Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of suffering memory loss.
Atiku, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general elections, was responding to a statement by the Tinubu Campaign Organisation earlier on Saturday over his disclosure on Tinubu’s request for a vice-presidential slot in 2007.
The former Vice President had on Friday in an interview on Arise TV, attacked Tinubu for settling for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
Atiku said he turned down Tinubu’s offer to serve as his running mate in 2007 in order to avoid fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“My fundamental disagreement and political departure with Asiwaju (Tinubu) since 2007 was due to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Remember, I opted out of PDP because of zoning, and together with Asiwaju we formed ACN.
“Tinubu wanted to be my running mate when I was given the ACN presidential ticket in 2007, but I disagreed. And because of that, he switched his support to the late Umar Yaradua. That was the parting point”, former vice-president Atiku had said in the interview.
But describing Atiku as a pathological liar, Tinubu in a statement issued on Saturday by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, refuted claims by Atiku that he was the architect of a Muslims-Muslim ticket.
The former Lagos State governor, claimed that he, Atiku was the one who had offered him the vice-presidential ticket, adding that Nigerians should feel great pity and sadness for the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We are saddened to see such a man become unhinged from the truth. So obsessed is he with his quest for office, Atiku is willing to render any form of untruth if he thinks it might gain him a single vote. Atiku may want to be president. However, all he has shown is that he is pathological.
“Whatever moral compass he had has been lost. During a 22 July television interview, Atiku assaulted historic truth by lying that he did not name Tinubu as his running mate in 2007 on the Action Congress ticket because Atiku did not want a Muslim as his running mate”, he said, accusing Atiku of illegally enriching himself when he was in government.
Tinubu as well accused the PDP candidate of hypocrisy, spreading falsehood and of having a poor grasp of history and current affairs.
However, in a statement on Sunday by Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe, the former vice president said, “The major accusation made by Asiwaju Tinubu is that the Waziri Adamawa offered him the opportunity of being his running mate in 2007, which means that the former vice-president was not then mindful of Nigeria’s religious and ethnic diversity, making his statements during the Arise TV interview hypocritical.
“We would not say that Bola Tinubu has lied. Rather, it is our desire to give him the benefit of the doubt, and believe that his memory may not be what it used to be.
“Nigerians may want to note that on 14 September, 2005, the then US Consul General, Brian L. Browne, drafted a memo, leaked via Wikileaks, wherein he stated that Bola Tinubu was scheming to be a running mate to either Atiku Abubakar or Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is further historically corroborated by the subsequent political history of Nigeria. Biographers of President Muhammadu Buhari, have variously recounted how Bola Tinubu made the same request of then presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
“In his 2016 authorised biography of President Muhammadu Buhari titled ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, Professor John Paden, an American, wrote about the issue as follows:
“Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and political ‘godfather’ of the South-West geopolitical zone, felt he should be the vice-presidential candidate.
“The above clearly shows a behavioural pattern here. So, if anyone is “unhinged from the truth” (to borrow Asiwaju Tinubu’s words), it certainly is not Atiku Abubakar.
“In any case, if Bola Tinubu can forget the name of his own political party, why will he not also forget what transpired in 2007 and 2015? We do sympathise with him.
“The fact remains that in a fragile and ethnically diverse nation, such as ours, religious and ethnic balance must be observed at the highest levels, and from there flow downwards.
“That is what Atiku Abubakar said during his interview with Arise TV on Thursday, July 21, 2022, and he stands on that principle and will continue to so stand without apology to anyone.
“From the forgoing, it is clear that His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar’s memory and recollection of the event has been corroborated by multiple, independent, and unconnected third parties, and if this were a court of law, this issue would have been regarded as proved beyond reasonable doubt.”
Atiku, however, urged Nigerians to remember that even though multiple sources have testified that Bola Tinubu desperately lobbied to be made Buhari’s deputy in a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Bola Tinubu himself denied this on June 22, 2022, and instead accused President Buhari of offering him the position of Vice President.
Atiku said even though he had read Tinubu’s denial, “It was replete with indiscreet language, the former Vice President has elected to respond to the claims made by Asiwaju, adding he has chosen the route of a friendly riposte, in the hope that his gesture will be reciprocated by the Asiwaju in future.
“The issue of Atiku Abubakar offering to make Bola Tinubu his running mate in 2007, the Waziri says as a statesman, which he believes Asiwaju Bola Tinubu also is, or should be, it is pertinent that they use temperate language at all times. It not only shows that they are seasoned and mature, more importantly, it is a good indicator of fitness for the office.”
The statement explained that much as Atiku would respond to Tinubu, but not in the rather impolite manner that he dealt the PDP presidential candidate, but in measured to agenda, we hope this settles the matter, and that cordiality can be expected henceforth from the opposing camp.”