Obasanjo’s full speech on Atiku’s visit

I am happy to welcome the distinguished leaders of
goodwill who have led the PDP Presidential Candidate and my former
Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to my humble abode and I welcome the
Presidential Candidate himself.

Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar,
for his success at the recent PDP Primary and I took note of his gracious
remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.

Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to
succeed Obasanjo. In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill
today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side
of Atiku. And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has re-discovered and
re-positioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you
did against me that was the issue but what you did against the Party, the
Government and the country. I took the stand I had taken based on the character
and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly
believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and
everything to take such a position. From what transpired in the last couple of
hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you
have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences
and make amends as necessary and as desirable. Whenever or wherever you might
have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and
inadequacies on daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from
the past and do what is right and it will be well with you.

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 Obviously, you
have mended fences with the Party and fully reconciled with the Party. That’s
why today, you are the Presidential Candidate of the Party. In addition to
appreciating all that the Party has done for you, may I advise you to work
together with all those who contested for the Party’s flag with you as a team
for your campaign. There are still areas, nationally and internationally, where
you have to mend fences and make amends. You will know how to handle what is
already out and what may yet be put out by the opposition. But, I am convinced
that if you continue with the attitude that brought you here with these
distinguished leaders of goodwill, with remorse and contrite heart, the rest of
the coast within and outside the country can be cleared. And if there is
anything I can do and you want me to do in that respect, I will do. I am sure
with the right attitude for change where necessary, and by putting lessons
learned by you to work, you will get the understanding, cooperation, support
and mandate – all at the national level. With Nigerians voting for you, it will
mean that you secure their forgiveness and regain their confidence. It will be
with the hope or assurance of a Paul on the road to Damascus Conversion. After
all, change and conversion are of man. I believe that with a contrite heart,
change is possible in everybody’s life and situation.

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For me, relatively and of all the aspirants in the
PDP, you have the widest and greatest exposure, experience, outreach and
possibly the best machinery and preparation for seeing the tough and likely
dirty campaign ahead through. From what I personally know of you, you have
capacity to perform better than the incumbent. You surely understand the
economy better; you have business experience, which can make your
administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs. You
have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to
better management of foreign affairs. You are more accessible and less
inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways. As Pastor
Bakare, one-time running mate of the incumbent President said, “You are a
wazobia man.” And that should help you in confronting the confrontable and
shunning nepotism. As you know, along the road to where you are today, many
leaders and ordinary people cooperated and overtly and covertly worked hard. On
your behalf, I thank them all. May their coast continue to be expanded. And
when you become Nigerian President which, insha-Allah, you will be, remember
what we did together in government – we ran an administration by Nigerians for
all Nigerians where merit and performance count more than blood relationship,
friendship or kith and kin.

 Although some
time and ground have been lost, you should endeavour to start from where we
stopped and recover some lost ground, if not time. Please uphold truth,
integrity, principles, morality and fight corruption, crimes and insurgency.
The fundamental law of the land, our constitution must be scrupulously
defended.

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I make one demand and one demand on you today, I need
you to say before God and man that you will always remain irrevocably committed
to upholding ALL the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria and the whole country will remain your single indivisible constituency.
Constitutionalism, popular participation and inclusiveness are pre-conditions
for reversing the deficits of the past three and half years. They will ensure
abiding faith in our indivisibility, oneness and faith in the survival of all
against none. The fundamentals for our development, economic growth and
progress are hard and soft infrastructure. Remember to always give adequate
places in your administration to our youth and women. All the authorities
involved with the preparation, all processes and conduct of the election must
ensure that the election is free, fair and credible. Once again,
congratulations and I wish you well. My distinguished brothers and leaders of
goodwill, thank you for making this happen. I will now count on you to
encourage all hands to be on the deck to take Nigeria to the level God has
created it to be – autopilot level. God bless you all and God bless Nigeria.