2nd February, 2014
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar on Sunday defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s ruling party since 1999, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to a statement signed by Abubakar in Abuja, his defection followed due consultations with his supporters and political stakeholders.
The statement quoted the former vice president as saying that the PDP cannot be redeemed and the APC is a party that is ready for change.
The statement quoted Atiku, “In 2006, as a result of my firm stand in defence of our constitution and our democracy, my supporters and I were pushed out of the PDP.
“A party that we worked tirelessly with other compatriots to build as a vehicle to restore democracy to our country. We later returned to that party in 2009 when a new leadership of the party and the country promised a new direction. A direction of inclusiveness, internal democracy, end to impunity, adherence to the rule of law and respect for the dignity of members and Nigerians.
“Sadly, however, those promises have not been kept. In addition, the PDP continues to be beset with many crises, mostly leadership-induced. It has since lost touch with Nigerians and efforts made by many well-meaning members and stakeholders to bring it back to the vision of the founders have been rebuffed.”
Atiku said he joined some other leaders of the PDP to stage a walk-out at the party’s last convention to demonstrate the seriousness of the matter.
The grievances that were tabled before the leadership of the party, were yet to be addressed, he said.
“As I speak, most of the issues that led to that walk-out are yet to be addressed. Many founding members of the PDP, I included, continue to be marginalised and excluded from the affairs of the party.
“For instance, as a former vice president, I am by virtue of the PDP constitution, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees and its National Executive Committee.
“However, I am not invited to the meetings of those organs nor consulted on their decisions. This was because I dared to exercise my right to contest in the party’s primary election for a chance to be its flag-bearer in the 2011 elections.
“We have, therefore, concluded that the PDP cannot be redeemed. It is against this background that we should understand the visit by the leaders of the APC and their invitation to me to join hands with them to save the country.
“Consequently, I have been consulting my supporters and associates, my family and friends for the past few weeks. My decision may not satisfy some of my friends and associates, but, I have to put the interest of our country first.
“Following this extensive consultative process I have, therefore, decided to cast my lot with the APC, a party of change committed to the improvement of the lives of our people.
“My resignation letter as a member of the PDP will be delivered to the party tomorrow.
“I encourage my political associates and friends to register and join the APC once the registration exercise commences, so that together we can change this country for the better.
“That is what I have decided to do. I will do all within my God-given powers to help the APC win elections all over Nigeria.
“I will also join hands with other true progressives to bring true change to our country and its long-suffering people,” the statement quoted the former vice president, as saying.