Atiku said he had the opportunity to win the election in favour of his party at the time, the PDP, but he decided to leave the state for Bola Tinubu, who was in the Alliance for Democracy (AD) at the time.
He said his principal in 2003, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, tasked him with ensuring that the six states in the South-West were won by the PDP.
He expressed regrets about the decision, noting that if he got the opportinity again, “Lagos will be taken to where it belongs”.
His words: “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 also restated his commitment to restructuring the country if elected as president.