Atiku, Soyinka says was highly favoured to win 2003 Peoples Democratic Party presidential primaries.
Soyinka, made these revelations at a special reading session to mark the presentation of his latest book, “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business”, at the Freedom Park, Lagos.
Soyinka, who was answering a question as to whether Ayodele Fayose’s claim that he witnessed Obasanjo going down on his knees in Tripoli before the late President Muamar Ghaddafi in his desperate bid to secure the Libyan strongman’s support for an extension of his chairmanship of the African Union (AU), was true.
Soyinka said that it wasn’t impossible giving Obasanjo’s antecedent. Said he:
“Before the PDP primaries in January 2003, Obasanjo got everyone he knew could reach me on the surface on the earth including Yemi Ogunbiyi and my son, to get me to help him intercede when it was clear that (Abubakar) Atiku was in a position to take his job. He knew Atiku had a lot of regard for me and calls me ‘Uncle’.”
In the now famous BBC interview few days to PDP’s 2003 primaries, Atiku had declared that he was under tremendous pressure from his supporters to contest the ticket against Obasanjo but was yet to make up his mind in what triggered panic in Obasanjo’s camp.
According to Soyinka, “The pressure was intense, Of course, I could not have knelt before Atiku not to embark on a course of action that would lead to his boss’ disgrace. But I can confirm to you that Obasanjo as President knelt down before Atiku so that he would not lose his job.”
“But I warned Atiku that for making Obasanjo to kneel down for you, be sure you would have to pay heavily for that. I guess my warning came to pass if you remember Atiku’s dramatic change of fortune once Obasanjo was sworn in for a second term of office.”