Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, responded to the request of Northern Youth Leaders Forum, NLYF, to forgive his estranged former deputy, Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, saying; “I have forgiven him”.
Atiku reportedly fell apart with his boss during their second tenure, which began in 2003, over the Adamawa politician’s perceived desperation to succeed his boss, who was also scheming behind the scene to have his constitutionally guaranteed two-terms of eight years extended for what became known as ‘third term’.
Obasanjo, who stated this after a two-day meeting with the forum in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said he had also forgiven other persons perceived to have offended him.
The Forum, led by its chairman, Elliot Afiyo had pleaded with Obasanjo to forgive his then deputy of whatever political offence or sin he might have committed against him.
Atiku, who was vice-president from 1999-2007, has stated at different fora that he did not hold any grudge against the Ota farmer for using state power to scuttle his own presidential aspiration, insisting that his differences with Obasanjo were based mostly on politics and respect for rule of law.
The former president in response to request by the NYLF said as a leader and father, he had no ill-feelings towards anyone and even if he once did, he had since moved on.
He said: ‘On the request that you made yesterday, I do not have any grudge against anybody. And if there is any, I’ve forgiven all as a father”.
Obasanjo, who thanked the group for coming to Abeokuta to make case for a way forward for the country, recalled that since 2003 the group had witnessed increase in membership.
“The effort of your group has been noteworthy. I’m happy that you have also increased in number. Let me appreciate all your support since 2003 and urge you to continue by ensuring that credible leaders are elected in 2015”.
Leader of the delegation, Afiyo had earlier said that the group was in “Abeokuta to visit our Baba to identify with his vision for our great country, Nigeria”.
In a position paper submitted earlier on Saturday, he said: “We have come to you (Obasanjo) as a father indeed.
“With your positive attributes, Chief Obasanjo has no option or alternative than to chastise and later forgive and embrace both the good and bad characters.
“In view of this, we humbly request that you forgive your former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of whatever political sin or offence he might have committed against you. We bow oursleves before you on his behalf and plead for mercy and understanding”.
The national chairman added that the mission to come and plead for the former VP did not in anyway stop him from charting any noble political course for the nation come 2015.