Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar
• NDC alumni warn politicians against unguarded utterances
By John Shiklam and Senator Iroegbu
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar Monday described the political situation in the country as “grim,” saying Nigeria had never witnessed such a crisis as it was doing now since the civil war.
Atiku, who was responding to questions when he featured as a guest in the personality programme of the Kaduna-based Liberty Radio, said the situation in the country was no longer about the ambition of any individual but about Nigeria.
He said: “We have got to a stage where you have an ambition if the environment permits. The environment does not even permit that. So, you have to restore normalcy to the environment first before you begin to think about ambition.”
He added that he and former military Head of State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, had shared concerns about the political situation in the country.
He warned that with the current situation of things, “if you allow your ambition to override it, you will find that you don’t even exist. Buhari and I have never seen things as bad in these pre-civil war days. It’s really serious.”
Asked why he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the run-up to the 2007 general election, he said he never left the party but was forced out by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He said: “First of all, I did not leave the PDP; I was pushed out of the PDP by my former boss. Ever since I returned four years ago, PDP has not communicated to me and I have not communicated to the party. I have not attended any of their meetings and they have not invited me.
“I am supposed to be a member of Board of Trustees (BoT), I have never attended the meetings. I’m supposed to be a member of National Executive Committee (NEC), I have never attended one meeting. I am supposed to be a member of caucus by convention because when we were in office, we said the president should always nominate the vice-president, that was why Alex Ekwueme was nominated, but I am not in the caucus.
“Actually at every level of the party, I have never participated. I am just looking at them. If you don’t participate in a process, how do you contribute your experience, your expertise and so on in resolving problems for the party?”
He added that the visit by the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, to those who had defected from the PDP would not solve the problems within the party.
“I told him (Mu’azu) it wouldn’t make a difference. Before he took up the job, he came to me and told me he wanted the job, I told him leave it because you are not going to do anything about the situation,” Atiku said.
Also commenting on the proposed national conference, the former vice-president said there was nothing wrong in Nigerians talking to each other, adding that the Jonathan administration does not have the capacity to conduct elections and the national conference within the same year.
Meanwhile, alumni of National Defence College (NDC) have warned politicians to desist from making unguarded and inciting statements capable of threatening the nation’s security.
The Chairman, Programme Committee of the Alumni Association of National Association of National Defence College (AANDEC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Christian Obinna Marizu (rtd), gave the warning yesterday in Abuja, at a press briefing on the association’s forthcoming seminar on national security.
Speaking on behalf of the chairman of AANDEC, Rear Admiral Amos Adedeji (rtd), Marizu expressed concern about how politicians have been inciting youths to commit violence for selfish reasons.
He added that the seminar, which begins at the college today, was aimed at suggesting steps for the peaceful conduct of the 2015 general election.
According to him, “The theme has been selected following reflections on the need to tackle the extant problem of insecurity in our country from policy and strategic perspectives with a view to engaging the most active segment of the society, that is, the youths in the age bracket 16 to 40 years.
“Besides, a chronicle of most of the violent security challenges prevalent in our nation, Nigeria, today, shows that the youth have consistently been used as tools and negatively exploited by a system that is supposed to nurture them for growth and productivity.”