Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has revealed that in the race for the presidency in 2007, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, offered to be his running mate but he turned down the proposition.
Atiku, who was VP to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007, said Tinubu wanted to be his vice president in the year he lost his first presidential race, but he (Atiku) said no and nominated a different individual.
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He revealed this to members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday where he made a case for his stand regarding zoning ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
“The southeast said they have not been given a chance, I protested against the violation of the zoning policy in 2007, and together with my friend Bola (Tinubu) we set up Action Congress (AC).
“We went to Lagos, he gave me [a] ticket but said that the condition of handing me the ticket was that I should make him vice president, I said no; I’m not going to make you Vice President; instead, I nominated Senator Ben Obi,” Atiku narrated.
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The PDP chieftain used the anecdote to emphasize that he was not working against the possible zoning of the party’s presidential ticket to the South.
“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,” Atiku stated.
He further asserted that there is absolutely no reason why people from the southern region of the country should say that there is a deliberate attempt to exclude them in political participation or power-sharing.
“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,” Atiku assured the party faithful.
Photo Credit: Getty