Journalists and supporters of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar were, on Friday, shocked after the former vice-president came out from a meeting with former President Ibrahim Babangida with a long face, perhaps reflecting a red card shown to his 2019 presidential aspiration by the former military leader.
Atiku, who arrived Minna airport to a cheerful reception from his supporters, breezed past the same supporters after a one and half hour closed-door meeting with Babangida during which the latter was said to have asked him to forget his presidential aspiration.
The former vice president arrived the Minna International Airport in a private aircraft, marked T7AAA, at about 12.15 p.m.
He was met at the Airport by Niger State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, and a team of PDP officials, led by the immediate-past governor of the state, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu; the state party chairman, Tanko Beji, among others.
Atiku then proceeded to greet scores of supporters who had been waiting to welcome him but had not been allowed by airport security personnel to approach the tarmac.
Following the airport ceremonies, he immediately drove straight to the former military president’s hilltop mansion and on arrival, was ushered into one of the sitting rooms.
After the exchange of pleasantries, Atiku, Babangida and former Governor Aliyu were left alone.
Vanguard reports that after spending about 45 minutes in the meeting, Aliyu was also excused out of the sitting room, leaving only Atiku and Babangida who stayed together for another one and half hours.
Babangida was said to have advised him to drop his presidential ambition. Atiku, who was besieged by anxious journalists immediately after the long meeting, snubbed them as his security aides prevented them from even going close to him.
“Please pave way; he is not ready to speak with you,’’ the body guards chorused, as their boss made straight for his waiting vehicle that drove him to the airport.
At the airport, the former Vice President also shunned party supporters and journalists who had waited patiently to bid him bye-bye.
Wearing a long face, the former vice president walked straight into the aircraft; a development Vanguard gathered arose from the negative nod from President Babangida to his presidential aspiration.