Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says the state of origin of Nigeria’s president has never been a problem or solution to Nigeria’s challenges.
“Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria and I can cite examples. Neither will it be the solution.
“There is no such thing like he is a president from southern Nigeria or a president from northern Nigeria. There is only one president; a president from Nigeria, for Nigeria and by Nigerians.’’
Abubakar made the assertion in Abuja on Thursday while addressing the 94th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP.
He called for a spirit of fairness and justice in making zoning decisions at the party’s forthcoming national convention and the 2023 general elections.
He said that decisions taken at the Abuja meeting would determine whether or not the PDP would return to power in 2023.
“The decision of NEC today will either see the PDP into the Villa in 2023 or not.
“The PDP has the right to determine its rules and how the party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the right to determine who governs them,’’ he noted.
He added that he looked forward to a sizeable number of PDP youths and women at the next National Working Committee (NWC) meeting of the party.
“Talking about inclusions, I will like to see a new NWC of our great party that has sizable numbers of our youth and women.
Abubakar said that since its inception, PDP had faced serious challenges and had risen above sentiments to solve those challenges and moved forward.
He recalled that those who served at the constitutional conference, which drafted the current Constitution of Nigeria, met after finishing their work and resolved to correct the injustice that was done to a particular part of the country.
He said that because the election won by late Moshood Abiola was annulled, it was agreed that all members of the constitution drafting conference should ensure the presidential candidate of their party came from the Southwest.
He said that was because not only was the election annulled, Abiola was also killed.
“So, we all agreed as members, and we went out of the constitutional conference and we formed our parties.
“At the end of the day, two parties emerged. The PDP picked Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and the Alliance for Democracy picked Chief Olu Falae.
“All of these show you that Nigerians have a sense of fairness,’’ he stressed.
The former vice-president also recalled that in 2003, all the PDP governors met at the Villa and said they were not going to support Obasanjo for a second tenure.
He added that the governors requested him to contest, but he turned down the offer and referred them to the resolution of the PDP NEC that power should remain in the Southwest for eight years.
“So, this country has a sense of fairness. This country has a sense of justice.
“Therefore, this thing that is inbuilt in our party, we should be able to use it; to imbibe it to make sure today’s deliberations are in the best interest of our party; in the best interest of Nigeria, which will ultimately give us the victory that we ask for to go back to the Villa.
“Having said that, I hope we shall be guided accordingly by a sense of fairness, a sense of justice, and a sense of patriotism, which will eventually and ultimately give us the success that we desire,’’ Abubakar said.
The party’s acting National Chairman, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, described the meeting as a history-making day in determining the survivals of the PDP as Nigerians were eagerly waiting on the party to take them out of present challenges.
Akinwonmi called on NEC members to understand their differences, reflect on them and when not important, forget them.
“We should look at our party and Nigeria and bury all our personal differences because PDP is above any personal, or individual or collective consideration,’’ he said.
The Board of Trustees Chairman, Sen. Walid Jubrin, urged members to allow every decision to be in the interest of the party and of Nigeria.
He expressed the board’s support for PDP governors and organs of the party in moving the party and the nation forward.