In Readiness for Return, Atiku Meets with PDP Bigwigs in N’East

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• Pressure mounts on two APC governors to defect

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Following his announcement Friday that he was leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC), former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar arrived Yola, Adamawa State, at the weekend where he was engaged in a series of meetings with officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels who kept trooping to his house to woo him back to the party that he had helped to form in 1998.

Atiku was reported to have met with Adamawa PDP executives as well as the state chairmen from the six states that constitute the North-east, including the National Vice-Chairman, North-east of the party.
The former vice-president is expected to declare his membership of the PDP on or before December 6 ahead of the party’s national convention slated for December 9 where new national executives of the party will be elected.

He is also expected to throw his hat into the ring to secure the presidential ticket of the party for the 2019 elections, making it his fifth attempt to rule the country.
Commenting on the meeting between Atiku and the state executives of PDP, the Adamawa State secretary of the party, Alhaji Abdulllahi Prambe, said the meeting was fruitful.

“Our meeting with him has been fruitful and from his body language he will soon return to PDP,” Prambe said.
Prambe said it would be a big boost to the party at the state and national levels when Atiku finally returns.
“With Atiku, the party will carry more weight and more people will also troop in,” Prambe was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as saying.

When contacted about the meetings, Atiku’s spokesman, Mr Paul Ibe, declined to comment.
THISDAY also learnt that just as the former vice-president was meeting with PDP executives, pressure was being mounted on at least two APC governors to defect with him to the PDP.
A source close to Atiku said his state governor, Jibrilla Bindow, was one of the governors who have been courted by the Adamawa PDP to return to the party, given his closeness to the former vice-president.

Another governor, said the source, is a governor of one of the Northern states, whose name he refused to divulge.
At the weekend, the former vice-president kept up his blistering attack against the ruling party, saying the policies of the APC-led government were dividing the country along ethnic and religious lines and posing a serious threat to the unity of Nigeria.
He also lamented that the failure of APC to improve the lives of Nigerians had dashed the hopes of the founding fathers of the ruling party.

The Waziri Adamawa made the observation in his resignation letter to the party’s ward chairman in his Jada 1 Ward, Jada Local Government, Adamawa State, which was submitted last Friday to the APC.
In the resignation letter acknowledged by Usman Muazu and made available to the media, Atiku decried what he described as the unbearable hardship that the people are facing.

“Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar beckons on others in the APC who share his concerns to join forces with him in his strive to defeat impunity and restore vision and purpose in governance,” said the letter.
While defending his decision to quit the ruling party, Atiku said there has to be a country before one can aspire to lead it.

He had added in the letter: “I am resigning from a party we formed and worked so hard, with fellow compatriots across the country, to place in government.
“I had hope that the APC government will make improvements to the lives of our people and the continued existence and development of Nigeria as one indivisible nation. This hope has now been dashed.

“I am unable to reconcile myself with the dismal performance of the party in government, especially in relation to the continued polarisation of our people along ethnic and religious lines, which is threatening our unity more than any other time in the recent past and the unbearable hardship that our people are currently undergoing.

“As I said in 2006, it is the struggle for democracy, constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice. Let me emphasise again that this is not about me. We have to have a country before people can aspire to lead it.
“While wishing you well, let me express the hope that in the near future, a substantial number of you will join forces with us to once again defeat impunity and restore vision and purpose to the politics of our great country.”