By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday announced his return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he helped formed in 1998 to usher in democracy in 1999 following years of military dictatorship.
The announcement on Sunday on Facebook Live followed series of consultations the former Vice President had with party leaders and stakeholders across the six geo-political zones of country.
This came as the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has described as a welcome development, the return of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP, as a welcome development, not only for the party, but the nation’s democracy.
Describing the movement as a massive ‘Vote of No Confidence’ in the leadership capacity of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the lawmaker enjoined more politicians who left the PDP to return home in the manner of the former Vice President.
In a statement issued by his special assistant (media), Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu said the nation needs a leadership that would restore hope in the democratic process.
“The dumping of the APC by Alhaji Atiku is a welcome development for the PDP, but more importantly, Nigeria’s democracy.
“Nigeria is in dire need of a rescue mission to rekindle hope in our democracy, restore her on the path of prosperity, and halt the worsening divisiveness that threatens our corporate existence.
“I, therefore, enjoin all former PDP faithful who left for various reasons as well as other progressive-minded Nigerians to emulate Alhaji Atiku, to reunite under the umbrella to salvage the nation because I see a new and better Nigeria coming in 2019.
A transcript of the Atiku’s announcement read as follows: “Hello, my name is Atiku Abubakar.
I am speaking to you today on Facebook Live as I want to reach as many of our young people as possible as I have an important announcement to make about the future of Nigeria. As it is you, our youths, who represent the future of our nation.
“I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversations with young people, their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job for without a job, they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family.
“And without the security of a job we cannot have security in our country. So without jobs, there is no future for you or for Nigeria.
“And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well.
“Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my own State of Adamawa.
“And I also know how the government can help create the right environment for businesses to create jobs. When I was Vice President in 1999, I was responsible for liberalising the telecoms sector which enabled us to increase the number of people who could access a phone from less than 1 million then to over 100 million today.
“This transformation resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that fed off the mobile phone revolution.
“Some of you may know that I was elected Vice President under the banner of the PDP, which is the political party I had helped to found some ten years before.
“And some of you may also know that I left the PDP four years ago when I believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice upon which we had founded it.”
Advancing reasons for swapping political platforms a few years ago, the Turakin Adamawa added: “I joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) as I had hoped it would be the new force that would help improve life for our people and I was excited about the party’s manifesto to create 3 million new jobs a year.
“The result has not been the change people had been promised or voted for, as in the last two years, almost 3 million Nigerians have lost their jobs.
“And today with a record 25% of people aged 18-25 unemployed, I can see how difficult it is for our youths to find a job.
“The key to creating jobs is a strong economy and that is what we are currently lacking.
“So today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.”
“I see a country where corruption will be eradicated, a nation that will be a pride to Africa and admiration of the international community, and a nation where no man will be oppressed, intimidated, persecuted or sidelined on account of ethnicity, religion or political persuasion. No amount of desperation will stop the will of God for Nigeria in 2019,” the statement read.