April 7, 2009

Atiku, a hopeless politician – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party on Monday sealed any hope of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar returning to its fold as it described him as ‘a hopeless and selfish politician.’

The party said that his bid to bounce back into political reckoning had fallen flat in his face and that his “selfish and overt political ambition” had made him susceptible to sundry miscalculations and misjudgments.

The former vice-president, who has made several efforts to rejoin the PDP in the last few months, had also incurred the ire of the Action Congress, a party on whose platform he contested the last 2007 Presidential election.

The PDP’s vitriol came a few days after former President Olusegun Obasanjo claimed at a function in Yola, Adamawa State, that Abubakar had begged him to assist him return to the party.

Ironically, Abubakar had at the weekend told journalists in Lagos that the PDP was not a credible vehicle for electoral reforms ahead of the 2011 polls.

“I do not think that the PDP government has the capacity and the ability to push through a real electoral reform that would satisfy all participants in the process,” he had said.

The former vice-president described the White Paper on electoral reforms as empty and called on ‘progressives’ to unite to form a mega-party that would serve as an alternative to the PDP.

But the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali, said that Abubakar ought to have been grateful to the party (PDP) for giving him a platform through which he served the country as a vice-president for eight years under Obasanjo.

The statement reads in part,“The attention of the PDP has been drawn to the statement credited to the former vice-president (Abubakar) and widely published in Nigerian newspapers of April 6, 2009, in which he made uncomplimentary remarks against our party and the President Umaru Yar’Adua-led Federal Government.

“Our instinct has always been to ignore Alhaji Abubakar whose overt selfish ambition has left a hopeless politician susceptible to all forms of miscalculations and misjudgements.

“ However, it appears that the PDP tolerance of him and his cohorts is daily being taken for granted, hence we wish to state as follows:

“That the former vice-president be reminded that but for the PDP which gave him a platform to emerge first as governor–elect of Adamawa State and then, as the vice- president of Nigeria for eight years, Alhaji Abubakar would have remained an inconsequential political quantity, whose influence would not have gone beyond his Jadda ward in Adamawa State.

“The former vice-president should, therefore, be eternally grateful to the PDP and not be consumed in the sojourn of ill-fate to disparage a platform without which he would have remained irrelevant.

“It is an irony that the former vice-president has suddenly woken up to the realisation that Nigeria does not have a system that can bring brilliant people to leadership when the same system elevated him to the nation’s number two.

“Did Abubakar deliberately and selfishly slumber away while he enjoyed the same system?

“What a paradox that the same man who sang Hosanna yesterday is today singing crucifice eis – crucify him at the top of his voice.

“That his attack on the genuine efforts and commitment of the Federal Government on electoral reforms is clearly opportunistic as Alhaji Abubakar as vice-president of Nigeria for good eight years cannot today be credited with even a single suggestion he made on how to reform the electoral system.

“If the PDP cannot bequeath a good electoral system as Abubakar said, is it the AC with its barrage of demi-gods and cult personalities that will?

“Is it the AC that is bereft of internal democracy? “Where is Abubakar if we may ask? Is he in the opposition? Which opposition? Is inconsistency a mettle of an opposition politics?

“We are not surprised that Atiku now has his eyes in the so-called nebulous mega party having lost grip of the AC with his self-serving antics.”

The PDP added that Abubakar had become “rudderless” because he had lost control of the AC.

It said, “Nigerians have come to know Alhaji Abubakar more than he thinks. For all his pretences, he is definitely not one of the champions of democracy.

“His recent desperation to repair a battered image and bounce back to reckoning has fallen flat in his face, hence his latest remarks which are symptomatic of a drowning man, latching unto every available straw for survival.”

But in a swift reaction, Abubakar said he had no regrets for condemning the PDP and the government of President Yar’Adua.

Abubakar, who spoke through his media office in Abuja, said the attack on his person for calling on the PDP and government to respect the wishes of Nigerians for electoral reforms was another confirmation that the party had derailed from the noble objectives of its founding fathers.

He said, “There is no doubt that Nigeria needs an electoral reform. The failure of government and frustration of our people over the lack of effective governance is a fallout of the bad elections of 2007.

“The linkage between credible elections and performance in government is now very clear to Nigerians. It is a pity if some latter-day PDP joiners cannot see what every reasonable Nigerian sees clearly today.”

The former vice-president said the minimum requirements for credible elections as contained in the Justice Muhammadu Uwais-led panel report on electoral reform had been abandoned by the PDP.

He said, “Many of the politicians in the party are afraid of free and fair elections. If these politicians are credible as they claim, why are they afraid of effecting electoral reforms that will guarantee the inalienable rights of Nigerians to choose their leaders?”

A credible electoral system, Abubakar argued, must include the appointment of the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission and its board by an impartial body like the Nigerian Judicial Council.

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