Fabiyi Olademeji, a close ally of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is the national coordinator of Atiku campaign groups and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with THERESA TEKENAH he spoke about the presidential ambition of the former vice president and why he deserves the PDP presidential ticket among other issues.
When should we expect Atiku to formally declare for the office of the president?
First and foremost; there are two things that happens, one is an event the other is a process; event in the sense that he move from APC to PDP; now he is in PDP, there are so many things to be done before declaration, consultation, meeting people this is a process.
And you notice that when he returned life returned to PDP, he is on that process and as soon the process is over he would come out to say if he would contest, don’t forget that he is a founding member of the party, there are also many things to be done, these are processes, don’t forget he is the founding member of the party and he was forced out of the party, that is history now;
he is meeting people, he is going there, that is a process, telling them that he has returned to the party, he met with Fayose as the chairman of the governors forum some weeks back, he has also been attending private events.
The battle line is as soon as this process is complete he would declare, he is consulting and there must be consultation, INEC has not even set time for the primaries, he is going through that process of meeting people, let them know that he is back in the party, and in a couple of weeks, he would come out and tell Nigerians his next move.
How are you managing the large number of groups indicating interest in working for Atiku?
We are overwhelmed by the number of people coming out by the day declaring their interest for Atiku. Right now there are about 600 groups coming together to support Atiku and we are in the process of profiling these groups now.
It is not about Atiku, it is about the future of Nigeria, it is about him coming out to rescue the future of Nigeria, it is about the future of our youths.
How do you react to the insinuation that Atiku is corrupt?
The question of Atiku being corrupt is stale news now. Atiku’s wealth is not government money, it means his wealth is gotten through hard work, he has let the world know how he got into merchandising, he got loan, buys house, got into custom and he invested into agriculture and education; we know people who stole Nigeria’s money where are they now?
They are very broke, the money is finished. Atiku have told people how he invested in business, how he got loans to start, how he joined customs and left, how he invested into properties and he has challenged Nigerians if you have corruption case against me bring it forward and lets see.
Nobody up till today has come forward, we are tired of talking about this issue, he has been traveling around the world, and nobody has arrested him. We know people saying all these things, Atiku had many times said how his got his wealth, let them come out and say how they got their wealth too.
Atiku belongs to the past, but he is still relevant to the present, and the future of youths of this country, it is about Nigeria, it is the future, Atiku belongs to the past, but he is still relevant to the present and the youths is key to the future of the country.
What machinery are you putting in place to ensure that those groups who would work against the interest of Atiku are checked like they have done in the past?
I want to say it is not the groups that worked against Atiku, it is the elite of the country, I call it elite conspiracy, they are against him because they think if he comes to power; he would not serve their interest, they cannot control him.
This is the reason they are working against him, it is up to us as Nigerians to work against these people. It is on record that Atiku has the ability to move the country forward; and they are afraid and they know if he comes to power he would surpass their achievements that is also why they are afraid.
This few elite do not want this country to move forward we make a big mistake by electing someone like Buhari, lets move this country forward, get your PVC and you can vote these people out that is s the way forward.
Is Atiku ready to apologies to Obasanjo as advised by Jonathan?
Atiku holds nothing against Obasanjo and I believe Obasanjo holds nothing against him, there is no basis for begging; Jonathan talked like a leader, his advice is good. Atiku has taken it if he thinks there is need to do that he would do it.
How do you react to the Obasanjo inspired third force Coalition?
It is only God that makes leaders, nobody gave Obasanjo chance that he would come back to rule; judging where Jonathan was coming from whoever think is going to become the president?
It is only God that determines; 1000 supporters cannot make any body president. Lets wait to see the outcome, whether third force or 5th force Nigerians are waiting to see the outcome.
Is Atiku desperate to rule Nigeria?
No, Atiku has been running for president for some time now; he contested in 1993 and he willingly stepped down for Abiola. In 2003 he stepped down for Obasanjo in spite of the fact that 19 of the governors where in his support, he said the Yorubas have only been in office for four years, in 2014 he had grounds to challenge Buhari in court, but he said lets deepen democracy.
He is not desperate to rule, he just want to liberate this country. Can somebody be desperate to serve his country. He is not like Buhari who contested several times under different party. Atiku just want to give back to the country, as the president he can do more for Nigerians.
Is he ready for dialogue with the other presidential aspirants in PDP?
When we get to that bridge we would cross it, we would speak with other candidates, but INEC has not declared the race open.
What has Atiku to offer Nigerians?
Here is a man who was an orphan at the age of 16, this is about a man who does not have any helper, he got educated through government scholarship; he got to where he is through hard work; his selling point is that he is a successful business man.
Atiku is the second highest employer of labour in the country; go to Adamawa State, the school he built has put the state in the world map.
Here is a man who almost lost his life while fighting for democracy for the country, a thorough family man, and he has the policy to move the country forward. He has the friends and connections to move the country forward; he is the best candidate for the job.
How do you react to the election time table drama?
The Senate could not have been wrong; it is part of the beauty of democracy; I don’t think they have broken any law, fundamentally the National Assembly has right to amend the constitution, they have not tampered with the time, they only tempered with sequence.
The sequence does not matter, why is Mr. President bothered about the time and sequence as if he is confident he would win the election.
The PDP is said to be in another crisis how true is this?
Let them say what they like, there is no crisis in PDP; we may have disgruntled members here and there, we may have few issues after the convention; it is part of politics;
what of APC; the problem in PDP is smaller than what we have in APC, we would sort things out, since PDP came back APC knows they are in problem, let them go and do convention first.
They said Wike has hijacked the party?
One person cannot hijack the party, we have executive, the dynamics that shapes the convention is bigger than Wike, he may have the resources but he cannot take over the party structure.
Atiku is the second highest employer of labour in the country; go to Adamawa State, the school he built has put the state in the world map. Here is a man who almost lost his life while fighting for democracy for the country, a thorough family man, and he has the policy to move the country forward. He has the friends and connections to move the country forward, he is the best candidate for the job.