Against the backdrop of the zoning debate for the 2023 presidential ticket, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that Nigerians reserve the right to vote for whom they want just as the party has the right to determine how it should be administered.
Atiku who stated this during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP, also called on the party to be fair and just in determining how it zones the 2023 presidential ticket, noting that the decision of the party will decide whether the party returns to power or not.
He recalled that he rejected a request by governors and some members of PDP to contest against his boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.
He also revealed that the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Late Chief MKO Abiola, was killed. Although he declined to name who killed the wealthy businessman.
Meanwhile, a drama ensued as former minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, cast a shadow of doubt over the former vice president’s narrative as he, while responding to Atiku’s call to corroborate his story, said “more or less”.
Addressing the NEC, Atiku said, “The Peoples Democratic Party has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the right to determine who governs them.
“Where the president comes from, has never been the problem of Nigeria. There is no such thing as a president from southern Nigeria, or a president from northern Nigeria. There is only one president from Nigeria, for Nigeria, by Nigerians. Talking about inclusions, I would like to see a new national working committee of our party, our great party that has sizable numbers of our youth and woman.
“The decision of NEC today will either see PDP into the villa in 2023 or not. Since the inception, this party has faced serious challenges and have risen above sentiments to solve those challenges and moved forward.
“Now let me come to historical events, which I said I was going to cite. Those of us who served in the constitutional conference, which drafted the current constitution of Nigeria, sure, remember that after we finished the draft of that constitution, we all met as members of the constitutional conference and resolved to correct the injustice that was done to a particular part of this country.
“And we said in whichever party you found yourself, your presidential candidate must come from the South-West because Abiola had won election, not only did he win, he was killed. So we all agreed as members, and we went out of the constitutional conference, and we formed our parties, those of us formed PDP others formed ANPP, those who formed AD formed AD. At the end of the day, there were two alliances in two parties. PDP brought General Obasanjo, ANPP brought Olu Falae. This is to show you that Nigerians have a sense of fairness.”
But when he asked former minister, Professor Jerry Gana, to corroborate his story, the former minister responded by saying, “More or less”.
Atiku, however, continued, “All the PDP governors and some members of the party met me at the villa and said, they were not going to support President Obasanjo for a second term, that I shall run. I now referred them to the resolution of NEC, where NEC, decided that power should remain in the South-West for eight years.
“How do you want me to go against the resolution of NEC? And I turned it down, and we moved on. So this country has a sense of fairness. This country has a sense of justice, this country has a sense of fairness.
“Therefore, this thing that is in-built in our party, we should be able to use it, to embed it, to make sure today’s deliberation is in the best interest of our party, in the best interest of Nigeria, which will ultimately give us the victory that we asked for, to go back to the villa.”