by Segun Odeleye
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar was in Edo state yesterday where he held discussions with his political associates from the South-South zone. Atiku has been on a consultation tour that has so far taken him to Enugu, Kaduna and Abuja.
Part of his discussions with his associates is asking them what they would like his next political move to be as regards party affiliation.
In Benin, after a poll was taken at the Protea Hotel venue of the meeting, 48 per cent of his associates voted for him to move to the Peoples Democratic Movement while 47 per cent wanted the All Progressives Congress. Only 5 per cent chose the option of him remaining within the PDP.
It would be recalled that the leadership and stalwarts of the APC had following a courtesy visit to Atiku on December 18 last year invited him to come and join the opposition party, to which he had assured them that he would consult widely with his associates before taking a decision on the matter.
In his remarks at the occassion, Atiku said that the PDP, which he co-founded was now a shadow of its past and had little regards for promoting internal democracy.
“I do not have any problem remaining in the PDP but it appears that the PDP has a problem with me remaining in the party. I am not invited to BoT, NEC and caucus meetings that I am statutorily qualified to attend,” Atiku told his associates.
Noting that the decision to defect was one of the most difficult political decisions he had to make, the Turaki Adamawa said it was imperative that he consults with his associates, who have over time made good the support base he had.
“The most important thing is the future of Nigeria and its people and not about (me),” he said.
Meanwhile the former VP also met separately with the Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole and the APC vice chairman, Tom Ikimi.
Oshiomhole said the former vice-president had enormous capacity to interact and engage without bitterness, adding that he learnt a lot from him as a labour leader.
According to him, that Atiku is consulting, shows he is keeping his words, pointing out that in every liberal democracy, there are two parties because there are two broad ideas- left and right. The governor said in Nigeria, the forces were not different and were made up of those who want the status quo to remain and those who want change.
He added that unless there was a fair balance within the two forces, the expected change would not come.
Oshiomhole, however, warned that in politicking, Nigerians should recognise that it was all about the country and prayed God to guide the former vice-president to take a decision would be in the best interest of the country.