Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has requested that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) provide him the right of first refusal in its presidential primary, claiming that he is the “best contender to win the Party’s election.”
On Thursday, while addressing members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), Atiku stated that he should be considered since he already had 11 million votes.
“I am the superior candidate,” Atiku said. Mr. Chairman, under normal conditions, he is a man who already possesses 11 million votes. And I believe that as a party, you should provide me first refusal, but we live in a democracy.
“All I can suggest is that you continue in the same manner in which you began, by being extremely fair and credible and allowing each competitor to address the electorate.”
He stated that Nigerians should anticipate a good leadership from the PDP, based on the manner the NWC is managing the party’s business, adding that “although we all recognise the APC’s failure, we should not take Nigerians for granted.” We should make a point of informing them that the APC has failed, whereas the PDP has not, according to our comparative research. When you compare PDP’s accomplishments against APC’s failure, you realise that you have no other option except PDP.”
Atiku committed to devolve further powers and resources to the states “because I believe that is the best way to ensure that Nigeria develops to its full potential by devolving autonomy and resources to the various components.”
He pledged to unite the country, address security concerns, and revitalise the economy, adding that during a visit to Niger state, “the governor informed me that we have around twelve local governments that are controlled by bandits.” We are unsure how such local governments should organise elections. And I went to the President and said, “Mr. President, we need more cops,” to which he replied, “How am I going to give you more policemen if the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission are arguing over who will recruit policemen?”
“I am incapable of being such a President. We are unable to recruit police officers since the two agencies are pending litigation, and we have a president incapable of reining in his own department chiefs, let alone ministers.”
Dr Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s chairman, advised Nigerians to have patience with the party, stating that the party has its own internal methods for picking candidates, whether by agreement or election, and that “we do it transparently.”
“Those who care more for our party than we do should pause a moment; they should abstain from selecting candidates for the Party,” he stated. They do not have our mandate, and we will not relinquish it to anybody, whether it is a young person or an adult who picks a candidate for us on his own. Our internal procedures will continue to operate as usual, and we will continue to do so. Finally, we’ll elect a candidate picked by Party members. That candidate will be the one who would present himself to the rest of Nigeria in the run-up to the 2018 elections.
“The PDP has never had a contentious convention; we have always conducted ourselves transparently, from the 1999 convention in Jos that produced President Obasanjo to the most recent one in Port Harcourt that produced you (ATIKU).”