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‘Multiple unconnected third parties corroborate Atiku’s position on Tinubu’

By Barakat Akolade
25 July 2022   |   4:04 am
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate has responded to “claims” by his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, following “the groundbreaking interview” granted by Atiku ...

APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu and PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate has responded to “claims” by his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, following “the groundbreaking interview” granted by Atiku to Arise TV.

Though Tinubu’s response to the interview “was replete with indiscreet language,” Atiku’s adviser, Paul Ibe, in a statement, yesterday, said: “In responding, he (Atiku) has chosen the route of a friendly riposte, in the hope that his gesture will be reciprocated by Asiwaju in future.”

The statement reads in part: “On the issue of Atiku offering to make Tinubu his running mate in 2007, the Waziri says as a statesman, which he believes Tinubu also is, or should be, it is pertinent that they use temperate language at all times. It not only shows that they are seasoned and mature, more importantly, it is a good indicator of fitness for the office.

“And that is why it is our intention to respond to Asiwaju’s statement on Atiku’s Arise TV interview, not in the rather impolite manner that he dealt the PDP presidential candidate, but in measured tones.

“The major accusation made by Tinubu is that the Waziri Adamawa offered him the opportunity of being his running mate in 2007, which means that the former vice president was not then mindful of Nigeria’s religious and ethnic diversity, making his statements during the Arise TV interview hypocritical.

“We would not say that Tinubu has lied. Rather, it is our desire to give him the benefit of the doubt, and believe that his memory may not be what it used to be.

“Nigerians may want to note that on September 14, 2005, the then US Consul General, Brian L. Browne, drafted a memo, leaked via Wikileaks, wherein he stated that Bola Tinubu was scheming to be a running mate to either Atiku or Muhammadu Buhari.

“This is further historically corroborated by the subsequent political history of Nigeria. Biographers of President Buhari have variously recounted how Tinubu made the same request of then presidential candidate, Buhari, in 2015.

“In his 2016 authorised biography of President Buhari, titled: ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, Prof. John Paden, an American, wrote about the issue as follows:

‘Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and political ‘godfather’ of the South West geopolitical zone, felt he should be the vice-presidential candidate.’

“The above clearly shows a behavioural pattern here. So, if anyone is ‘unhinged from the truth’ (to borrow Tinubu’s words), it certainly is not Atiku.

“In any case, if Tinubu can forget the name of his own political party, why will he not also forget what transpired in 2007 and 2015? We do sympathise with him.

“The fact remains that in a fragile and ethnically diverse nation, such as ours, religious and ethnic balance must be observed at the highest levels, and, from there, flow downwards.

“That is what Atiku said during his interview with Arise TV on Thursday, July 21, 2022, and he stands on that principle and will continue to so stand without apology to anyone.

“From the forgoing, it is clear that Atiku’s memory and recollection of the event has been corroborated by multiple, independent, and unconnected third parties, and if this were a court of law, this issue would have been regarded as proved beyond reasonable doubt.

“We would also like to remind Nigerians that even though multiple sources have testified that Tinubu desperately lobbied to be made Buhari’s deputy in a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Tinubu himself denied this on June 22, 2022, and instead accused Buhari of offering him the position of vice president.

“Which is exactly the same false allegation he has made against Atiku. This is a pattern of behaviour. Not owning up to his actions. Therefore, we hope this settles the matter, and that cordiality can be expected henceforth from the opposing camp.”