Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has opened up old wounds about political bigwigs like Atiku Abubakar, Alex Ekwueme, Rasheed Ladoja and others.
Obasanjo who spoke at the public presentation Amazing Grace’ a biography of former Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, on Thursday 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 clarified some aspects of the book, giving a revelation of what went down behind the scenes.
Concerning Atiku and the 2003 general elections, 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 blamed 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.
In another aspect, Obasanjo said that an attempt to reconcile former governor Rashidi Ladoja with the duo of the late political leader, Chief Lamidi Adedibu and Chief Yekinni Adeojo fell on deaf ears.
The alleged crack in the relationship between Ladoja and his erstwhile godfather led to Ladoja’s impeachment.
Reacting to page 140 of the book, Obasanjo said:
“You pointed out on page 140 that Ladoja picked up a quarrel with me for reason of a non-existent third term. I didn’t know that Ladoja picked up a quarrel that his becoming governor was due to the grace of God and major contributions of two people- Yekinni Adeojo from whom the party structure was wretched and Chief Adedibu who spearheaded the whole programme.
“I pleaded with him to make accommodation for them both. He told me that they were all Ibadan people and they knew how to deal with themselves. He subsequently proved himself right as they dealt with themselves and he, Ladoja, came out the worse for it.
“Adebayo, I must thank you for weaving my school life with my uncle, Chief Gabriel Otunla, my Physics and Chemistry teacher at the Baptist Boys’ High School, BBHS, Abeokuta on page 387. Without him, none of us at the school at that time, including MKO you mentioned, would have studied any science subject other than biology. When Chief Otunla returned from Manchester University, he changed our situation drastically and our lived were enriched and we were all better for it. Maybe in thanking God for Mr. Otunla, I should also thank you for Chief Otunla being your uncle or thank Chief Otunla for being your uncle.
“I wonder how you come on page 390 of your book to blame or criticise me for dividing the Ibadan-Ilorin Road to three sections for reconstruction during my second term so that it could be expeditiously completed. You had a full-term plus one year from Governor Ladoja’s tenure as Governor and even up till today the roads are not completed and you believe honestly that in your biography, I should be blamed at least thirteen years after l have left office. As an Ogbomosho man, I can understand how important that road is to you. But when I took the steps which I took for the road to be expeditiously handled, it was not for your interest as an Ogbomosho man but for the economic life of Nigeria and it is tragic that the artery road is in the sorry state it is today.
“Bayo, I will not say much on the issue of Muraina and Mulikat for Speaker of House of Representatives as reported on page 391 as you out it, “I sinned against this man once and that has marred our fantastic relationship”. The story as you wrote it down is not correct. You proposed Muraina for the work and we all accepted him for South-West and we started to work. As a result, the then National Vice-Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, wrote to the then Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Haliru Muhammed Bello, on 12 May 2011 to put Muraina forward. I got a copy of that chairman as chair of BOT of PDP. It was unbelievable for me to hear you later surreptitiously started prompting Mukaila, a lady from Ogbomosho, and you had started working behind the scene for her without coming back to tell me what had changed and why, nor go back to the South-West caucus. Iwo lo pe ole ko wa jawa, Iwo lope oloko ko wa so oko. That, to me, is duplicity and I don’t play such a game. Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo told me later the game that was played and in the end, you and the South West were the losers. But you have apologized and I have forgiven, and, of course, I am here. This book has also passed into history,” Obasanjo added.