Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday announced his return to the Peoples Democratic Party.
He made the announcement in a live Facebook broadcast.
In the broadcast, the former vice-president said in the last two years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, three million Nigerians had lost their jobs.
According to him, Nigeria needs a non-sectional party to run the Federal Government and not one that panders to regional sentiments.
He said he decided to use the Facebook to announce his return to the PDP because he wanted to reach as many “of our young people as possible as I have an important announcement to make about the future of Nigeria.”
He described youths as the future of the nation.
Atiku said, “I have found in my travels across the country that the number one concern of young people is whether they will be able to get a job; for without a job they have no means of sustaining themselves or starting a family.
“Without the security of a job, we cannot have security in our country. So without jobs, there is no future for you or for Nigeria.
“And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well.”
He lamented that the result had not been the change the people were promised, adding that in the last two years, three million Nigerians had lost their jobs.
‘APC has disappointed Nigerians’
The former vice-president said the APC-led Federal Government had disappointed Nigerians, particularly youths.
He added, “Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my home state of Adamawa and I also know how the government can create opportunities for jobs.
“In the last two years, almost three million Nigerians have lost their jobs and today we have a record 25 per cent of people within the age of 18 and 25 years unemployed. I can see how difficult it is for people to get jobs.
“The key to creating jobs is a strong economy and that is what we lack presently. Today, I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that made me leave it have been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the people, especially youths, down.”
“But rather than giving a long political speech on this matter, I thought it would be more helpful to invite you to ask me questions and share with you my answers.”
I initiated telephone revolution –Atiku
Atiku said when he was the vice-president in 1999, he was responsible for deregulating the telecommunications sector which he said enabled the country to increase the number of people who could access telephones from less than a million then to over 100 million presently.
He said, “This has resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that feed off the mobile phone revolution.
“Some of you may know that I was elected as the vice-president under the banner of the PDP, which is the political party I had helped to found some 10 years before.
“And some of you may also know that I left the PDP four years ago when I believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice upon which we had founded it.
“We need a party that speaks to national sentiments, not regional sisters with only one mother, which is Nigeria.”
Atiku also dismissed the statement of the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said he (Atiku) would never be President.
“Nobody knows the future other than God and to dictate what the future will be is not within man’s purview. Remember that the PDP said it would rule Nigeria for 60 years; but did they? But it is about Nigeria, not power.”
Reacting to the demand by Nigerians on social media for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police tagged, #endSARS, the former vice-president called on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to initiate reforms of the squad.
Atiku noted that there was the need for the police and other Nigerians to improve the way they relate with one another.
The former Vice-President said Nigerians were maltreated abroad because they were not well treated in their country.
He added, “We cannot complain about Nigerians being maltreated in Libya and then we maltreat Nigerians back home.’’
We’ll solve our problems without Atiku –APC
The APC on Sunday said it would solve its problems without the former vice president.
The ruling party stated that since the PDP had been able to “solve its problems” without Atiku, the APC would do so after his defection.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi said during a chat on the telephone with one of our correspondents on Sunday.
Abdullahi said, “What reason did he give for leaving the PDP in the first place? Have they (PDP) addressed their problems?
“If yes; so, they did it without him. If he has found PDP attractive now because they have solved their problems, it means we will also solve our problems without him; then he can come back to our party.”
Abdullahi also said the former vice-president had the opportunity to speak out while he was a member of the ruling party.
According to the party, his assertions about happenings within the APC would have carried more weight if he was still a member.
He said, “I believe that if the former vice-president had spoken out when he was in the party, perhaps, we would have made progress in that respect. To now begin to speak after he has left the party shows that there are some things that he should have done that he didn’t do.”
On Atiku’s assertion that he would defeat Buhari in the 2019 election, Abdullahi said, “I believe that the reasons Nigerians voted for President Buhari in 2015 are still pertinent. They voted President Buhari because they needed a leader who has integrity, strong on corruption and capable of defeating Boko Haram. If he stands for election in 2019, we believe Nigerians would still vote for him,”
‘Atiku’s move to PDP doesn’t affect my ambition’
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said he could still contest the party’s presidential ticket despite Atiku’s defection.
Makarfi stated this in an interview published in the current edition of The Interview magazine, noting that Atiku had earlier left the PDP and had come back.
When asked about his interest to run, Makarfi said, “By the time I leave as a caretaker committee chairman on December 9 or 10, there will still be 10 months to the party primaries. By any law or the party’s guidelines, I’m not excluded.”
Makarfi also said in the interview that Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose’s declaration of interest in the party’s presidential ticket, “is uncalled for and unhealthy.”
“We are expecting a harvest of defections from the APC. Wait a bit and you will see the influx of people into the PDP,” he added.