I Regret Not Taking Lagos from Tinubu, AD in 2003, Says Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar

Segun James

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday said he regretted not doing much to help the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) win in Lagos State when he had the opportunity in 2003.

Atiku, a PDP presidential aspirant, spoke in Lagos while holding a meeting with members of the party in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the meeting was part of his nationwide tour of state chapters to seek support for his aspiration ahead of 2019 general election.

He revealed how his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, before the 2003 elections, gave him the task to deliver the six South-west states then governed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to the PDP. Atiku said in carrying out the task, he delivered all the states to PDP, except Lagos.

The former vice president said he deliberately did not do much to win Lagos because of his relationship with the former state governor, Bola Tinubu.

He apologised to party members for what he called his mistake, saying Lagos would have been better off, if he had delivered it to the PDP then.

“When we came to power in 1999, the entire South-western states were controlled by the AD. And when we were approaching the 2003 elections, I told my boss, give me the chance to take over the South-west

“And he gave me that authority, and I took all the states with the exception of Lagos. Why? Because Senator Bola Tinubu and I came a long way from the SDP, PDM (Peoples Democratic Movement) and all of that, and I felt I should leave Lagos for him. In fact, I could easily have taken over Lagos, but I did not. “I have since regretted my decision; please, my sisters and brothers in the party, I want you to forgive me for
taking Lagos out of that arrangement.

“If I have another opportunity again, Lagos will be taken to where it belongs. So, I am appealing to you to give me that opportunity so that I can correct the mistakes that I made,” he said.

Atiku said his decision to seek the number one seat in the country was to reposition and put it on the path of progress.

He said that the country was having serious issues in the areas of economy and security, assuring that he would fix the problems if elected.

Atiku said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed to deliver the promised change.

He said that he was committed to the idea of restructuring, and believed it was key to the country’s progress.

The former vice president said he would restructure the country within six months in office, if given the mandate.

Atiku pointed out that the federal government was too powerful, and promised to ensure devolution of power to other federating units.

“If I am elected, I will make the centre unattractive and ensure that power devolves to the states,” he said.

Earlier, the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Gbenga Daniel, said that his principal had the capacity to reposition Nigeria.

NAN reported that Atiku was also accompanied on the visit by former Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe.

Former Minister of Works, Adeseye Ogunlewe, was among leaders that received the aspirant in Lagos.