Olusegun Obasanjo has told Nigerians that he is not going to deceive himself and expect perfection from ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, because Jesus Christ, when he came to the world as human, was not perfect.
His words, “I have been called names because of my position on Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa. 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.
“And neither has what I have said and written about Buhari been controverted. If anything, they have been confirmed and proved beyond any shadow of doubt. But Atiku has done things which are absolutely imperative for a leader to be followed and believed.
“First, know who you are and present yourself as you are — a human being in blood and flesh and susceptible to human mistakes and human frailties. Don’t cover up with sanctimonious veneer of bogus integrity, incorruptibility, uprightness, goodness and false figures and statistics, all of which are contrived to deceive, to cheat, to plunder and to destroy.
“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. On an occasion in the past when I said that someone was not a Messiah, some Nigerians, out of bad belle were up in arms.
“For me, as a Christian, the only Messiah I know and have is Jesus Christ and even then, the man aspect of Him was imperfect, while the divine aspect of Him was perfectly messianic.
“Secondly, a leader must be honest to himself and to the people he serves or wants to serve. He must identify and acknowledge his situation, mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacy; show remorse where and when he has erred, seek forgiveness and repent; and not passing the buck or keep blaming others and fail to accept responsibility.
“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.
“For, if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:14-15 NIV).
“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.”