By Henry Umoru
A Presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Wednesday warned that if the leadership of the Party and that of the country jettison the already existing zoning arrangement, it would amount to making violence change inevitable.
Speaking Wednesday at National Stakeholders’ Conference, 2010 at the Thisday Dome, Abuja, the former Vice President who noted that he was not praying that the political situation of the party and that of the country should get to the level of applying violent means to address the nation’s problems, also stressed that if the PDP fails to embrace reforms, it stands the risk of making itself irrelevant.
Meanwhile, Former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu has called on Nigerians especially those from the South to put behind them those eras in the 1960s which produced coups and counter coups in the country, just as northerners became Heads of State during the periods.
According to Ayu, “North is not set out to dominate anybody. I want you to ignore the Nigerian history of 60’s that produced coups and counter coups with its leaders as northerners. It was not conspiratorial on the part of the Northern political leaders, it was accidental.
“When we had opportunity we, not only brought out President Obasanjo who was in prison for treason out, but the north made him President even when his immediate community rejected him. It was the highest show of solidarity by the North. The least our brothers from the south can do is to demonstrate and reciprocate the goodwill.”
Ayu who admitted that the task ahead them is ensuring that the Consensus Candidate for the north, Atiku Abubakar gets the party’s ticket as well as become the President of the country come next year, said, “we are trying to tell you that we have difficult task ahead of us. If you are not present here today, the consensus effort would have been a failure. But with your presence here today, Atiku ceases to be the Northern Consensus Candidate but the Consensus Candidate of Nigeria.”
The Conference which had as its theme, “Building Consensus for National Unity”, was convened by the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, the Igbo Political Forum, the Yoruba Redemption group and the South South Unity Forum.
Speaking further, Atiku said, “Our coming here is not about Atiku, it is about the peace, the unity and stability of Nigeria as exemplified by all the speakers who spoke to this audience today. Today is about building consensus for national unity. We have some elder statesmen on consensus building. It is about the rule of law, due process and standing for what is right.
“I am an instrument for realizing these value. I promise that by the grace of almighty God, we shall bring this country back to the part of honour. Before I end this short address let me send a message to our great party the PDP: if the PDP does not reform, it stands the risk of making itself irrelevant. Let me again send another message to the leadership of PDP that those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.”
Also in his remarks, former Senate President Ken Nnamani who warned that some leaders of the country were planning to put national unity to the burner, stressed that rotation and zoning which has become part of the nation’s history, was beyond the north, the PDP, adding that it has become a national challenge.
Nnamani who noted that Nigeria has a lot to learn from the process that brought out Atiku Abubakar, stressed that it showed high sense of humility and patriotism, just as he said that if the choice was from some parts of the country, there would have been series of court litigations now, adding that zoning must be adhered to against the backdrop that all political office holders were beneficiary of same process.
The former Senate President who called for the externalization of the Consensus candidate process, also called on Nigerians to disregard comments by the President General of Ohanenze Ndigbo, Ralph Uwachue, adding that as a country, we lack political will to implement agreements, adding that some politicians were over heating the polity for their gains, even as he said that there was tension in PDP because of plans to circumvent the rules.
General Ibrahim Babangida, General Mohammed Aliyu Gusua, Atiku Abubakar, Former Chairman, Police Affairs Commission, Chief Simon Okeke, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu; Lawal Kaita; AVM Hamza Abdullahi; Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Ajia Chinyere Ogugua Agagbo; Funke Adedoyin; Professor Babalola Borishade; Alhaji Isa Ozi Salami, Professor A.T. Abubakar, Professor Sam Oyovbaire; Lawal Batagarawa; Saleh Hassan; Haruna Adamu and Saleh Hassan.
Others were former Deputy governor of Kogi, Patrick Adaba, Air Commodore Ibrahim Alkali, Farouk Bibi Farouk; Udenta Udenta; Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Professor Osita Ogbu; Mrs Titi Ajanaku, Chief Peter Biakpana; Oyewale Fashawe; Hassan Mohammed; Aboki Shuluwa; Saleh Jambo; Dr. Sam Egwu, Professor Chinwe Obaje, Professor A.B.C Nwosu; Kalu Idika Kalu; Ibrahim Kazuare; Senator Yushua Anka, Senator Hamman Bello, Dubem Onyia, Representative of Israeli Ambassador, among others.