atiku spoke of his respect for Obasanjo, irrespective of the disagreement he had with the ex-President in office.
He said: “I still thank God and him for nominating me as his Vice President which gave me the opportunity to experience governance at the highest level. We had political disagreement quite rightly so. I never shied away from political disagreement; we quarrelled and where we couldn’t make up, it became public knowledge.
“But still, I respect him as my former boss. The fact that we disagreed politically is no reason why we should be at loggerheads all our lifetime. In any case, as far as politics is concerned I don’t have any enemy; I could have an opponent. Enmity is too strong a word to use in a relationship that is purely political.”
- News 24