APC will be stronger without you – Oyegun
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and recent returnee to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has urged the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party to build an all inclusive party, saying that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) administration is yet to attain 50 percent of PDP achievements.
He reminded the NCC of the vision of the party’s founding fathers, urging them to build on the principles of democracy, good governance, unity of the country and prosperity of its people.
The Turaki of Adamawa stated this on Tuesday when he visited the NCC at the Wadata Plaza, the party’s national headquarters.
Atiku, while pledging his loyalty to the party’s NCC, urged them to build an all inclusive party, learn from the mistakes that led the party to its knees and be ready to reach out, make sacrifices and necessary compromises in the process of achieving the greatness the party ones attained in the past.
He said, “I like to thank you very much indeed for this privilege and opportunity granted me. All what I have come to do today is to come and show my face. Many people have read in the media that I have returned home. This is home.
“Mr Chairman, I want to congratulate you for a wonderful work which you have been doing to redeem the image of this party, to return it, re-brand it and return it to its original form. I want to assure you of my support and cooperation at all times, to make sure that these objectives are achieved by you and subsequently by your successors,” he said.
Going down memory lane on how the party derailed from the vision of the founding fathers, Atiku said, “We should remember that those of us who founded this party, founded it on the principles of democracy, good governance, unity of this country and the prosperity of its people.
“Over the years, like any or every human organisation, it has faced its challenges, but I want to pay tribute to those who have stayed steadfast through thick and thin to see us through to this point. Now that we have learnt our lessons, I hope that we will be guided by the lessons we have learnt. And that is to make sure that we build an all inclusive party, where every part of this country will have a sense of belonging and sense of participation.
“To achieve all these, there must be sacrifices, understanding and compromises in the process of achieving that. And that is what I ask members to imbibe. But as you know, one thing that I will never compromise is the internal democracy process in a given political party. And I hope we all must have learnt our lessons.
“Let me pay tribute to 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 their 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. I can bet you the records we have achieved so far in governance no government has yet even done 50 percent of what we have achieved in government, not to talk of equaling our performance in government,” he emphasised.
Welcoming his guest, the Chairman of the NCC, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, urged Atiku to woo back some of the members that defected with him, assuring him that the party is working round the clock to go back to the Presidential Villa in 2019.
He told Atiku that the party has been entangled in series of litigations by those bent on destabilising it.
“So it has not been easy. Guerrilla warfare, artillery attacks, bombardments, but we weathered the storm. And the story will be a positive one by the end of the day.
“Your Excellence, you have opened the flood gates and we expect many more high profile returnees and new entrants into the PDP. So PDP must be prepared for this, and be ready to reconcile in such a way and manner that everybody will be treated and given a level playing field to pursue his or her personal aspiration. That is what PDP must stand for if it has to survive.
“You have returned in good time and you should continue to contribute in this reinvention, remodeling of our party so that come 2019, we can reclaim what is ours because we still remain the only true democratic party in the true sense of the word.
“We will continue to consult you. You will also help us reinvent the vehicle that will take us to Aso Rock in 2019, we are not just targeting Aso Rock, we are targeting the federal legislature, the states both the executives and legislature. We are targeting the local governments.
“We want to sweep elections all across the party. As a united party we have the capacity and we have the ability to do so,” he said.
Atiku’s visit once again re-ignited the hustle that had characterised the PDP national secretariat as several music groups, high profile politicians and other stake holders filled the secretariat to welcome the august guest.
Political analysts posit that his return, four days before the national convention slated to hold on Saturday, is one of the strategies employed by the politician to launch his arsenals ahead of the presidential election.
But the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, has said that the party will be stronger without Atiku, urging members not to exercise any fear following Atiku’s defection to the PDP.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he received the leadership of the forum of former Councilors and Chairmen at the party national secretariat, Oyegun said the ‘APC is getting stronger day by day’ noting that speculations in the media that more people will leave APC will be to the contrary.
Oyegun further said, “I want to say; let nobody entertain fear over the defection of the former Vice President that it is going to lead to any deluge. If anybody wants to defect, the day he will defect will be the day you will bring out your heavy guns, not later, as the media are speculating that some will still go with him. It is not like that. You stand and when they look at your right and left they will say that 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 will be the case. APC is growing in strength on daily basis.”
Commenting on why his party lost the recent Anambra governorship election, Oyegun said: “Anambra is the most difficult of all the cases, because we have a local party whose origin is traced to a local chieftain who is popular and held in high esteem in the South East. We also have a sitting governor and we have a candidate who comes from the same local government with the sitting governor.
“The results are not as dismal. What is important is that from seven per cent, we got close to 30 per cent and we are not done yet. Anambra is one of our most difficult states in the South East. APC is growing in strength and anybody who is somebody politically at all, is with the APC today.”
On the forthcoming PDP national convention, Oyegun said: “There is no party outside the APC that is truly settled, not even the PDP; they are still fighting how to get a chairman. We read today that money has come to buy votes.
So, it is something you take pride in. All the screaming is just because the remnants of the PDP have suddenly found their voice. Their screaming is making Nigeria look as if the country has turned upside down. The country is making steady progress and the APC is growing on a daily basis,” he added.
Myke Uzendu, Tom Okpe, Abuja and Peter Fowoyo, Lagos