Presidency: I once rejected Tinubu as running mate — Atiku
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Presidency: I once rejected Tinubu as running mate — Atiku

Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu wanted to run with him as presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in 2007.

Atiku was made the AC presidential candidate in 2007 after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he was serving as vice president since 1999, shut its doors against him.

The AC was formed by Tinubu, who was at that time, serving as a second term governor of Lagos State.

Atiku told the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) members that Tinubu gave him conditions before he could allow him to fly the AC ticket.

“When I joined the ACN, which my friend Bola was setting up, he gave me a set of conditions for giving me the ticket, that I should make him vice president. I said ‘no, I’m not going to make you vice president.’ Instead I took Senator Ben (Obi),” the former vice president disclosed.

He called on the BoT members to support his presidential ambition in 2023 or they will all retire with him from politics.

“Your excellences, friends, brothers and sisters, we are now at a crucial moment in this country. Many of you here, it is either we retire together or we move on together,” he advised.

Atiku expressed the worry that PDP might not survive another eight years as an opposition party.

He noted that people in developing countries like Nigeria gravitate towards the government in power, adding that it might lead to the death of PDP.

The former vice president defended his position on rotational presidency, stating that PDP adopted zoning to give every part of the country a sense of belonging.

According to him, he had paid his dues for supporting zoning.

He told the BoT members that “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 Southwest, 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. So, you cannot come and try to imply that the PDP has not been following the zoning policy.

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

Chairman of the PDP BoT, Senator Jibrin Walid, expressed the hope that the party would give every aspirant a level playing field.  

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