Obasanjo
Atiku Abubakar and his former boss Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has thrown his weight behind the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 elections, Atiku Abubakar.

Atiku, who was Nigeria’s vice president during Obasanjo’s presidency from 1999 to 2007, is the main candidate challenging President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigeria’s highest office in 2019.

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Speaking on Thursday, Obasanjo said he was willing to work with his former deputy to realise his presidential ambition and take the nation out of its challenges.

Obasanjo said: “Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, for his success at the recent PDP Primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.

“Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo. In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku.

“And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has re-discovered and re-positioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the Party, the Government and the country.

“I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.

“From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.

“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you.”

The former president made the declaration after a closed-door meeting with Atiku, who visited him at his residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Read the full text of Obasanjo’s speech during Atiku’s visit here.