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Why I fought Obasanjo – Atiku

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

ABUJA—FORMER Vice-President, Alhaji  Atiku Abubakar, said,Tuesday, that he was very loyal and supportive to his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, during the first half of their first term, but disagreed when there were schemes to subvert the constitution of the country.

He spoke at a world press conference on why he returned to PDP.
Abubakar, who noted that the presence of Obasanjo as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party will not in any way affect his return to the party, stressed that he was not aware of the former President’s looming large personality in the PDP.

He stressed that if he had the opportunity, he would put in place a law that would allow for three political parties in the country.

The former Vice-President, who was, however, silent on the question of his presidential ambition, said he was supportive of objective reforms in the party where there will be internal democracy.

He argued that any move or action must be done in line with the party’s constitution and through due process, adding, “if you want to effect changes in the party’s constitution, you must come through the convention, through the congresses and the convention and do your reform.”

Addressing a World Press Conference in Abuja,  on , “Why I returned to PDP,” Atiku, who displayed his card with registration number 5438200 which he did on 7 April 2010, at his Jeli, Jada Ward, contrary to insinuations that he had not been registered by the party, however, stressed that he never faced any stumbling block at the Action Congress.

According to him, what he advocated for then was that AC alone could not form an opposition to the ruling PDP hence he championed a larger one, but discovered that many of the people were not ready for genuine opposition, adding that outside PDP, he would remain on the street politically.

The text read, “It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this historic world press conference which is being held to formally announce my return and that of my supporters nationwide to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“When in 1998 I worked with other patriots to found the PDP and, later, contributed immensely to its growth and electoral successes, the motivation was never about becoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria . Our focus was ending military rule, enthroning democracy and ensuring people-oriented development. It was in fulfillment of this objective that I ran for and won Adamawa State governorship election in 1999.

“Before being sworn into office as governor, the offer to be Vice President came and I accepted it with the belief that I could help put in place policies, institutions and services that would guarantee our steady progress as a democratic nation.

“During the first half of our first term of office, I worked closely with my boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo. I was loyal and supportive. I was committed to the strengthening of democracy and to the timely delivery of democracy’s dividends to our people.

I was ever mindful of the complexity of our country and the need to maintain its delicate political balance for the sake of peace, unity and stability. This was why I resisted the pressure to contest against Obasanjo in the PDP presidential primaries in 2003.

“Not long after we were returned to office for a second term in 2003, I became aware of a scheme to subvert the constitution, destroy our party, endanger our young democracy and throw our long-suffering people into an avoidable political crisis and confusion..

I opposed this dangerous ~ plot with all the courage, energy and resources that I could muster. As a consequence, I was forced out of the PDP that I laboured so hard with other patriots to build.

“My associates and I had to contest the 2007 elections on another political platform amidst constant threats and harassment. But we were convinced that we could only save our democracy from the jaws of tyranny by fighting for our rights, including the right to offer ourselves for elective offices.

“The fight for democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria has enriched our laws, strengthened our judiciary and deepened our democracy. Today, no one can be disqualified from contesting elections except by a competent court of law.

Today, there is a strong push across the country for electoral reforms because of the abuses that were perpetrated in 2007. Thanks to our struggle, the PDP set up the Ekwueme Committee to ensure reconciliation of aggrieved members and their return to the PDP, as well as the return of the party to the ideals of the original PDP, including a move toward greater openness and internal democracy.

“I have been a long time believer in a two party system which makes for a viable opposition party. This was why I collaborated with other opposition figures in order to establish a viable opposition party to ensure the survival of our democracy. Sadly, that effort was sabotaged by those who were unwilling to compromise and subordinate their political ambition to the greater good of the country.

“Our country is faced with a multiplicity of challenges such as bloody inter-communal and ethnic violence, deepening economic crisis, collapse of our infrastructure and the risk of the unraveling of the amnesty in the Niger Delta. Therefore, it would be irresponsible for me to continue to engage in a fruitless effort to convince other political leaders that Nigeria is more important than our individual ambitions.

“My return to the PDP became even more urgent with the coming of an Acting President who has publicly committed himself to ensuring a more democratic and transparent polity. Our return to the PDP will help ensure a democratic and people-oriented PDP. Let me also hope that it will help sharpen the focus of those who remain in opposition because Nigeria does need a viable opposition political party.

“ Nigeria is greater than our individual ambitions and aspirations. Therefore, I shall work tirelessly to ensure that the PDP remains a democratic party where the votes of its members actually count. This is important so that whoever emerges leader within the PDP at the ward, local government, state and federal levels, will be accountable to the members.

“Given its dominance of the political landscape in this country, if the PDP is able to achieve internal democracy, organize credible elections and adhere to its constitution, and if due process and the rule of law are allowed to reign supreme, it will be easier for Nigeria as a whole to do the same.

“With regards to my membership, I wish to categorically state that I have rejoined the PDP from my ward, and I have my card here with me. In fact, my Ward, Local Government and State Chairmen of the POP and other stakeholders are here to demonstrate their support”.


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