15th August, 2013
Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said while he remains a loyal PDP member, he doesn’t have the right or power to stop others from associating or seeking registration for new parties.
Following press enquiries on the reported registration of the Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) as a political party, the former Vice President said he would always welcome the expansion of the political space to accommodate all shades of opinions or political hue, according to Malam Garba Shehu, Atiku’s media aide.
While acknowledging that many of his political associates are involved in registering the PDM, Atiku Abubakar explained that he had no powers to stop adults with common interests from coming together to form a party.
He also noted that many of his political associates are equally members of political parties other than the PDP.
According to him, freedom of association as enshrined in the constitution is the beauty of democracy and that he wouldn’t dissuade any of his followers from seeking a platform to promote their programmes.
Political analysts recalled the active role of the Peoples Democratic Movement in the country’s democratic transition from the Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami administrations.
The PDM platform, which was founded by late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, provided the impetus for his impressive performance across the country during the September 1992 presidential primaries, which were later cancelled by the military regime.
The late Gen. Yar’Adua came close to becoming President, thanks to the formidable PDM structure. In 1999, the PDM was also in the forefront in the emergence of former President Obasanjo as PDP presidential candidate.
Political observers also noted that the choice of Atiku Abubakar as running mate to Obasanjo in 1999 was a recognition of the active role of the PDM platform in his victory.