Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has acknowledged that the revelations in his controversial book, The Accidental Public Servant, would not make former President Olusegun Obasanjo happy with him over his portrayal of his former boss.
El-Rufai, who spoke in an interview to Abuja-based Metropole magazine, said he did not expect his former boss to be happy with him, "but that is okay, because I tried to be balanced with him."
In the interview, which will hit the newsstands Monday, el-Rufai added: "He (Obasanjo) is very important to me and he gave me the opportunity to be in public service. I will always be grateful to him.
"But I can't pretend that Obasanjo as president was perfect. I argued with him as a minister, even in cabinet meetings. There were people that were surprised I survived because anytime he brought something that I believed was not in the best interest of Nigeria, I argued."
El-rufai said as public figures, "we will continue to be scrutinised and we should understand that whatever we do will be public.
"This is the age of transparency and accountability. Anything you say or do, if you don't want it to be public you better not say it. This is the age we live in.
"I don't know whether Obasanjo will be happy with this book or not, but it is my truth and I think overall, all of us should sacrifice our pleasures for this country to make progress. Let the country make progress and we will all benefit from it."
On the allegation by Obasanjo's supporters that he was unfair to the former president in his memoir because he did not pick him as his successor, el-Rufai said: "I am a permanent suspect, you know. The late Yar'Adua went after me because of that. But I have stopped explaining myself or defending myself on that.
"I have written my book and those that say this is the reason should write their own book and prove that I wanted to be president at any time. I am not an aspirant and I am not a contestant for any office. I have said so and nobody believes me and people have gone after me, people are still going after me because of that."
On Obasanjo's continued denial that he ever sought a third term in office, el-Rufai told the magazine that if the former president said he didn't want a third term, his experience was different and he related it in the book, challenging the former president to write his own experience on the issue.
"Let him write his own experience. Condoleezza Rice published her memoirs and she mentioned something about Obasanjo going to George Bush and talking about third term.
"This is not the first time and he can continue denying. But let him write a story that contradicts some of these stories. For me it's not an issue of betrayal. We have a responsibility to this country to say the truth," he stated.
On why he turned against former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who was once his immediate boss in his capacity as chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and had recommended him for a ministerial post, el-Rufai said he took sides against the former vice-president because he was wrong.
"Yes, I did because I think in his fight with Obasanjo he was wrong. I had to balance who was more right than the other, and I took sides. I did not hesitate in that regards.
"If you read the book, you will see what I went through with Atiku, which was something he was doing regularly to people. But even after those things we worked together on many things, because to be fair to Atiku, while I was in BPE I never had any complaints about him apart from when he tried to stick the Motorola issue on me, then I threatened to resign.
"But when I came to FCT, I saw a completely different face. And I just had to make a choice. In this life you make choices, you balance good and bad and make choices. And I made my choice," he said.
On reactions to the book since its release, el-Rufai said he had been grossly misunderstood, adding that writing the book was meant to set the record straight and had been an exhilarating experience.
"Writing the book was both exhilarating and challenging for me. Exhilarating because I believed I had a story to tell after nine interesting years in public service. I thought that my mistakes and achievements, if any, and my interactions all add up to useful lessons for those that aspire to a life in public service. But as someone trained to think numerically, it was really difficult writing the book. It took me three years," he said.
He insisted that the book was not a manifesto for the 2015 general election, stating that it was a story that had to be told.
"It is a story which I had decided to write while in government because I think we don't document experiences enough. I said so in the book.
"For instance, I came out of council chambers after being sworn in as a minister and two people approached me. One of them said he was my chief of protocol and the other said he was my chief security officer. In truth, I had never in my life imagined that once you were sworn in as minister you would get this.
"It's not something that anyone had written about or told me. So there are a few things about senior-level government positions that no one prepares you for. I think that we need to prepare people.
"Secondly, of course, there are aspects of my public service that have been distorted, misrepresented and misunderstood. And unless I tell my story, that misrepresentation will become the history.
"I recall it was Winston Churchill that said 'history will be kind to me because I intend to write it'. But one thing this book is not about is any political aspiration. If you have political aspirations you won't write the book the way I did," he said.