Tinubu indebted to me, I never betrayed him, says Atiku

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, said he never betrayed President Bola Tinubu, during their political alignment in 2007.

He said rather than betray the President, he stood up to his then-principal, President Olusegun Obasanjo, and ensured that Lagos State did not fall to the political tsunami of 2003.

Atiku, who was the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election, stated this during a press briefing in Abuja.

“Those of you who are old enough will also remember that in 2003, the PDP took over all the South-Western states, with the exception of Lagos.

“I stood between Obasanjo and himself (Tinubu) and I said no, you (Obasanjo) can’t take over Lagos. Leave it and he (Obasanjo) left it. So, who is indebted to whom? Is it me or Bola Ahmed Tinubu? I vehemently deny that I stabbed Tinubu in the back.

“There are other things which I will not want to go into,” the former Vice President said.

Atiku, who was responding to a question from a journalist on a claim by a presidential spokesman that he betrayed Tinubu by requesting the President’s academic records from the Chicago State University, said he had Tinubu parted ways politically after the former Lagos State governor wanted to be his running mate in 2007.

He said, “I beg to disagree (on betrayal allegation) with Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Yes, it is true that in 2007 we came together to form an alliance in Lagos, and at the convention, I contested and got the ticket. After I got the ticket, he sent about 5 or 6 seniors – some of them are here – I can even name them but I don’t want to embarrass them.

“They met me and said to me that Bola wanted to be my running mate. I said to them, gentlemen, you’re all old enough, and apparently, virtually all of you are Christians’ with the exception of one person. What will be your reaction to having a Muslim-Muslim ticket?

“All of them said we totally objected to it and I said why didn’t you tell him when he was giving you the message that look Mr Tinubu, the message you’re sending us, we don’t seem to agree with you on it (Muslim-Muslim ticket). Why are you coming then to me? And that was the end of our political relationship. We broke away, so what is the ground for him to say that I betrayed him?

“Till today, I won’t do a Muslim-Muslim ticket; I don’t have to be president; we are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious people, and our government must reflect our diversity, and our composition must reflect the same.”

The PUNCH reports that the university released the academic records of the President on Monday and the CSU Registrar, Carl Westberg, also carried out a deposition of the documents on Tuesday, in compliance with the ruling of Magistrate Jeffrey Gilbert.

Gilbert had on September 19 granted Atiku’s request for the release of Tinubu’s academic records but the President filed a review of the order.

Tinubu’s lawyers insisted that the documents would not be relevant in Atiku’s appeal against Tinubu at the Supreme Court and asked for a review of the ruling.

However, federal judge Nancy Maldonado overruled Tinubu’s objections and ordered the CSU to release the President’s academic records.

In the CSU documents, the institution responded to Atiku’s four requests and affirmed that Tinubu attended the CSU.

Meanwhile, the Presidency on Wednesday insisted that the academic records released by the varsity had vindicated the President and confirmed him as an alumnus of the school.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public Affairs, Temitope Ajayi, also submitted that the CSU never said the certificate presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission before the presidential election by Tinubu was forged in its deposition.

Having obtained Tinubu’s academic records on the order of an Illinois, Chicago court, Atiku would on Thursday (today) file his application at the Supreme Court.

Atiku, who contested against Tinubu in the February presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, is expected to file the documents he obtained from the CSU in furtherance of his election appeal at the Supreme Court.

(Punch)

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