Monday, 21 November 2016

I Cannot be forced out of APC by anyone – Atiku Abubakar

I Cannot be forced out of APC by anyone - Atiku Abubakar
Former Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progres­sives’ Congress (APC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said no person or group of persons was strong enough to force him out of the party.

Atiku spoke amidst mount­ing concerns by his political associates and supporters on his political trajectory in the wake of caustic remarks on the for­mer Vice President by the Gov­ernor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.

The former Vice President said that he remained a very loyal member of the APC and was pre-occupied with helping President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party to succeed.
Atiku spoke through his spokesman Mazi Paul Ibe.

“Atiku Abubakar remains a very committed and loyal me­meber of APC. He is pre-oc­cupied with helping President Muhammadu Buhari and APC succeed at all levels and there­fore cannot be blackmailed or cajoled into dumping the par­ty,” affirmed Ibe.
Atiku’s spokesman said the former Vice President person­ally resolved not to further join issues with Governor el-Rufai. He, however, stressed that his boss was elated by last week­end’s investigative report by Saturday Punch quoting an of­ficial of the United States’ Department of State as deflating el-Rufai’s claim that Atiku’s alleged involvement in the Halliburton Scandal had earned him a ban from entering the US.
“Considering that Turaki will soon be 70, this clarifica­tion by the US State department couldn’t have come at a better time and is the best birthday gift,” reasoned Ibe.
He continued: ‘This black­mail is over a decade old. Re­member Atiku was Number 2 man the time some people be­gan this campaign of calumny. Thank God he has been vindi­cated and the controversy laid to rest.”, stressed Ibe.
Atiku’s spokesman said the former Vice President was a firm believer in the maxim: “to­morrow belongs to God”, and it was therefore wrong to imagine that he is desperate about polit­ical office.
“Atiku Abubakar’s support for President Muhammadu Bu­hari has exceeded my expecta­tions. In fact, there are sever­al things I had tried to tell him to do for the president and was pleasantly surprised that he had done more than expected,” de­clared Ibe.
Atiku, who recently trad­ed verbal fireworks with el-Ru­fai, served as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasan­jo from 1999 to 2007. Shortly after Obasanjo was re-elected president, he appointed el-Ru­fai as Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) minister at about the same time the relationship between Obasan­jo and Atiku hit the rocks. At some point Obasanjo accused his deputy of treachery.
Interestingly, el-Rufai, whom Atiku claimed to have helped into the administra­tion, led the onslaught against the former Vice President.
In the build-up to the 2007 presidential election, el-Ru­fai, who was a very powerful minister in Obasanjo’s cabinet, aligned with his boss to stop the Vice President from contesting the presidential election. Surrounded on all sides, Atiku promptly defected to the now defunct Action Congress of Ni­geria (ACN), and after a torturous legal process, became the party’s presidential candidate and the first sitting Vice Pres­ident of Nigeria to defect to an opposition party.
At the time, some had predicted that having hounded Atiku out of PDP, Obasanjo would annoint el-Rufai as suc­cessor. The former president, however, chose the then gover­nor of Katsina State (now late) Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua instead.

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