Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been hijacked by anti-democratic forces even as he claimed that those who fought for the entrenchment of democracy have been hounded out of the party.
Atiku recently defected from the ruling PDP to All Progressive Congress, APC.
In a statement by his media office in Abuja on Monday, the former vice president recalled that “the new guard in the PDP kept a low profile when he (Atiku) along with other champions of democracy such as the late Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua, the late MKO Abiola, the late Kudirat Abiola, the late Sunday Afolabi and other members of NADECO, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu fought in the frontline to remove the military from power.
“Since almost all of us — the founding members of the PDP — have been hounded out of the party because we allegedly have one aspiration or the other, people who supported military rule or did not even know what was going on are now the masters of PDP, and present themselves as the custodians of the nation’s future”, the statement said.
Atiku said: “If I and other patriots working in tandem with the National Assembly did not work together to retain term limits in the constitution, none of those holding power today would have been there from local, state or federal governments. Those who wrap themselves in the PDP banner should at least recognise and respect those of us who made today’s debates possible”.
The presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress in the 2007 presidential elections said the new masters of the PDP were detached from reality and had chosen to ignore wise counsel.
Atiku said that after he had returned to the PDP, every effort to help the party reinvent itself on the basis of its constitution and in line with the principles of internal democracy, was deliberately frustrated and distorted, either because of political expedience or because they would have undermined the current leadership’s efforts to transform the party into a personal fiefdom.
The former vice-president observed that, with hindsight, “it seems that the old guard were hounded out of the party because they always fought to remind the party of its democratic ideals, principles and objectives,” adding that “I am ready to debate with the PDP on issues such as jobs, security, infrastructure, healthcare and the economy, and the unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians.
“But I am not sure the PDP is ready to do this in the calm and objective manner we — all Nigerians — deserve”.s