Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has taken yet another swipe at ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying his former boss did not want to relinquish power.
Both men, who were in charge of the country’s affairs between 1999 and 2007, ended their tenures on a rancorous note.
They later made peace, with Abubakar sharing a picture of him dinning at the Hill Top residence of Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, in the buildup to the 2015 election.
Back then, Atiku sought the support of Obasanjo for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari.
But the hostilities seem to have been renewed. In an interview with Zero Tolerance, a publication of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abubakar revisited the disagreement he had with Obasanjo.
He said contrary to the widespread belief that Obasanjo was seeking a third term, the elder statesman plotted to remove the aspect of tenure limitation from the constitution so that he could be president for life.
Abubakar said his opposition to the idea was the cause of their disagreement.
“My offence was that I disagreed with him on the amendment of the constitution to remove tenure/term limits or what was popularly called the ‘third term agenda’,” he said.
“In fact, he sent the then Attorney-General and Prof. Jerry Gana to my office to bring the draft amendments to the constitution. After going through them, I found out that tenure limits had been removed. In other words, he could be president for life.
“I then asked them that ‘if I send you to the president, can you deliver this message?’ They said yes. I said ‘go and tell him I will not support it and I will fight it’.”
Abubakar said this was what prompted Obasanjo to mandate the EFCC to probe him. He also said Nuhu Ribadu, former chairman of the anti-graft agency, initially accused him of corruption, but later apologised to him.
“When he came to ask me for forgiveness, I said if you want me to forgive you, Nuhu, go to the same television stations where you said I was corrupt and say you now (have) realised that I am not corrupt,” he said.
“Then he said ‘sir, you have forgiven so many people who have offended you publicly without them going to TV stations to apologise to you’ and I said, ‘your case is different because first of all, I helped to found the EFCC’.
“I was instrumental to your appointment, so, I believe I have contributed to your development and this is how you are paying me back. In any case, he kept on apologising and I said, ‘okay, no problem. That closed the chapter’.”