Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has decried the appointment of President Goodluck Jonathan as leader of a reconciliation committee that will meet with aggrieved party members across the country and resolve all pending disputes within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying the President cannot be a judge in his own case.
Atiku was speaking on the backdrop of a statement credited to Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom at the end of the PDP’s National Caucus meeting in Abuja last week where he told journalists that Mr. Jonathan would lead a panel tasked with resolving the lingering crises in the party.
In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja Saturday night, Atiku said: “The President has no business setting up any committee on party matters when his interests are widely believed to be central to the ongoing acrimony within the party,” adding, “It is therefore imperative that we establish an independent committee comprised of credible and neutral members to look into the crises of the party dispassionately and offer a lasting solution because no one can impose their preferred solution on a Party as diverse as our own. All members must be treated fairly whether or not they belong to the President’s camp. Otherwise, we will force people to exercise other options available to them, which the Party may not like.”
He continued, “President Jonathan might harbour personal designs to continue in office beyond 2015 and it is incumbent upon him to permit the establishment of a nonpartisan committee that will have the autonomy and authority to devise the appropriate strategy to resolve the ongoing turmoil within the party without interference from the Presidency or from anyone.”
The Turakin Adamawa said any attempt to address the current crisis rocking the party without the inputs of the various factions and founding fathers of the party will be in vain noting that “The task of rebuilding the PDP is urgent and we cannot afford to stand akimbo while the democratic foundation of the ruling party is disintegrating. Any group or persons charged with the responsibility to rescue the PDP should be able to freely and objectively explore all options to resolve the crisis without the imposition of a single individual. If the President’s committee does not seek to include the voices of the founding fathers and other independent-minded members of the party, it will be unable to maintain the impartiality required to address the considerable task before them.”
He further wondered why a new reconciliation committee was created when the reports of earlier panels led by former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, had not been implemented.
According to him, “Members of these committees sacrificed their time and energy to help the party with constructive and implementable recommendations capable of moving the Party forward,” Atiku said. “It is curious to many of us why the party leadership lacks the moral courage to implement those recommendations. Can impunity and imposition ultimately replace the will of the people? In the words of George Washington, one of America’s founding fathers, “No man is good enough to govern another without his consent.”
The former vice-president called on other PDP elders, as a founding member of the party, to join hands to rescue the party out of what he called a ‘needless crisis’ adding, “it is time that we restore the sanctity of the PDP Constitution and remind ourselves and all of Nigeria as to what the PDP stands for – democracy and a better future for the Nigerian people.”
Warning on the consequences of a disorganized and divided party, Atiku maintained that “We have a duty to save the PDP from disintegration while preserving its democratic principals and its vision for a better Nigeria. A house divided cannot stand. These threats are real and we need a more credible committee to do the job than a committee that is subservient and driven by a narrow agenda.”
He therefore called on President Jonathan to channel his energies and time towards more pressing national issues and “remove himself from any direct affiliation with the resolution to the crisis.”