AS uncertainty lingers over President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s health, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar yesterday lashed out at the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, accusing it of blackmailing the opposition with the Presidentâ€™s illness.
Atiku who spoke at the Action Congress, AC, Convention in Lagos, said the near total absence of leadership in the country was frightening.
Besides, he said the PDP had kidnapped the country. The Turaki of Adamawa, whose arrival at the Onikan Stadium at 11.25 a.m. was greeted with wild jubilation by party supporters was dressed in white flowing native agbada and a white cap to match.
His words: â€œNigeria is at a stand still due to new total absence of leadership at the top.Â It is a critical issue and it is very frightening.Â It is as if the country is in state of mourning.
So, rather than celebrate, we should, like most Nigerians, be reflecting at the way this country has been needlessly kidnapped by the PDP and held to ransom for over two and a half years.
As we are gathered here, the president of this country, Umaru Yarâ€™Adua is ill at a Saudi hospital. We join other Nigerians in wishing him speedy recovery so that he can return to the country and his family.
â€œIt is our custom, as Nigerians not to attack people when they are sick or die, rather we pray for them even if they are our opponent or rival.
Unfortunately, the PDP government and the ruling party have been politicising the Presidentâ€™s ill-health and using it as a weapon of blackmail against Nigerians and the oppositionâ€, he said, adding that â€œwe even heard that they are making proposition in a presumed future government, sort of playing God. Can you imagine that?
However, he pointed out that the waiting had been in vain, saying â€œevery indications, may be have been in vain and they will continue to be in vain because it is very evident that all the critical development needs of this country have been left unattended to,â€ addingÂ â€œour roads remain death traps, our electric power supply has so deteriorated that many firms are relocating to neighbouring countries in the West African sub-region.
He pointed out that, â€œthe electoral reforms which PDP promised at the inauguration of its panel remains a mere promise, nearly a year after the Uwais Committee submitted its well reasoned report. The crisis in our educational system continues to worsen to a point of collapse, thereby leading to continue production of fairly literate graduates.Â National budget has become a mere ritual because the PDP government does not take it seriously.
How AC held convention
IT was a mixture of culture,Â carnival and conviviality characteristic of Lagos, as the ruling party in the state Action Congress, AC, held its annual convention at Waterfront Onikan Stadium on the Island. Among early arrivals at the convention which started two hours behind schedule was former Vice President Atiku Abubakar whose entry into the venue set the stadium arena agog with cheering excitement .
The event which featured Agidigbo traditional drummings, atilogu dancers, angwu and a sprinkle of eyo masquerade on display also had fuji music king, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal on band stand.
It was also an opportunity for former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Governor Babatunde Fashola to show to everyone that there was no feud between them.
The first proof was the arrival of the duo together at the stadium which was heralded by jubilation from party supporters.
When it was time to make speeches, it was yet another chance for Tinubu and Fashola to convince everyone present that all was well between them as the two of them walked to the podium together.
Perhaps, to lay the rumour rift to a final rest, Governor Fashola while delivering his address referred to Tinubu as the â€œAsiwaju of the World, my leader and mentorâ€.
A surprise appearance at the Convention was governorship candidate of Democratic Party Alliance, DPA, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, giving an indication that he may have returned to AC.
A possible confirmation of this was when Wasiu Ayinde in singing Agbajeâ€™s praises when he was introduced sang in Yoruba saying, â€œWelcome back homeâ€.
In his address, Governor Fashola, said: â€˜Former governors, especially my leader, my mentor, the Asiwaju of the world.
My message is simple, to thank the leaders of our party, the organisers of this convention for organising a convention that will be a convention of all conventions. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a party convention has been used to bring national development issues to the front from the pre-convention lectures and all the speeches that have been read here. it was said clearly when we started: …. of democratic governance that has arrived in Edo, in Anambra.
As Asiwaju has said, we are no more a minority party,Â weÂ are the party at the heart of the issue everybody will be looking to ourÂ party to provide leadership, to provide governance.
All members of Action Congress, must be at the vanguard of democracy to ensure that every vote counts.
I call on every Nigerian to give their support . Commit your resources, commit your time to support the great work that is started byÂ CODER so that every vote will count.”