Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was shocked when he heard that it was ex- Vice President Atiku Abubakar that emerged as the presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sources familiar with the politics of the former leader, told Daily Trust.
Atiku was one of the 12 presidential aspirants of the PDP who slugged it on Saturday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a time many analysts predicted that Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal would carry the day.
However, when Atiku emerged winner on Sunday, different media reports suggested that his fortune during the contest swelled after a last minute high profile discussions and realignments by former Nigerian leaders and other military generals.
Obasanjo, ex-Military President Ibrahim Babangida, ex-Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and General T.Y. Danjuma, allegedly agreed, and thereafter reached out to PDP governors, other party leaders and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on the need to rally round Atiku to emerge as PDP candidate.
But one of our sources said the purported endorsement by Obasanjo was the creation of the media.
The “ex-president was rather shocked when he heard that Atiku was the winner during the primaries. He did not endorse his candidature, at least for now and the former president did not hold any meeting with any general while the convention was taking place,” the source said.
“And with all sincerity, none of the people mentioned that they worked together to help Atiku contact Obasanjo on the issue…They all knew his stand on the former VP,” he said.
Obasanjo, who claimed he had retired from partisan politics, had withdrawn his support for President Muhammadu Buhari even as he had repeatedly called for the defeat of both the ruling APC and the opposition PDP.
Another source said Obasanjo would in the coming days speak on his impression about Atiku’s candidature, saying “He is at present studying how things are unravelling.”
Obasanjo, whose misunderstanding with Atiku dates back to 2007, had in August said of his former vice president: “How can I be on the same side with Atiku? To do what?
“If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support,” he had said.