Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has opened up on the circumstances surrounding the departure of Mr. Peter Obi from the party for the Labour Party, LP, where he emerged presidential standard bearer.
Atiku also took time out to recall his personal legal tussles, 11 in all, against his former principal, President Olusegun Obasanjo, while they were in office (1999-2007).
The PDP presidential candidate spoke while responding to questions from the media about his next line of action after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of last week’s presidential election and President-elect.
Atiku, who admitted that Obi took votes from him in the Southeast and South-South, said he had always seen himself as the stepping stone to an Ibo president of Nigeria.
He said, “I have always said that I would be a stepping stone to an Ibo president of this country.
“I have always told my Ibo compatriots that you negotiate for power you don’t fight for it.“
Speaking about why Obi left the PDP, he said, “I think Peter was in a rush.
“When the campaign started and our PDP governors said that they must produce the president among them, they must produce the vice-president among them, they must produce chief of staff amongst them, Peter got scared and left.
“I did not get scared, I stood up against the governors. When we formed the PDP some of them were perhaps in secondary school or in university.
“So, why should I be afraid and I stood up and fought them and I won the primaries.
“So, if he were there, nothing would have stopped him from becoming a running mate because I had the right of choosing who would be my running mate.
“Yes, to some extent he wounded the PDP because all the votes he got were PDP votes in the Southeast and South-South.
“But whether he will achieve his objective is something left to God to decide.
“If he was there, nothing could have stopped him from becoming my running mate,” Atiku said of Obi.
In response to a question on the current state of the Nigerian judiciary, he said, “I took my boss, a sitting president to court 11 times, trial court up to Supreme Court and I never saw any judge and I got judgment.
“But do you think it is possible to do that today? I cannot say whether it is the same judiciary until I test them.”