THE ACCIDENTAL PUBLIC SERVANT: Atiku thought Obasanjo wouldn’t complete his tenure – Nasir el-Rufai
Published:6 Feb, 2013
This revelation was contained in a book written by a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
The book, titled The Accidental Public Servant, has yet to be presented to the public.
The former minister said he had met Atiku and told him about his intention to resign as the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises following the demand for N54m bribe by some senators before he would be cleared as a ministerial nominee.
He said he had reported the bribe demand to Obasanjo, but that the former President asked him to sort himself out.
“No, I am not handling this senators’ thing. I have done my part and nominated you. You should go and tell the vice-president about whatever has transpired. He will handle it,” El-Rufai claimed the former President said when he met with him on the demand.
El-Rufai wrote, “When I walked into Atiku’s office, he said, ‘Where are you going? You can’t leave. We are about to have the whole thing’.
“I was taken aback as I was not sure what he meant. What do you mean sir?”
He said the former vice-president informed him about a marabout in Cameroon who, he said had been in touch with him since the first very time he contested the governorship in the old Gongola State.
Atiku, according to him, told him that the marabout asked him not to waste his money because he would not win.
The same marabout, he said told him more than two more times that he would lose governorship elections, which he said he lost.
The former vice-president was also claimed to have said the marabout told him he would win the 1999 governorship election in Adamawa State but would not become the governor.
El-Rufai wrote, “And soon, it came to pass. Atiku won the election, but before he could take the oath of office, Obasanjo chose him to be his running mate.
“On the strength of this fable, Atiku appeared to have placed his faith in the predictions of this marabout.”
He said the former vice president added, “Nasir, this mallam has been consistently right in hid predictions.”
“Wow, that is very interesting sir, but what does this have to do with my resignation?” the former minister asked Atiku.
“Because the same mallam said that Obasanjo would not complete his term”, he quoted Atiku as saying.
In the book, Atiku went on to ask el-Rufai why he would want to resign when he (Atiku) would soon be in charge.
“So, why do you want to go? When I am President, we are going to take charge of this place and fix it and I will need you. You are one of my best people,” Atiku assured him.
He also recalled how Atiku in 2002, called a meeting of what he called a meeting of those he considered his “three closest advisers” that he would run against his boss in 2003.
At the meeting, according to the book, were his political adviser, Dr. Usman Bugaje; the Publisher of THISDAY, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, and el-Rufai.
The meeting, he said, was held in Atiku’ guest house in Abuja.
El-Rufai said, “At the meeting, he (Atiku) told us that he had been having meetings for the past several months with two groups of politicians.
“One group (called G4) consisted of President Ibrahim Babangiga, and General Abdulsalami Abubakar, both of whom were former military heads of state, as well as Gen. Aliyu Gusau.
“The four of them had been meeting to review Obasanjo’s performance and they had concluded that Obasanjo’s first term up to that point had been a disaster. The National Assembly had twice tried to impeach him, and the four of them had just thought that Obasanjo should not have a second term.
“In their meetings, according to Atiku, they decided that since Atiku was the incumbent vice-president, he should have the first shot at the presidency.”
He said the meetings were allegedly leaked to Obasanjo by Babangida, who was also eyeing the presidency.