Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has revealed that his former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, was too overwhelmed by the duties of his office when they both governed the country between 1999 and 2007.
The two sensationally fell out during their administration as Obasanjo accused Atiku of being corrupt while Atiku stood in the way of Obasanjo’s doomed third term ambition.
Their personal beef almost denied Atiku a chance to contest in the 2007 presidential election which he eventually lost to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a candidate believed to have been handpicked by Obasanjo.
Obasanjo had been a vocal campaigner against Atiku’s presidential ambition since then and vowed in August 2018 that he’d never be on the same side with his former deputy.
The former president has since gone back on his word and publicly endorsed Atiku for the 2019 presidential election last week.
However, just days before that public endorsement, Obasanjo had revealed a little bit about his experience with Atiku when they were both in government.
While speaking during an interview on ‘The Talk’, a program anchored by Seun Adebajo, Obasanjo disclosed that Atiku complained about taking on too many responsilities as the nation’s Number 2 citizen.
He revealed that he had big plans to mentor Atiku to take over as president, but gave up on him because ‘his judgement was not right’. He said:
“What people have forgotten very easily was that Atiku didn’t want to become even a Vice President. He was elected as a governor.
“Now judging from the experience that I had, I thought, ‘Okay what we should do this time is take somebody who it doesn’t matter what has been his experience, I can mentor him’.
“And then he can learn over a period of time that we’ll be in government together. And with a bit of luck, he can then take over from me.
“That was my plan. And my plan was that the first term, he would be given a lot of work to do domestically and Atiku even complained that I’ve given him too much to do which was intentional.
“My second term, my idea was that okay, having prepared him for the domestic, I want one year for him to visit to represent Nigeria at the ECOWAS, one year at the AU, one year at the UN so that he’s fully prepared.
“The first thing I found was that his judgement was not right and, on a number of occassions, I pointed this out to him.
“As president of Nigeria, there are certain things that you should not do. I believe it was too much for him to be able to understand and to learn. So, I gave up.”