•We’ll take him, but no automatic ticket –PDP
•Ex-VP no threat to Buhari in 2019 –El-Rufai, Ganduje
By Willy Eya, Lagos, Romanus Ugwu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Billy Graham Abel, Yola
hours after former Vice President Atiku Abubakar formally resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party has said it would not miss the Waziri Adamawa. The development came even as the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told the former vice president that much as it would readmit him into its fold, it would not guarantee him automatic ticket in the 2019 presidential election.
Yesterday’s action by Atiku has confirmed Daily Sun, our sister publication’s earlier report that he would soon dump the APC for the PDP. But reacting to the development, the Adamawa state organising Secretary of the APC, Ahmed Lawal said the party would not miss the former vice president and wished him well in his future endeavours.
He said Atiku leaving the APC was a mistake and a wrong decision, adding that it is likely to end his political career.
He said: “When he was leaving PDP, he told the world that the party is the most corrupt party in the world and that if he leaves APC, he would be resigning from politics, so we are waiting to see if he has finally left politics for good.” In its formal reaction to Atiku’s exit from the APC, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said: “Politics is about interest, we have not seen any formal notification to that effect but based on what we have seen in the social media we can say all together is surprising but for us politics is all about interest.
“So, if the former Vice President feels that his interest is better served elsewhere, we can always wish him goodluck. For us, the task of building a political party is not a day’s job; its marathon and it takes many years and we will continue to improve on our system until we are able to get the kind of party that we want to really, really build. It takes many years to build a strong political party.”
We’ll take him, but no automatic ticket -PDP
Meanwhile, the PDP yesterday formally extended an invitation to the former Vice President to return to the party, which he left in the run-up to the 2015 general elections but said it would not guarantee him an automatic ticket in the 2019 presidential election.
The opposition party said it was ready to re-admit Atiku, without any precondition. The PDP said as a democratic party, it offers a platform that enables anybody, Atiku inclusive, “to aspire to any position he wants without any hindrance. We do not give automatic tickets to anybody.”
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, stated this while reacting to Atiku’s resignation from the APC at a press conference at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. Adeyeye said there is no doubt the former Vice President and other former PDP leaders, who left the party for the ruling party were deceived.
He said it is good that they have realised their mistakes, stating that the doors of the party is open to each and everyone of them to return.
His exit from APC not surprising –Ganduje
The governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, has said that the decision by Atiku Abubakar to quit the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not come to him as a surprise.
Reacting to Atiku’s resignation while fielding questions from newsmen at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, Ganduje said that though it is his prerogative to choose the political party he wants to belong to, he has been in the habit of moving from one party to the other.
Asked the implications of Atiku’s decision, Ganduje said, “Yes, he has his own freedom to choose whichever political party he wants to be and he has decamped to PDP. It is the way of politicians to choose the party they want to belong to.
“He was in PDP before and he was also in another party, so it was not surprising when he decided to choose to go back to another party. I think democracy is like that. People can choose where they want to be and they are not committing any crime by choosing to go where they want to be. That is democracy.”
He’s no threat to Buhari in 2019–El-Rufai
Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai described Atiku as a serial contestant whose defection from the APC did not also come to him as a surprise.
According to him, the former Vice-President was never really committed to the party, hence his exit is like good riddance to bad rubbish. El-Rufai who was in the Presidential Villa to join President Muhammadu Buhari for Friday’s Juma’at prayer, said Atiku was expected to leave the party next month, December, but now that he has left in November, “the earlier the better”.
Speaking to State House Correspondents, the governor said even if Atiku secures a presidential ticket from another party, he is no match to contest the presidency against incumbent President Buhari in 2019.
El-Rufai also said, he will also not be surprised if Atiku returns in future to the APC if he failed to get his shot at the presidency just like he had done before, adding that he was very confident no APC governor would join the former Vice-President in quitting the party.
According to him, even the governor of Adamawa State where Atiku hails from, has already endorsed Buhari for re-election.
He also asserted that right now, no northern politician can beat Buhari in a presidential election because “this is Buhari’s time.” El-Rufai on how he felt about Atiku’s defection said, “Well, I won’t even say we were in the APC together. Some of us formed the APC, some of them joined because they thought that the APC was a platform for which they will contest election but when they didn’t get the opportunity they started looking around.”
On insinuations that he has been driven out of the party, the governor said, “No one has driven him out of the party, the APC is an equal opportunity platform for everyone. He has in his statement of leaving the party made reference to the memo I wrote to Mr. President in September 2016, where I was calling on the President to reach out to party leaders that feel aggrieved and I mentioned him, the Asiwaju and many others.
“The others are still in the APC because they believe in the direction of the party, they believe we have come to save the country from a very bad situation. But the former Vice President is always looking for an opportunity to contest. He is a serial contestant and we wish him luck.”
Ex-VP’s exit won’t affect party, stakeholders say
Some stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi said the exit of former Vice President from the party would not destabilise it.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki that Atiku’s departure would not rock the party nor affect its chances in the 2019 general elections.
A former Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr Egwu Chima, said that the action of the former vice president did not demonstrate leadership, adding that his departure from the APC was unfortunate.
“APC remains the party that is giving Nigerians direction in leadership, fighting corruption in all facets and reorganizing the economic system. “APC government is reorganizing and repositioning the bureaucracy, strengthening the economy and restoring the country back from pariah status”, he said.
Also, former Commissioner for Environment in the state, Dr Paul Okorie, said the former vice president’s exit from the APC was not a good lesson. “Well, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar just exercised his freedom of right to belong to associations and that includes political parties.
“He may have an ambition he hoped to achieve in APC which he may have seen as being threatened and hence his decision. “Having dropped from the APC’s moving train, the party moves on, and as he leaves, many others are coming into the party” , he said. Acting Chairman of APC in the state, Mr Eze Nwachukwu, said: “Atiku is an accomplished politician and must take responsibility for his actions; I have nothing much to say. “One thing is clear and that is that APC is bigger and larger than one individual or group of individuals and I wish him well.”