Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar reportedly saved ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo from near bankruptcy before he emerged president in 1999 presidential election.
According to a new book titled ‘Too Good to Die: Third Term and the Myth of the Indispensable Man in Africa’, Atiku made all his resources available for Obasanjo’s presidential campaign.
The book which was obtained by TheCable was written by Chidi Odinkalu, former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and Ayisha Osori, author of ‘Love Does Not Win Elections’.
The authors told of how Obasanjo beat late Alex Ekwueme to the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 1999 election.
Quoting an account from Atiku, the authors said the trio of Ibrahim Babangida, Theophilus Danjuma and Abdulsalami Abubakar wanted PDP to adopt Obasanjo as their presidential candidate “because they considered him the best person for the job”.
The authors wrote: “Implicit in their position was their belief that they knew how to manipulate Obasanjo and the fact that Obasanjo did their bidding in 1979. They felt secure that he could be managed again.”
Atiku was reportedly asked to join a team to Ogun to inform Obasanjo that he was going to run for the highest office in the land.
“when Atiku and Obasanjo discussed the call to serve as president, Obasanjo said he could not be president because he was a nearly bankrupt ex-convict. Atiku, through General [Aliyu] Gusau, paid money into Obasanjo’s account to begin his financial rehabilitation.
“Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar helped out by granting him an unconditional pardon. Atiku put everything he had at his disposal to support Obasanjo’s emergence as the PDP presidential candidate and, when he joined the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee, continued to make his assets available to Obasanjo and the campaign.
“During a campaign stop in Atiku’s village, Jada, Adamawa state, Obasanjo spent a night in Atiku’s home. When he woke up the next day, he reportedly asked Atiku when he built the house and, to Atiku’s response, reportedly retorted: “[I] will never be poor again.”
Atiku served as vice-president to Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007.