Published On: Tue, Apr 1st, 2014


Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who in his time as vice president could have been described as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has described the former president as a man committed to Nigeria’s unity.Both men had a remarkably strife-filled relationship until their last days in office – for, you see, the president wanted to run again for a third term and his vice had plans to take the presidential seat. Even though Atiku eventually apologized to Obasanjo, their relationship afterwards could be described as, at best, ‘filled with animosity.’

Former president Olusegun told members of the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) over the weekend that he had ‘forgiven’ Atiku for his offences, and Atiku has responded. His reply is somewhat surprising, given their history: he has described Obasanjo as a ‘man of peace’ who is committed to Nigeria’s unity.

“I welcome the olive branch extended to me by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and urge Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness in the interest of national unity”, Atiku said in a statement released in Abuja by his media office.

“Forgiveness is divinely inspired, and is oil that lubricates the wheels of continued human interactions and engagements.

He commended Obasanjo for taking the “bold and Godly step” in the interest of the nation and humanity, saying the process of national reconciliation should advance to a new level and extend to other citizens of the country, who may have had grievances against one another.

He urged politicians to learn from the words of Mahatma Ghandi that ‘an eye for an eye will make our nation go blind’.

“When I made a similar effort few years ago, it was on the conviction that it would not be beneficial to me before Allah, if I went to the grave with bitterness”, Atiku added.

“Let us forgive one another so that we can team up for national rebirth. Even if one disagrees with Obasanjo, no one would doubt his firm commitment to the unity of Nigeria”.

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