Atiku rejoins PDP, pledges good leadership, jobs for Nigerians
• Ekweremadu, others say ex-VP’s return will benefit Nigeria
The camp of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was upbeat yesterday following the return of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who left it for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2014.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and former Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, in separate statements yesterday allayed fears that Atiku’s return might lead to a rancorous convention as the party plans to elect its chairman and presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.
Owing to Atiku’s long-drawn presidential ambition, his defection has made the contest within the PDP tenser. He now has to face other aspirants like former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, incumbent governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo and Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose. The party’s interim chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi has also reportedly said he was not ruled out of the race.
Atiku’s defection was contained in a statement issued by his media office few minutes after the former vice president had made the declaration on his facebook page.
Secondus, who is also vying for the party’s national chairmanship in Saturday’s convention, said that Atiku’s return from the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not rupture the PDP.
Senator Ekweremadu hailed Atiku’s return and said it offered a good omen for the country’s democracy. In a statement signed by his media adviser, Uche Anichiku and made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, the deputy Senate president said the action represented a massive vote of no confidence on the leadership capacity of the ruling APC first, by the masses, and now by the cream of its hierarchy and founding members.”
“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.”
Giving reasons for his defection, Atiku harped on the pervasive frustration faced by youths in the country, particularly because of the increasing rate of unemployment and poverty.“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 beginning a family. And without jobs, we cannot have security in our country and no future for you or for Nigeria.”
He said that 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”Atiku continued: “And I also know how 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 telecomms 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.” He said that his defection to the APC in 2014 was based on erroneous hopes that the party would be the new force to improve life for the people, particularly because creation of three million jobs per year was contained in its manifesto.
“The result has not been the change people had been promised or voted for, as in the last two years almost three million Nigerians have lost their jobs in addition to the fact that “25 percent of people aged 18-25 are unemployed, he lamented.
The former vice president also explained that he was “returning home to the PDP” because the issues that made him leave it have now been resolved and “it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.”Responding to some questions on his facebook account, Atiku linked terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, and other forms of exuberance that may lead to criminality as symptoms of the disease of joblessness.He said the fact that he owned and controlled large business empire would not be a source of distraction if given the opportunity to govern Nigeria.
“Leadership must be separated from management. I lead my businesses. I do not manage them. I have qualified managers, including some in their early 20s.“As a leader, you provide direction and then you bring in skilled people and inspire them to implement your roadmap to getting to the destination of your direction.”
On why he chose to return the PDP which information Minister, Lai Mohammed, has said would never return to power again, Atiku said: “Nobody knows the future other than God and to dictate what the future will be is not within man’s purview. But it is about Nigeria not about power. Power for power’s own sake breeds arrogance, and arrogance makes men say things like that.
All I am saying is that we need a party that speaks to national sentiments not regional ones. We need a party that can make all Nigerians one till we can boldly say that we are all brothers and sisters with only one mother Nigeria.”