Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has defended his recent umbrage of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership, which he claimed was the problem.
National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, had at the weekend accused Atiku of dragging in the mud the party that brought him to political limelight.
But Atiku in a statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja yesterday challenged the PDP to take responsibility for the state of the nation instead of looking for scapegoats. The former vice president noted that it was inappropriate for the leadership of his former party to describe him as an “ingrate.” He cautioned that as a former vice president and someone who had worked hard in the formation of the party, he deserved respect and decent language from the PDP leaders.
“The personal insults in the PDP statement succeeded in doing just one thing, which is to depict its managers as childish, petulant, and above all incompetent. It confirms the notion on the part of many that they don’t have what it takes to live up to their ‘sacred’ mandate.
“They have lost their way, and their refusal to recognise the error of their ways has prompted the shepherds to – reluctantly – move on, for the nation’s sake to build a better future for the country’s teeming population”, he said.
Atiku recalled that the new guard in the PDP kept a low profile when he (Atiku) along with other champions of democracy such as the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, the late MKO Abiola, the late Kudirat Abiola, the late Sunday Afolabi and other members of NADECO including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu fought in the frontline to sack the military from power.
“Since almost all of us – the founding members of the PDP – have been hounded out of the party because we allegedly have one aspiration or the other. People who supported military rule or did not even know what was going on are now the masters of PDP, and present themselves as the custodians of the nation’s future. But I challenge anyone of them to show their contributions except looting the Nigerian treasury.
“If I and other patriots working in tandem with the National Assembly did not work together to retain term limits in the constitution, none of those holding power today would have been there from local, state or federal governments. Those who wrap themselves in the PDP banner should at least recognise and respect those of us who made today’s debates possible,” Atiku said.
Restating why he dumped the ruling party for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), the former vice-president said that after he had returned to the PDP, every effort to help the party renew itself on the basis of its constitution and in line with the principles of internal democracy, had been deliberately frustrated and distorted, either because of political expedience or because they would have undermined the current leadership’s efforts to transform the party into a personal fief.
“It seems that the old guards were hounded out of the party because they always fought to remind the party of its democratic ideals, principles and objectives. I am ready to debate the PDP on issues such as jobs, security, infrastructure, health care and the economy, and the unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria. But I am not sure the PDP is ready to do this in the calm and objective manner we