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PDP: Let Obasanjo, Atiku Express Themselves...The party has intervened

Posted by From Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja on 2005/08/30 | Views: 695 |

PDP: Let Obasanjo, Atiku Express Themselves...The party has intervened

The platform President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar were elected into office, yesterday said the verbal exchange in the media between the two men would help to finally resolve their differences.

The platform President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar were elected into office, yesterday said the verbal exchange in the media between the two men would help to finally resolve their differences.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. John Odey, yesterday said it was good for both men to express their grievances.

“But one thing we must understand is that it is good for both of them to express themselves because if there is a problem each of them must express themselves. Of course, if there are problems, individuals must express themselves but the party has intervened and the outcome would be made known to you (media).

“Both of them (Obasanjo and Atiku) are senior people and leaders of the party. The process (or reconciliation) has already commenced and it would be on-going and don’t forget that human relationship is an on-going thing and not something that have a specific time frame,” he said.

Asked if the outbursts between Obasanjo and Atiku are not reflections of deep divisions within the ranks of the party, Odey said that “there is no division in this party. Both of them are party leaders but in the course of human relationship people are bound to express themselves and like I said, the party has intervened and the process is on for a clear understanding on these issues. It is the misrepresentation of issues that would be addressed and not individual problems”.

According to him, “the leadership of the party would intervene and in fact they have started the process of intervening already. The outcome of this would be made public.”

The simmering differences within the Presidency came into the open at the weekend when Obasanjo while reacting to a caller's question on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) monthly Presidential Media Chat accused Atiku of disloyalty and deliberately distorting information on issues surrounding the 1995 phantom coup under the Abacha regime.

The Vice President had speaking to THISDAY Board of Editors on the speculated plan to make Obasanjo run for a third term in office noted, "I have discussed with Mr. President, he had sworn to me on one-to-one that he is not going to stay beyond 2007..."

Obasanjo said Sunday night he did not have to swear to anybody since he already took a public oath to respect and defend the nation's constitution.

"I read the interview by the Vice President in THISDAY of August 22 and a couple of other statements he had made. I think they contained a lot of mispresentation, misinformation and misrepresentation. He said I swore to him, I did not swear. I did not swear to him. For what? The only swearing I made was the public oath I made, the oath to respect and defend Nigeria's constitution and doing all manners of men and women.

"If I have given my word to you, either believe it or not, but people who know me know that I don't talk frivolously," the President said.

Obasanjo, however, revealed that it was indeed Atiku who was afraid to swear when he once confronted him with "proven cases of disloyalty."

He said "when there was a case of doubtful loyalty on the part of the Vice President, I took the Bible and the Koran and said between the two of us, I want you to swear to an oath of loyalty...but he refused on his part... It was bad enough."

Obasanjo also debunked Atiku's insinuation that he (Atiku) advised him not to return to the country at the outbreak of the celebrated 1995 attempted coup d'etat against Abacha for fear that he would be arrested.
"I think there is a little bit of exaggeration here and there, or it's loss of memory," Obasanjo said.

Before the recent exchange, there were earlier indications on the feud between the two men who lead the federal executive arm of government. For example, Atiku was speculated to have nursed the ambition to challenge Obasanjo for the PDP presidential ticket in the 2003 election.

On the even of the PDP convention where the President was elected the party's candidate, Atiku on a BBC news programme said he had an option to challenge Obasanjo for the ticket or contest with another presidential aspirant, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.

After the two men were re-elected in 2003, Obasanjo had asserted his headship of the presidency by reiterating that the only person he cannot fire in the presidency was his vice president. He had gone ahead to sack many aides of Atiku.

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