Obasanjo Still Bitter Atiku Stood Against His Failed 3rd Term Bid — Atiku Support Organisation

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The Atiku Support Organisation has slammed former President Olusegun Obasanjo over a remark that his choice of a running mate ahead of the 1999 presidential election, was one of the costly mistakes he made in his lifetime.

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party was the vice-president of Obasanjo in 1999, and had a turbulent moment with Obasanjo, culminating in both of them being in different political parties.

Obasanjo, who spoke on Saturday during a leadership mentoring session with selected students in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said his choice of Atiku as running mate was a mistake.

But in a statement on Sunday, Victor Moses, the National Publicity Secretary of the Atiku Support Organisation argued that Atiku was the best vice-president in the history of Nigeria.

Moses said Obasanjo is probably still bitter with Atiku after the latter worked towards terminating his (Obasanjo’s) third-term bid.

He further claimed that during his eight-year reign as Vice President, Abubakar served as the head of the economic council and Nigeria enjoyed its best economic growth in history.

The statement reads, “We watched with dismay a video purportedly showing the former president of Nigeria, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo stating that one of his mistakes in life was his choice of number two man during the 1999 presidential elections.

“We wish to state without mincing words that Olusegun Obasanjo was the best president we’ve ever had as a nation since 1999. Similarly and without equivocation, H.E Atiku Abubakar was, without a modicum of doubt, the best vice president Nigeria has ever had since 1960 independence.

“His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo may recall that Nigeria under Atiku Abubakar as the head of the economic council experienced its best economic growth in history.

“As of 1998, Nigeria’s economy was in the red zone growing at -2.5%. With His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar on the economic council’s driving seat, the economy experienced successive growth for 8 years in a row and peaked at 15.33% growth in 2002. The best in Nigeria since 1969. GDP per capita annual growth rose from $498 to an impressive peak level of $1,883 in 2007.

“Inflation was reduced from 10.0% in 1998 to 5.39% in 2007. Nigeria’s trade balance significantly increased from a negative $-1.63bn to an impressive $38.88bn in 2006. Foreign direct investment increased from $0.30bn in 1998 to an impressive $6.04bn in 2007.

“In 1998, the unemployment rate stood at 3.83%. By 2007, the rate fell to 3.62%. The banking industry was almost a near-dead industry with many banks dying in freestyle mode trapping the life savings of many Nigerians.

“But His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, GCON with the support of his team members ensured a great banking reform leading to bank capitalization. Today, most banks are stable and the industry is worth over ₦102.6 trillion Naira as of 2020 as against ₦757 billion in 1998.

“Nigeria’s external neck-breaking debt as of 1998 stood at over $30bn. As the head of the economic team, Atiku Abubakar contributed immensely to ensuring debt forgiveness for Nigeria and the repayment of the balance. He contributed in no small measure to assembling the best economic management team ever assembled in the history of Nigeria.

“The privatization exercise that saw the incredible revolution in the telecommunication sector was astonishing. Today, the telecom sector has created millions of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians and it’s adding over ₦11 trillion to the economy every year.

“Generally, the Nigerian economy grew by 192% between 1999 to 2020. Under the economic council team headed by His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, the economy grew by 81% as against 25.9% under late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, 26.4% under ex-president Goodluck and 1.4% under President Buhari.

“Therefore, we ask. How could someone with such a pedigree and best profile in economic management and development of a nation be a mistaken choice of a vice president?

“Nigerians are quite aware of a failed 3rd term bid of H.E, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, which created ripples that refused to heal almost 24 years after, but H.E Atiku’s decision to stand against the 3rd term bid of Chief Obasanjo was not personal but to protect our young democracy.

“We called on His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to see his decision to work with Atiku Abubakar as his number two man as the best decision ever made in the overall interest of Nigeria and NOT a mistake.

“His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar is vindicated because archival facts and figures are out there to prove that he was indeed the best vice president we have ever had since independence in 1960.”