Associates want Atiku to cautiously consider APC’s invitation

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

They remind him of past problems in the defunct AC

A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, appears set to defect from Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a party he helped form prior to the 1999 elections.

Mr. Abubakar on Monday commenced consultations with his political associates on the request by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to join them. He met with his supporters from the six states in the North Central and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. The states are Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa and Niger.

Leaders of the APC had visited the former vice president in his Abuja home late last year to formally request him to join the APC, a product of merger talks among the ACN, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.

In a statement recently, Mr. Abubakar said he would consult widely before taking a decision on the invitation.

At the Monday’s meeting, his associates, who assured him they would accompany him to any party of his choice, however asked him to carefully consider the APC’s invitation so that he would not encounter the problems that in the first informed his decision to return to the PDP from the defunct AC.

“Over time, the PDP has never known what to do with Turaki Atiku Abubakar and yet here he is being beckoned at by other political parties,” Yahaya Kwande, a former Nigerian ambassador to Switzerland, who attended the meeting, was quoted as saying at the meeting by an attendee.

“Now, we need the wisdom of Solomon to know the direction to go. That is why we are all here: to help him in taking decisions of how to handle this dilemma in front of him.”

Mr. Abubakar, who was vice president on the ticket of the PDP between 1999 and 2007, was literally forced out of the ruling party by his boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was no longer comfortable working with him. Mr. Obasanjo was believed to be angry with his deputy for opposing his bid to extend his (Obasanjo) tenure.

He joined some of his associates to float the AC, which later became Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, but left the defunct party in 2011following his alleged disagreement with some of its chieftains, including a former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who incidentally is a leader of the APC.

Part of the former vice president’s grouse was allegedly that Mr. Tinubu betrayed him when he flew the AC flag during the 2007 presidential election. The former governor allegedly funded the campaign of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who was the presidential candidate of the PDP.

Mr. Abubakar subsequently secured a waiver to return to the PDP in September 2010 and contested the presidential primaries of the party, but was defeated by President Goodluck Jonathan. He had been picked by the Northern political elders as the north’s consensus candidate in the presidential primaries of the ruling party.

However, last year, the former vice president wrote the PDP complaining of tactical move to deprive him of his full rights as a member of the ruling party.

In the letter addressed to the then National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, Mr. Abubakar complained about the omission of his name from PDP state delegation list, exclusion from the meetings of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, and the Board of Trustees, BOT, despite being a member of both bodies.

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