I didn’t betray Tinubu, he is indebted to me – Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 poll, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, said he did not betray President Bola Tinubu, over the allegation of certificate forgery he levelled against him at the court.

Rather, he said the former Lagos State governor abandoned him as well as the Action Congress of Nigeria and supported Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP in the 2007 presidential poll.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the former VP urged the presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to support his quest for justice.

He expressed concern that Nigeria’s reputation was at stake, adding that “We must uphold Nigeria’s election ground rule (constitution).”

The Thursday press conference marked the third time Atiku addressed journalists since INEC declared Tinubu of the APC the winner of the presidential election.

Those who attended the world press conference were former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; ex-Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke; former National Chairmen of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; and Senator Iyorchia Ayu, among others.

In addition to filing an election petition appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which upheld Tinubu’s victory, the PDP standard bearer had sought the academic records of the President from the Chicago State University to prove his allegation of forgery against the former Lagos State governor.

Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert had on September 19 granted Atiku’s request for the release of Tinubu’s academic records but the President challenged the ruling, but his objection that the documents would not be relevant in Atiku’s appeal at the Supreme Court was overruled by federal judge Nancy Maldonado, who directed the CSU to release the president’s academic records.

Responding to questions from newsmen during the news conference, Atiku denied reports that his action was a betrayal of the ex-Lagos State governor, noting that Tinubu is indebted to him for preventing former President Olusegun Obasanjo from dethroning him as governor in 2007.

He revealed, “In 2007, we came together to form ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria) and in Lagos at the convention, I emerged and got the ticket. And after the convention, a few of our friends who are here met me and told me Bola wanted to be my running mate. So, I asked for their opinion on Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“All of them said they objected. So, I asked them why didn’t they tell him? So, that was the end of our political relationship; it broke away as he went ahead and supported Yar’adua. So where is the ground for him to say I betrayed him?’’

Speaking further, he added, “Those of you who are old enough will remember that in 2003 the PDP took over all the states in the South-West, with the exception of Lagos. I stood before Obasanjo and said no, you can’t take Lagos. And he left it. So, who is indebted to the other: Is it me or Tinubu? Tinubu is indebted to me.’’

The PDP presidential candidate, who lamented how former President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly dealt with some of his business entities, said he was not scared Tinubu would go after his business interest, adding “It has already been taken away from me since the Buhari administration. They took it and distributed it among themselves.”


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