A wife of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Mrs. Titi Abubakar, has recalled how the frosty relationship that existed in the past between her husband and former President Olusegun Obasanjo started.
She attributed the friction to the handiwork of presidential aides who she claimed were not comfortable with the cordial relationship between the two leaders.
The relationship between Obasanjo and Atiku became frosty towards the twilight of the Obasanjo’s administration which ran from 1999 to 2007.
It was alleged that Atiku had worked against the third-term agenda purportedly mooted by his then boss.
Obasanjo did not support Atiku’s earlier efforts at becoming the President. Since then, there had been no love lost between the two.
But shortly after Atiku emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 election, Obasanjo said he had forgiven him and was ready to support him in actualising his dream of becoming the country’s President.
In an interview with our correspondents in Abuja, Atiku’s wife said she was happy about Obasanjo’s change of mind regarding her husband’s ambition.
Describing the former President as “our father,” Mrs. Abubakar claimed Obasanjo loved Atiku and that was why he chose him to be his running mate at a time he (Atiku) had already won the governorship election in Adamawa State.
She alleged that aides, who worked with the two leaders in the Presidential Villa, were responsible for the disagreement.
She, however, did not mention the names of those she claimed caused the friction.
When asked how she felt when she heard that Obasanjo had endorsed Atiku, she said, “I was happy because Baba Obasanjo is our father. I have expressed my desire to visit him and he told me I should not worry, that we are all working towards the same goal of making Nigeria to be great again.
“Baba Obasanjo so much loves my husband; you know that my husband won Adamawa governorship before Baba sent for him to come and be his vice president.
“It was the people around them that caused the friction. They don’t like seeing two people agreeing; they will start to carry tales in order to cause division between them.
“So, I want to say that it was all those lieutenants that were with them when we were in the Presidential Villa that caused the division between them.”
Atiku’s wife added that contrary to the many misconceptions about her husband, the PDP presidential candidate was not a thief.
“People have different misconceptions about him but I keep telling them that I know him very well; he is the husband of my youth. Atiku is not a thief,” she said.
To buttress her point, she cited the case of 53 suitcases which she said Atiku, as an official of the Nigeria Customs Service then, insisted must be inspected at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
She said Atiku’s insistence would have caused him his job but for the benevolence of his boss who decided to transfer him to Kano instead of sacking him as directed.
She added, “Atiku insisted that those suitcases must be opened. They contained laundered money.
“Those in power then were not happy with him because it was during the military era. They called his boss, the then minister of finance, asking him to sack Atiku. The man refused to sack him but he was transferred to Kano.”
Mrs. Abubakar faulted the search on her husband’s aircraft by security agents when he returned to the country last Sunday, saying the action of the security agents was not right.
She stated, “His aircraft was searched, thinking that he was going to bring money into the country. They sent security officials to ransack everywhere but they did not see anything. I even told people that if Atiku had brought money into Nigeria, it could not have been the nation’s money.
“He has many friends abroad who are aware that he is contesting the election and they can decide to assist him financially. What is wrong in that?
“Atiku is a rich man. He did not steal Nigeria’s money. Atiku has a conglomerate of businesses. They did that to him as a former vice president, which I think is not right. He subjected himself to searching.”
Mrs. Abubakar said Atiku was the most qualified among all presidential candidates for the 2019 election.
She said those who had been making negative comments about him were either myopic or doing it out of jealousy.
The former vice president’s wife added, “I am not trying to run other candidates down but among them all, my husband is the most qualified. He is an entrepreneur; he has businesses. He is second to none in terms of employing people in Nigeria. Atiku is conversant with the economy. When he was the vice president, he was actively involved in the activities of the economic team. Even the EFCC and ICPC were Atiku’s creation; so also was the privatization (policy).
“People who say wrong things about Atiku are myopic or they say such out of jealousy.”
Mrs. Abubakar expressed the belief that Atiku would become the next President after his numerous attempts since 1993.
Describing the project as God-ordained, she said they had been seeing God’s hands in Atiku’s aspiration since he won the PDP ticket.
“He has attempted to become the President many times since 1993. This is probably the fourth or fifth time and almost everybody in Nigeria now is for him because God has shown us the sign.
“There were agitations before the PDP primary but as God would have it, he won. It is God-ordained. You can see God’s hands in the primary,” she said.