Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Two pro-Atiku Abubakar support groups have cautioned the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BOT), Senator Walid Jubrin, to ensure that his views reflect the position of the party at all times.
The groups, The Desecration.Org and Project774ForAtiku2019, which has offices in the entire 774 local government areas of the country was reacting to the statement credited to the PDP BoT chairman that the party would soon commence a search for a consensus presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential elections.
In an interview with the Coordinator of the groups, Dr. Sani Adamu, he said the views expressed by the BoT chairman were personal to him as the party has not met on the issue.
According to him, “The official position of the party on nominations or candidates in 2023 will take long in coming. Therefore, the party is solid, united and ready to face future challenges.”
The coordinator of the groups said the BoT chairman either under-estimated the magnitude of his comment or was flippant with his mouth.
He said the BoT chairman should ordinarily be the soul or moral high ground of the PDP, explaining that by implications, “this means that at all times his public statement should reflect the view of the party, its followers and its leadership. His public comments on party affairs are assumed the official standing of the party.
“Therefore, when he makes comments without the due regards to the party leadership, he is actually on his own. He should bear the full consequences of his comments. The big lesson there is that there is no thin line between his personal comment and that of the party, especially when it is in the media.
“He should refrain from controversial comments or issues not reflecting the position of the party leadership. He needs to apologise and withdraw his comments rather than making more wild allegations on threat to his life.”
When asked the implications for PDP if Atiku is not nominated as a consensus candidate of PDP for the 2023 presidential elections, the coordinator of the groups said: “The important question is not the consequences of not nominating Atiku, but the right move for the party at this time. As a party faithful, Atiku’s interest is the best for the party. If we all agreed that Atiku/Obi actually won the 2019 presidential elections, then we have no reason to change the winning team.
“The Atiku/Obi ticket is the only asset the party has. The resources deployed to the 2019 project are intact; this makes the 2023 presidential elections cheaper to undertake. However, the important thing is for the party to come together and put its house in order for a strong and united opposition party. Party members should be involved in the decision–making processes, and party elders should refrain from making unguarded statements on issues requiring consultations and other sensitivities.”
When asked if it is not unusual discussing presidential elections now, the group coordinator of the Atiku support groups said it is not as the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is an unusual time because “you can notice that the APC government in power are already planning and working on who to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari while the PDP BoT Chairman, Walid Jubril, also made statement on how the PDP will nominate its presidential candidate, of course without recourse to the BoT of the party.
“Therefore, the times are unusual and require an unusual reactions and counter-reactions. I also advise that it is really too early to begin party politics. Nevertheless, we are ready for any eventualities in Nigerian politics.”
On the likelihood of Atiku defecting to another party as he has done in the past, Adamu said: “I wish to remind you that Atiku is a founding member of the PDP. He, with other Nigerians, nurtured the party to full strength. He has always been a great pillar of the PDP. Atiku has returned home to his party-the PDP. In fact, I found it difficult to imagine the Waziri in any party other than the PDP. I therefore wish to inform you that such permutation or scenario has not arisen.”
The leader of the pro-Atiku group, who lamented the roles played by the judiciary during the election tribunal, said: “The judiciary must do all within its constitutional power to rid itself of undue interference.”