FORMER Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said he regretted not doing much to help the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) win in Lagos State when he had the opportunity in 2003.
Abubakar, a PDP presidential aspirant, spoke in Lagos while holding a meeting with members of the party in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was part of his nationwide tour of state chapters, to seek support for his aspiration ahead of 2019 general elections.
He revealed how his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, before the 2003 elections, gave him the task to deliver the six South/West states then governed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to the PDP.
Abubakar said that in carrying out the task, he delivered all the states to PDP, except Lagos.
The former Vice-President said that he deliberately did not do much to win Lagos because of his relationship with former governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He apologised to party members for what he called his mistake, saying that Lagos would have been better off, if he had delivered it to the PDP then.
“When we came to power in 1999, the entire South/Western states were controlled by the AD.
“And when we were approaching the 2003 elections, I told my boss, give me the chance to take over the South-West
“And he gave me that authority, and I took all the states with the exception of Lagos.
“Why? Because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and I came a long way from the SDP, PDM and all of that, and I felt I should leave Lagos for him. In fact, I could easily have taken over Lagos, but I did not.
“I have since regretted my decision; please, my sisters and brothers in the party, I want you to forgive me for taking Lagos out of that arrangement.
“If I have another opportunity again, Lagos will be taken to where it belongs. So, I am appealing to you to give me that opportunity so that I can correct the mistakes that I made”, he said.
Abubakar said his decision to seek the number one seat in the country was to reposition and put it on the path of progress.
He said that the country was having serious issues in the areas of economy and security, assuring that he would fix the problems if elected.
Abubakar said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed to deliver the promised change.
He said that he was committed to the idea of restructuring, and believed it was key to the country’s progress.
The former vice president said he would restructure the country within six months in office, if given the mandate.
Abubakar pointed out that the Federal Government was too powerful, and promised to ensure devolution of power to other federating units.
“If I am elected, I will make the centre unattractive and ensure that power devolves to the states”, he said.
He called on party members across the country to support his bid as he meant well for the country.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Otuba Gbenga Daniel, said that his principal had the capacity to reposition Nigeria.
He said that he has the passion and the experience to lead the country and would not disappoint Nigerians, if given the opportunity.
Daniel, a former governor of Ogun, appealed to members in the Lagos state chapter to be united and support the aspiration of Abubakar.
The only PDP member of the state House of Assembly, Mr Dipo Olohunrinu thanked the former vice president for the visit.
He promised the aspirant full support, adding that PDP members in the state had confidence in him.
“We will support you, we will be with you .We are 100 per cent with you and your aspiration,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Abubakar was also accompanied on the visit by former Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Godsday Orubebe.
Former Minister of Works, Adeseye Ogunlewe, was among leaders that received the aspirant in Lagos. (NAN)