Atiku Abubakar decides to rejoin PDP

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice President of Nigeria

By Idris Akinbajo

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar may return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday, April 10. The return may however be delayed if Murtala Nyako, the governor of Adamawa, Mr. Abubakar’s home state, is unavailable for the event.

“The governor wants to formally welcome him (Mr. Abubakar) into the party. He doesn’t want the ceremony to be done while he is away,” a close aide of Mr. Abubakar told NEXT.

Mr. Nyako is currently out of the country on an official visit.

The plan for Mr. Abubakar to return to the PDP, the party he left in 2006 because of disagreements with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was hatched last week when he met with his political associates.

Following the meeting, Mr. Abubakar again met with other close allies, including his running mate in the 2007 elections, Ben Obi, yesterday and his return to the PDP was finally endorsed by the group.

Garba Shehu, the head of media and publicity of the Atiku campaign organisation, said Mr. Abubakar’s associates took the decision after close consultation with Mr Atiku’s supporters in their various states.

“Associates of former vice president Abubakar have endorsed the return of the group to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The associates also set up a seven-member committee to ensure a smooth movement of the group into the PDP both at the centre and the states. At the meeting which dragged on to the early hours, all the states that completed their consultations reported an overwhelming support for a return to the PDP,” Mr. Shehu said yesterday in a press release.

Mr. Abubakar’s associates, according to the statement, also resolved to, “continue its support for an associate of the former vice president and the Action Congress candidate in the last Anambra State gubernatorial elections, Chris Ngige, who has an impeding matter at the election tribunal.”

Among those at the meeting were Lawal Kaita, former governor of Katsina State; Peter Okocha, the Action Congress gubernatorial candidate for Delta State in the 2007 elections; Tonye Princewill, the party’s gubernatorial candidate for Rivers State; and former minister, Dapo Sarumi. Funke Adedoyin, and Titi Ajanaku were also there.

Mr. Abubakar left the PDP in 2006 after his public disagreements with Mr. Obasanjo. The former vice president had objected to and mobilised against Mr. Obasanjo’s ambition to continue in office for a third term. In retaliation, he was initially disqualified from contesting the 2007 elections based on allegations of corruption but the Supreme court eventually cleared him to contest. He lost the election to President Umaru Yar’Adua and challenged the results up to the Supreme Court where he lost the case in a majority judgment of six justices to one.

However, he still has corruption charges hanging over him, including an investigation by a United States senate committee which reported that, “From 2000 to 2008, Mr. Abubakar and Ms. Douglas (his wife) used a network of accounts at U.S. financial institutions to bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States,

through multiple wire transfers supplied by offshore corporations located in Germany, Nigeria, Panama, the British Virgin Islands, and Switzerland.”

Mr Atiku also faces hurdles in his home state, including the opposition of Jubril Aminu’s group against his return to the party. Mr. Nyako, the state governor, is however at loggerheads with Mr. Aminu’s group and is expected to support Mr Atiku.


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