By Favour Goodness
The former Vice President and 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has told the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party that it could decide what rules govern the party but Nigerians have the final say on who becomes the president.
Atiku made this assertion in his opening remarks at the commencement of the 94th regular meeting of the PDP highest decision-making body in Abuja, saying that where a person comes from has never been a problem for the Nigerian electorate.
He observed that the PDP should be focused on having power back in 2023, pleading with the party leaders to revert to its well-known ways of resolving internal challenges.
“The People’s Democratic Party has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the right to determine who governs them.
“Where the president comes from, has never been the problem of Nigeria. There is no such thing as a president from Southern Nigeria or a president from Northern Nigeria. There is only one president from Nigeria, for Nigeria, by Nigerians.
“Talking about inclusion, I would like to see a new national working committee of our party, our great party that has sizable numbers of our youths and woman. “The decision of NEC today will either see PDP into the villa in 2023 or not. Since the inception, this party has faced serious challenges and have risen above sentiments to solve those challenges and moved forward.” He said.
The former PDP presidential candidate recalled how he declined to run against former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the 2003 election despite pressure from state governors.
“Now let me come to historical events, which I said I was going to cite. Those of us who served in the constitutional conference, which drafted the current constitution of Nigeria should remember that after we finished the draft of that constitution, we all met as members of the constitutional conference and resolved to correct the injustice that was done to a particular part of this country.
“And we said in whichever party you found yourself, your presidential candidate must come from the southwest because Abiola had won the election, not only did he win, he was killed.
“So, we all agreed as members, and we went out of the constitutional conference, and we formed our parties. Those of us formed PDP others formed ANPP, those who formed AD formed AD. At the end of the day, there were alliances in two parties. PDP brought General Obasanjo, ANPP brought Olu Falae. This is to show you that Nigerians have a sense of fairness.
“All the PDP governors and some members of the party met me at the villa and said, they were not going to support President Obasanjo for a second term, that I should run. I now referred them to the resolution of NEC, where NEC, decided that power should remain in the southwest for eight years.
“How do you want me to go against the resolution of NEC and I turned it down, and we moved on.
“So, this country has a sense of fairness. This country has a sense of justice, this country has a sense of fairness. “Therefore, this thing that is in-built in our party. We should be able to use it, to embed it, to make sure today’s deliberations are in the best interest of our party in the best interest of Nigeria, which will ultimately give us the victory that we asked for, to go back to the villa.” he recalled.