Abubakar, a PDP presidential aspirant, spoke in Lagos while holding a meeting with members of the party in the state.
The meeting was part of his nationwide tour of state chapters, to seek support for his aspiration ahead of 2019 general election.
He said before the 2003 elections, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo gave him the task to deliver the six south-west states then governed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to the PDP.
Abubakar said in carrying out the task, he delivered all the states to PDP, except Lagos.
The former vice-president said he deliberately did not do much to win Lagos because of his relationship with Bola Tinubu who was governor of the state at the time.
He apologised to party members for what he called his mistake, saying 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,” he said.
“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.”
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 the country was having serious issues in the areas of economy and security, promising to fix the problems if elected.
Abubakar said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed to deliver the promised change.
He said 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.
“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.