By Gabriel Olawale

A self-professed “support group” of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the name ‘PDP Action 2023’ recently offered unsolicited advice to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, urging him not to contest the 2023 Presidential election, The Arewa People’s Advocate has said.

The group in a statement in Abuja said the unsolicited advise was chaired by one Mr. Rufus Omeire, who offered quite a comprehensive list of apparent transgressions purportedly committed by Vice President Atiku Abubakar. This includes his visit to governors elected on the party platform against difficult odds through his generous support and his guided, non-public interventions in the raging PDP crisis, which they regard as disdain.

The statement signed by its National Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Muhammad said, “to begin with, the bizarre nature of this advice, particularly the comical and inherently contradictory excuses offered for it, calls into question the authenticity of this group as truly a PDP support group, or in fact a group affiliated with the party in any notable or verifiable way.

“Far more likely is that it is an assemble of persons from the opposition who are terrified by the palpable resurgence in the support and call for Atiku following the renewed appreciation of his documented manifesto which recommends practical solutions to some of the challenges the ruling party has proved unable to manage. They are understandably keen on not facing Atiku at the polls, hence the appeal for him to take himself out of the race under the guise of a ‘PDP support group’ to buy some legitimacy for their political gimmick.”

Continuing, Dr. Mohammad noted that another possible motivation for the strange advice and the actors behind it, is the frustration of some persons with Atiku’s cautious approach to the leadership crisis roiling in the PDP. These persons who are afraid the control of the party is slipping through their fingers, are looking to Atiku to rig the game in their favor with his support, even if it comes at the expense of guided conversations with stakeholders and reaching a resolution acceptable to most. His refusal to lend himself to their selfish motivations has earned him their ire.

“Regardless, the tactic of appealing to political actors to not contest elections is a worn – and frankly ineffective – gimmick that merely advertises the political impotence of any group or persons making such appeal. If Atiku does decide to throw his hat in the ring, there is a way to prevent his emergence: by forming a partisan force strong enough to defeat him in the PDP primaries. The only reason these persons have not chosen this path is that they know they are unable to.

“In choosing this line of action, they inadvertently acknowledge Atiku’s popularity within the party and his healthy chances of yet emerging as its presidential flagbearer. And this exposes the falsehood of the allegation that the former Vice President had abandoned the party, and the country, following the 2019 elections.

“It is a comical irony that the group recommends for the position of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees the same man they accuse of not offering enough support outside the election cycle.

“The fact of the matter is that Atiku Abubakar has been the most prominent oppositional actor at the forefront of conversations on issues dominating national headlines. From security to the economy and governance structure most amenable to development, Atiku has consistently engaged Nigerians, both young and old, through conventional and new media, on the state of affairs and the means to chart a path forward with reference to his documented agenda which remains accessible to all.”

According to The Arewa People’s Advocate, “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has rallied the PDP to live up to its role as the leading voice of opposition in the country, including notable contributions to the cause of expanding the party’s regional and national influence through state elections – a fact acknowledged by nearly all the Governors elected on the platform, including in recently won states such as Edo.

“However, the fact that this faceless group slipped into its “advice” shows an embarrassing display of ageism and this is no surprise to us at the Arewa People’s Advocate. It grabbed at straws in the entirety of the drivel and merely threw every possible de-marketing factor it could conceive, hoping that one stick. The last American election was between two candidates well above the age of 70. They both defeated younger candidates in their party primaries because, ultimately, what stands out candidates aspiring to high office is the quality of their ideas.

“The precarious state of things in the country is such that only those with demonstrated knowledge on managing her sensitive union (which faces the greatest pressure today) and economy (weakened by rising inflation and inability to spur sustainable growth) should be trusted to lead. Atiku’s antecedents and agenda are by now a national staple. Nigerians can make up their minds. They do not need the guidance of ill-motivated advice of a biased, partisan group”, the Arewa People’s Advocate stated.

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