After weeks of speculation, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday announced his resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Mr. Abubakar said he is now a member of the opposition coalition, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and that he will hand in his resignation letter to the PDP on Monday.
Coming amid the turbulence that has since engulfed the ruling PDP for months, the former vice president said he left the party because it has “lost touch with Nigerians”, and has failed to resolve its many crises, mainly instigated by its leadership.
“We have, therefore, concluded that that party cannot be redeemed. In short the PDP has abandoned Nigerians, the very people who gave it life and many electoral victories,” the former vice president said in a statement Sunday.
Mr. Abubakar is leaving the PDP the second time, having quit the party in 2006 at the peak of his standoff with then President Olusegun Obasanjo ahead of the 2007 elections.
He later joined the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, a party that would later, in alliance with other opposition parties, transform to the APC.
Mr. Abubakar rejoined the PDP in 2009 after Mr. Obasanjo left office. He said he did so as a new leadership of the party and the country had promised a new direction, inclusiveness, internal democracy, an 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 crises,” he said in his statement on Sunday.
Mr. Abubakar’s decision to quit the party the second time would hardly be surprising having been one of the leaders of PDP who staged a walkout from the party’s national convention in September 2013.
That protest, backed by seven governors-five, whom have already defected to the APC- was the first public demonstration of the bitter divisions within the PDP. It culminated in the formation of a splinter group called the new PDP, which later fused formally with the APC.
The former vice president said months after, the party, as well, has failed to address the issues that led to the walkout.
“Many founding members of the PDP, I included, continue to be marginalized 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,” he said.
“However, I am not invited to the meetings of those organs nor consulted on their decisions, apparently 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.”
Mr. Abubakar remained largely passive with the activities of the PDP after the walkout, and recently announced he was consulting on his political future.
The former vice president was later linked with a new party, the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM. He denied being a member of the party.
But the PDM said on Sunday it was briefed by Mr. Abubakar about his decision to join the APC, and thanked him for the consultation.
Mr. Abubakar said his decision to join the APC was the “right decision”, and may not be popular among his supporters. He said he considered Nigeria first.
“As in 2006 it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision. Let me emphasize that this is not about me. We have to have a country before people can aspire to lead it, but as it is today we may be losing this country,” he said.
He said the APC is a party of change committed to the improvement of the lives of our people and to the continued existence and development of Nigeria as one indivisible country.
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