Atiku Abubakar rejoins PDP
Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar has returned to the country’s former ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party, less than two weeks after he resigned from the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“Today, I want to let you know that I’m returning home to PDP as the issues that led to me leave it have now been resolved,” he said in an announcement on Sunday on Facebook Live.
He is expected to run for the Nigerian presidency on the platform of the PDP, where he was the VP to President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.
Atiku has defected from the party twice to contest for Nigeria’s top job in the then oppositions parties.
On December 20, 2006, he emerged the presidential candidate of now-defunct Action Congress after falling out with the leadership of the PDP.
He, however, failed to garner popular support as he came third in the 2007 general election behind eventual PDP’s candidate Umaru Yar’Adua and All Nigerian People’s Party’s Muhammadu Buhari.
He returned to the PDP after the 2007 misadventure. There, he vied again for the top job but lost the primaries to President Goodluck Jonathan who succeeded President Yar’Adua.
In February 2014, he, again, defected to the then newly formed All Progressives Congress which comprised major leaders of the defunct Action Congress, a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Congress for Progressive Change.
In APC, he failed again to realise his presidential ambition as he was defeated in the primaries by Muhammadu Buhari who went on to win the 2015 presidential election.
Not minding his few defections, Atiku doubled down on his criticism of the APC, blaming the party for the bad state of the economy and for its failure to deliver on its campaign promises.
“It is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, especially our young people, down.”
In a statement shortly after he announced his resignation from APC on November 24, Atiku alleged that the APC had derailed from the principles that made him join the party on February 2, 2015.
“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced,” Atiku said in a statement.
He also, tacitly, acknowledged the existence of a frosty relationship with the leadership of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari, using a controversial leaked memo sent to Buhari by the governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai as a reference.
“Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo, he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had “not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance”.
“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties’.”
Atiku insisted that since the memo was leaked, neither President Buhari nor the leadership of the APC had made moves to attend to all the points raised by El-Rufai.
He said the party has derailed, failed to deliver on its electoral promises, and has stifled youth participation in its government.
“But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth?
“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.
“I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?”