…as Ayu vows to ensure transparency during primaries
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should give him the right of first refusal in its forthcoming presidential primaries.
He said this is imperative because he remained the “best aspirant to win the election for the Party.”
Atiku made this request on Thursday while addressing members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP.
The presidential aspirant said the PDP should give him consideration because he had already garnered and had in reserve 11 million votes.
According to him, “I am the best candidate. Under normal circumstances, Mr. Chairman, this is a guy who already has 11 million votes in his kitty. And I think, as a party, you should give me the right of first refusal but we are in a democracy.
“All I can urge you is to make sure that the way you have started, you also conclude by being very fair, very credible, giving every contestant the opportunity to face the electorate.”
The former VP assured Nigerians of an excellent leadership from the PDP, considering the way the NWC had been handling the party’s affairs.
“We all know that the APC has failed but we should not take Nigerians for granted. We should go all out to let them know APC has failed and PDP has not failed on our comparative analysis. If you compare the achievements of PDP and the failure of APC, you know that you have no other choice than PDP, ” he said.
Atiku pledged that if elected President in 2023, his administration would devolve more powers and resources to the states “because I believe that is the best way to get Nigeria developed to its fullest capacity by giving autonomy and resources to the various components.”
He also promised to strengthen Nigeria’s unity, tackle insecurity and improve the economy.
He added, “The governor told me, we have about twelve local governments, which are under the control of bandits. We don’t know how to conduct elections in those local governments. And I went to the President, I said, Mr. President, we need more policemen and the President said how can I give you more policemen when the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission are in court on who will recruit policemen.
“I cannot be that kind of President. We cannot recruit policemen because the two agencies are in court and we have a president who cannot bring under control his own heads of departments, not even ministers.”
Responding, PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience, assuring that it has its own internal mechanisms of selecting a candidate whether by consensus or by election.
Ayu assured Nigerians of transparency in the conduct of the forthcoming primaries.
He said, “We do it transparently. Those who love our party more than us should please tarry a little; they should not select candidates for the party. They don’t have our mandate and we will not concede that mandate to anybody, young or an elder who chooses by himself, to choose a candidate for us.
“Our internal processes will go ahead and we are going ahead with it. At the end of the day, we’ll come up with a candidate chosen by the members of the party themselves. It is that candidate that we will present to the rest of Nigeria for the forthcoming elections.
“PDP has never had a controversial convention; we always have a transparent convention, from the one that produced President Obasanjo in Jos in 1999, to the last one that produced you (ATIKU) in Port Harcourt.”