Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has told Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that he has forgiven him for his transgressions from the past. Atiku, who was the vice president under Obasanjo between 1999-2007, received the absolution from his former principal at a closed-door meeting on Thursday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex in Abekouta. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Obasanjo said he had forgiven Atiku because he had “asked for forgiveness” and shown remorse. The former president asked the PDP presidential candidate to “learn from the past” and always do what is right. “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 a 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”, Obasanjo said. The former president also endorsed Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election, describing him as “President-to-be” and saying he would “perform better than the incumbent”, President Muhammadu Buhari. Obasanjo said his former deputy was the best choice for the PDP, noting that he is armed with experience to tackle the economy, has a greater reach both locally and internationally and more accessible than the party’s other aspirants and President Buhari. “From what I personally know of you, you have capacity to perform better than the incumbent. You surely understand the economy better; you have business experience, which can make your administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs. “You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs. You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways. As Pastor Bakare, one-time running mate of the incumbent President said, ‘You are a wazobia man.’ And that should help you in confronting the confrontable and shunning nepotism”, he said. He also said Atiku is more experienced and has the political machinery to run through “the tough and likely dirty campaign ahead.”
Among those on Atiku’s entourage at the meeting were his campaign director, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus; Senator Ben Murray-Bruce; and a former Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke, among others.
Also at the meeting were Bishop Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese; prominent Islamic preacher, Ahmed Gumi; Bishop David Oyedepo, Presiding Bishop Living Faith Church Worldwide (Winners’ Chapel); and Pa Ayo Adebanjo.