Atiku woos youths as he declares for PDP... Ekweremadu welcomes ex-VP/ Atiku Abubakar

After about two weeks of speculations about his next political move after dumping the the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has formally announced his return to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which he said has rectified what made him leave in the first place.

Announcing his return live on Facebook on Sunday, Atiku disclosed that his action came against the backdrop of his consultations with party leaders and stakeholders from across the country.

He read a statement in live broadcast to his Facebook friends, even as photographs later distributed by the Atiku Media Office showed the former vice president typing on his smartphone to respond to questions from his followers on Facebook.

In a swift reaction, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, lauded the return of  Atiku to the PDP, stating that it was a welcome development, not only for the party, but the nation’s democracy.

Stressing that Atiku's action amounts to a vote of no confidence in the leadership capacity of the APC, Ekweremadu declared that no amount of desperation can stop God’s will in 2019.

The former Vice President had told his 1.06m followers on Twitter to check him out on Facebook as he was “making an important announcement”.

When the time came for the announcement to be made, the politician said, “Hello, my name is Atiku Abubakar.

“I am speaking to you today on Facebook Live as I want to reach as many of our young people as possible as I have an important announcement to make about the future of Nigeria.

“As it is you, our youths, who represent the future of our nation.

“I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversations with young people their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job, for without a job they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family.

“And without the security of a job we cannot have security in our country.

“So without jobs there is no future for you or for Nigeria.

“And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well.

“Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my own State of Adamawa.

“And I also know how the Government can help create the right environment for businesses to create jobs. When I was Vice President in 1999 I was responsible for liberalising the telecoms sector which enabled us to increase the number of people who could access a phone from less than 1 million then to over 100 million today.

“This transformation resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that fed off the mobile phone revolution.

“Some of you may know that I was elected Vice President under the banner of the PDP, which is the political party I had helped to found some ten years before.

“And some of you may also know that I left the PDP four years ago when I believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice upon which we had founded it.

“I joined the APC as I had hoped it would be the new force that would help improve life for our people and I was excited about the party’s manifesto to create 3 million new jobs a year.

“The result has not been the change people had been promised or voted for, as in the last two years almost 3 million Nigerians have lost their jobs.

“And today with a record 25% of people aged 18-25 unemployed I can see how difficult it is for our youths to find a job.

“The key to creating jobs is a strong economy and that is what we are currently lacking.

“So today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.”

Meanwhile in a statement signed by his media aide, Ekweremadu said the move by Atiku represented a massive “Vote of No Confidence” in the leadership capacity of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, first, by the masses, and now by the cream of its hierarchy and founding members, just as he called on former PDP members still in the APC, to emulate Atiku and return so as to join hands in salvaging the country, come 2019.

“The dumping of the APC by Alhaji Atiku is a welcome development for the PDP, but more importantly, Nigeria’s democracy. Nigeria is in dire need of a rescue mission to rekindle hope in our democracy, restore her on the path of prosperity, and halt the worsening divisiveness that threatens our corporate existence.

“I, therefore, enjoin all former PDP faithful who left for various reasons as well as other progressive-minded Nigerians to emulate Alhaji Atiku, to reunite under the umbrella to salvage the nation because I see a new and better Nigeria coming in 2019.

“I see a country where corruption will be eradicated, a nation that will be a pride to Africa and admiration of the international community, and a nation where no man will be oppressed, intimidated, persecuted or sidelined on account of ethnicity, religion or political persuasion. No amount of desperation will stop the will of God for Nigeria in 2019”.

In the main, the ex-vice president's declaration for the opposition PDP was followed by some questions posed online by several fans.

The first salvo was on how he could relate with the problems faced by Nigerian youths when he is over 70 years old.

He responded thus: "I meet young people every day. I have children and grandchildren and most of my employees are youths. The key to knowing what young people want is to listen to them. I’m good at that. Sometimes when I am on the phone with my kids they ask me are you still there, because I just listen to them without interrupting. Young people are on social media and so I go there. They tell me that their number one challenge is jobs.

"Terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, and other forms of exuberance they may lead to criminality are a symptom of the disease of joblessness.

"Once you can get Nigeria working again and get Nigerians working again, youth restiveness will ease and gradually disappear,” he concluded.


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