• I’m at home in PDP, says ex-VP
• We’re better off without you –APC chair
From Romanus Ugwu, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Agaju Madugba, Katsina
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the exit of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, from the party will strengthen the ruling party in the 2019 general elections.
Oyegun said contrary to the speculations, Atiku’s exit will not trigger any exodus.
The national chairman spoke at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, as his investiture as the national life grand patron the Association of Former Local Government Chairmen and Counsellors.
Deputy National Chairman (South), Segun Oni and National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu.
Addressing the association, Oyegun warned them not to be like the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), which, he alleged, has eroded its credibility by being reduced to an endorsement group of one election or the other.
“Let nobody fear that the defection of the former vice president is going to lead to any deluge.
“ If anybody wants to defect, the day you are defecting is the day you bring out your heavy guns; not later.
“When you stand and they look at your right and left, they say, ‘Ah! This man has done something great.’ So, don’t ever be afraid that there is going to be any massive defection. As a matter of fact the contrary is the case. The APC is growing in strength on a daily basis. Anybody who is anybody is virtually with the APC today. The reality is, outside the APC, there is no other party that is truly settled, not even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They are still fighting about how to get a chairman and the rest of it. Today, they say money has come to buy the chairmanship position. So, it is something you should take pride in… It is just that the remnants of the PDP have found their voice, so, they are screaming very loud and we think the whole country is upside down. It is not. The country is making steady progress and, your party is growing on a daily basis.” Oyegun said.
Speaking during the investiture, the association’s National Coordinator, Hon. Mike Omohimua described Oyegun as a man of high intellect and political pedigree, who deployed his “political doggedness and experience to rescue Nigeria from collapse,” in the hands of the immediate-past PDP administration.
Regardless, Atiku has visited the PDP National Secretariat, Wadata House, in Abuja.
He formally returned to the party on December 3.
Atiku arrived the party’s national secretariat about 11.58am, yesterday, accompanied by his supporters and was received by members of the party’s National Caretaker Committee.
Speaking during the visit, Atiku said he was at the secretariat to pay courtesy to the national leadership, following his return to the party.
“Many people have read in the media that I have returned home. This is the home.”
The two-time vice president also described the PDP as the only political party in the country.
“I can bet you, the records we achieved so far in governance, no government has yet even done 50 percent of what we have achieved in government, not to talk of equalling our performance in government,”Atiku said.
Consequently, he appealed to former PDP members presently in other political parties to return.
“This party is the only party in this country. Let me pay tribute to the past leadership of this great party, where ever they may be and to call upon them to please, return home as I have done. It is only by returning home that we will build a stronger, more united party that can, again, return to government and continue to deliver the dividends of democracy.”
Reacting to Atiku’s defection, Masari warned Nigerians to “stay away from these enemies of the people who are masquerading as if they like the people or they are for the people. They were once in position to salvage the situation but misused the opportunities. Don’t look at what they are doing today.”
Masari spoke yesterday, when members of the Katsina State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House.
“Their defection is good riddance to bad rubbish,” Masari said, and added, “let them go.”
“Even here, locally, we have them but we can deal with them. It is not good enough for somebody to enter his room and start talking. “Let us come out and face the people. This government is ready, willing and prepared to face anybody and account for our stewardship anytime and anywhere.
“Some of them at the national level complain that they are being sidelined, that they have not been contacted, not been involved.
“First of all, President Muhammadu Buhari has no job that he can give to everybody but he is introducing policies that will free the ordinary people of Nigeria.”
He said that the Katsina State government was committed to reviving the Health, Education and Agriculture sectors of the economy as well as on security, to make impact on the lives of the people.
“Plans are underway to recruit 60 consultants by January next year. They comprise doctors, nurses and laboratory scientists, to ensure that our people do not travel out of the state or abroad for medical treatment.
“We also provide free delivery kits for pregnant women. We will ensure there is strict compliance by the health personnel and any health personnel found wanting in this direction will have themselves to blame.
“All these we are doing to ensure we touch the lives of the populace positively,” Masari said.