*Atiku returns to PDP
*Ribadu may become Jonathanâ€™s SA on Anti Corruption
*El-Rufai to play key role in PDP
By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor, Henry Umoru and Uduma Kalu, Deputy Features Editor
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has cleared the way for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to return to his estranged party,Â the ruling Peoples Democratic (PDP). Saturday Vanguard learnt that a decision would be taken on the return next Tuesday.
It was further disclosed that no overtures were made by the ruling party to have the former VP return to PDP.
The Acting President has also made it easy for former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Malam Nasir El Rufai and ex anti corruption czar, Malam Nuhu Ribadu to return to the country.
El Rufai will also be returning to the PDP. His passport was earlier denied renewal when it expired. The former FCT minister was at one time declared wanted by the police over theÂ Â manner he allegedlyÂ sold FCT property
Like Ribadu whose charges have been discontinued,Â Saturday Vanguard learntÂ El Ruafiâ€™s case may also be discontinued.
Ribadu was last Thursday cleared of all charges levelled against him by the EFCC last Thursday. Sources close to the presidency told Saturday Vanguard that ex EFCC boss has been tipped by Jonathan to become his Special Adviser on Anti Corruption.
Apart from dropping charges against Ribadu, Jonathan who was said toÂ have met with Atiku over his planned return to PDP had okayed the move.
After the meeting with the Acting President, Atiku then flew to Dubai for the celebration of the 50th birthday of El Rufai.
Saturday Vanguard had published the planned birthday in Dubai last February as a gathering of Northen Turks. It was learnt that at the party, Atiku discussed with El Rufai and Ribadu on his plans to return to the PDP.
The birthday party was said to have been actually hosted by those in Obasanjo camp to discuss the affairs of the PDP at the height of President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s illness and his unannounced return to the country.
It was also gathered that El Rufai may play a significant role in how the North produces the next president in 2011, a source said.
National Chairman of the PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, told Saturday Vanguard that he has also told theÂ Â Acting President of Atikuâ€™s plans to rejoin the party, saying that the former VP hinted him of his plans when they met during a condolence visit in Adamawa State on the death of Lamido of Adamwa, Dr. Aliyu Musdafa who died March 13, 2010.
Ogbulafor said the doors of the party were open to Atiku.
Atikuâ€™s return to the PDP was bolstered by the collapse of the planned mega party. Former Lagos governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Osun state governor Bisi Akande and former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Olu Falae and Balarabe Musaâ€™s noncompliance with the necessary changes required for the formation of a Mega party that will make all membersÂ equal was said to haveÂ left former Atiku standing alone and might be the reason why he is consideringÂ return to PDP.
The perceivedÂ insincerity, according to the source, was further confirmed when AC key leaders were conspicuously missing at the Mega Party summit held in Abuja 31st March.
Already, Buhari has left the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and has been identified with the newly-registered Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) after a dismal outing in 2007 presidential election and a perceived betrayal by his former party the ANPP.
Chief Olu Falae, Saturday Vanguard also learnt, has moved on with his party, the Democratic Peoples Alliance, DPA and is no more interested in the Mega Party.
Our source also revealed that currently, Alhaji Balarabe Musa andÂ Pat Utomi have opened up negotiation with the Labour Party. â€œOnly Atiku Abubakar is remaining and he has a serious decision to take.Â Â Atiku’s political associates are neck deep in consultation at their constituencies,â€ the sources added.