Ex-VP Atiku Plans Return To PDP, Guns For BOT Chair
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar is planning to return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party that expelled him last year in the face of his political face-off with the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo. P.M. News can authoritatively reveal that Atiku's return to the PDP, of which he was a co-founder in 1998, is almost complete and will be consummated in the next few weeks.
Sources told P.M. News that Atiku has been in consultations with President Umar Yar'Adua on this planned return and one of the conditions to facilitate the move has been fulfilled by Yar'Adua with the sending of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes, on study leave to the Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, in Kuru, Jos. It is believed that the course may be a way by Aso Rock to ease Ribadu out of the EFCC job.
P.M. News sources said Atiku has personally applauded the action by the president and declared a truce.
"Atiku cannot forgive Ribadu over his role in his political battle with his former boss, with the EFCC offering itself to be used to humiliate him and scuttle his presidential ambition under the banner of the PDP". In the run up to the 2007 poll, the EFCC had come out with an indictment of Atiku over mismanagement of the finances of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund, then under Atiku's supervision. Atiku's spirited fight that the indictment was a witchhunt did not stop Obasanjo from ensuring that Atiku was expelled from the PDP and excluded from running for the presidency on the PDP platform.
Sidelined, Atiku ran the race on the platform of the new party, called the Action Congress. In the April election, criticised to be the worst in Nigeria's history, falling short of international and Nigerian standards, the PDP claimed massive victory, pushing Atiku to a distant third place in the presidential election. Atiku's Action Congress was also only allowed to retain the state of Lagos and rigged out in many states.
Atiku went to the tribunal to challenge the victory of Yar'Adua.
The Election Petition Tribunal has commenced hearing on Atiku's petition and the former vice president has submitted many bags of evidence to the tribunal to back his claim that the election was rigged in favour of President Yar'Adua.
According to our sources, following the reconciliation between Atiku and Yar'Adua, the former VP's petition at the election tribunal may be withdrawn any time from now.
P.M. News sources said returneeAtiku may vie for the position of chairman Board of Trustees of the PDP, a position now being occupied by former president and Atiku's estranged boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.
"Atiku wants to give OBJ the Zuma treatment at the convention of the party", said a source close to the deal, referring to the recent convention of the ruling African National Congress in South Africa, where a disgraced former vice-president, Jacob Zuma, defeated the sitting president Thabo Mbeki in the race for the leadership of the party.
It was not clear this morning, what will be the fate of the Action Congress, when Atiku finally makes the cross-over. But a political source said Atiku's move may eventually lead to the formation of two broad based political parties in Nigeria, with the PDP itself being dissolved or metamorphosing into a new political group and the rump of OBJ faithfuls being left in the cold.
This would have been the greatest news of 2008. For Atiku to give OBJ a bloody nose would have been more than enough to compensate the man for all his travails in 2007. But unfortunately, Atiku cannot be Chairman of BOT since it has been zoned to SW. OBJ will definitely lose his Chairmanship of the BOT, not to Atiku, but to another politician in the SW since Ogun State cannot hold both speaker and BOT Chairman.
Atiku is better advised to stay in his AC and develop it to a winning party. Going back to PDP, apart from the opportunity to rubbish OBJ, will not help him at all.
Atiku cannot abandon the PDP. Atiku and PDP are one and inseparable. Telling Atiku
not to re-join the PDP is like telling Chief Tony Anenih to abandon the PDP. The real
outsider is OBJ. Atiku and Chief Tony Anenih among others were the building
pillars in late Gen. Musa Yar Aduah's Peoples Front (PF). This group consisted mainly
of former NPN stalwarts. The group later transformed into Peoples Democratic
Movement (PDM). Afterwards, the group transformed into the PDP.
Atiku is actually a political elder brother to President Yar Adua. Bottom line,
OBJ is the only outsider. He is the only one who is not a member of the Kaduna Mafia,
the real inner caucus of the PDP. According to Atiku, at an open air political reception
for Atiku as Vice President, Anenih a non-northerner headed the Mafia at a time.
The boys are regrouping. OBJ was brought in by Babangida to assuage the ill-feelings
of the yorubas after the Abiola fiasco. He has played that part.
Politically, it is a new day. Winning elections and forming a government aside,
seeking influential human societal pillars, erecting political structures and building
a mammoth political machine is a different pot of fish. This is where the Atikus
In sane climes, one of these men would be too ashamed to show his face in public; or, he'll be in jail for a very very long time. The other wouldn't make it near any place where the business of govt. is discussed in serious terms, let alone the nation's first address. But in the dysfunctional ruins of a country, anything is possible.
With or without the former Vice-President, Abubakar Atiku, it is in the interest of the PDP and more so the nation for the nightmare called Obasanjo to be permanently removed from our socio-economic spaces.
Atiku should continue to play critical roles within the polity, in or outside of the PDP. As the dark forces around the ex-dictator, Obasanjo, desperately and futilely try to stage a come-back aided by complacent and compromised segments of the national media led by Ibru's The Guardian and its shrill voices, Atiku will be called upon to once more rally those democratic forces that united to defeat the obnoxious Third Term plot of the ex-tyrant and his foot-soldiers in the likes of el-Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu.
Nigerians congratulate Yar'Adua for the good work his administration has done so far with its due process and rule of law mantra. The stark contrast between the decent and meticulous Yar'Adua approach and the lawless and reckless tyranny of Ali Baba, aka Obasanjo is there for all to see. Yar'Adua should know that a majority of Nigerians will continue to support him as long as he pursues the deliberate and systematic dismantling of the callous and anti-people policies of the former dictator.
The promise by the incumbent president to enhance Nigerian democracy by helping restore the citizen's faith in it will fall on deaf ears as long as the malignant tumor called Obasanjo is not permanently neutralized. The ex-imperial ruler represents everything that is wrong with the country, namely, sleaze, corruption, hypocrisy, anti-intellectualism, gross human rights abuse, illegality, lawlessness, impunity and crudity of manners.
The Alex Ekwueme reconciliation committee that Yar'Adua set-up has reportedly made courageous recommendations for cleaning up the PDP by making the party a viable instrument for political change and development. One of the key recommendations Ekwueme has made after due consultations is the restructuring of the party that would restore internal democracy that was banished by an over-bearing and clueless despot and his henchmen in the Ahmadu Ali and Bode George hue. The Ekwueme proposal can thus be seen as offering Yar'Adua and his party the philosophical basis to do what is right by getting rid of a present and continuing danger to our common cherished values, that is the Obasanjo menace in its multi-faceted ramifications.
As Nigerians await the forthcoming PDP national convention, Yar'Adua and his éminence grise should keep the torch of hope burning in the realization that the people will be with them as long as they show through patriotic deeds, like the case of the commendable sacking of the Obasanjo errand boy called Ribadu, that they have their best interest at heart.