“I must reiterate that Atiku is not a saint” – Obasanjo

Obasanjo said Atiku has learnt his lessons to become a better leader.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has defended his decision to back Atiku Abubabar for the presidential seat in next month’s poll.

Obasanjo had, until late last year, gone hard on his former deputy, at times calling him unprintable names.

The elder statesman has since come under heavy criticism for his sudden u-turn.

While speaking at the 2019 Island Club Quarterly Business Lecture on Wednesday, Obasanjo said he stands by his words, but has forgiven Atiku and that he’ll make a better president than Buhari.

Here are excerpts from what Obasanjo said, according to NAN:

“Everything I have said as far as I have knowledge of Atiku, I have not retracted and I stand firmly by them because they are, to the best of my knowledge, true.

“Atiku never claimed to be a saint and I never described him as such. I will never so describe any human being alive, let alone calling him a Messiah.

“Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and subsequently, from Nigerians. He asked for forgiveness from me and, as a believer, a Christian, I forgave him in accordance with the teaching and instruction of my Saviour.

“If anybody blames me for forgiving Atiku, I leave such a person with God almighty, especially as both Christian and Islamic clerics joined Atiku to visit me to seek forgiveness. Anybody who does not forgive when forgiveness is sought with contrite heart cannot be a true believer and should not expect the forgiveness of God.

“I must reiterate that Atiku is not a saint. Who is? But from what I know of Atiku, he will be a performer in all respects. I can say that again from my personal experience. He knows the problems and he handled some of them in the past.

“We now know that both Buhari and Atiku have issues, and all of us as human beings have one issue or the other in different magnitudes. But judging both of them empirically and for the task at hand, Atiku will perform much better than Buhari. And he will seek for good and able people around the country and beyond and make use of them to achieve his mission and vision for the general good of Nigerians and the country,” he said.

The presidential election is only 16 days away.

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