For the umpteenth time, former Information Commissioner in Edo state, Prince Kassim Afegbua has taken a swipe at former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar over the latter’s claim that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will go into extinction if it fails to get it right in 2023.
Afegbua, a vocal critic of the former Vice President, described the comment as self serving, even as he called on the leadership the party to zone the 2023 Presidential ticket to the South.
In a statement issued, Sunday, Afegbua said: “Talking about 2023, I read somewhere that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said PDP would go into extinction in 2023 if they didn’t get it right. How wrong?. The PDP has come to stay as a viable political party that will endure the test of time. The fact is, once Alhaji Atiku is beaten at the party’s primaries, he will surely go into extinction and run away to his usual destination; Dubai.
“There is no sincerity of purpose. What you see is a culture of desperation and huge sense of self entitlement as if the party was built or created for him. Only last week, the party talked about setting up a zoning committee to look into the issue, the following day, Alhaji Atiku ambushed the party by purchasing the nomination form. Who does that? Where is the honesty and sincerity of purpose? Why wouldn’t he wait for the zoning committee to be composed, meet and come up with a decision? He has also set 23rd of March for his official declaration at the Conference Centre without waiting for any position of the party.
“I have cautioned the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, that it will be sacrilegious and morally reprehensible to continue to indulge Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other Northern aspirants in the race on who emerges the Presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 election. I have repeatedly said that for the sake of justice, equity and fairness, the ticket should be ceded to the Southern part of the country.
“This is how to promote party cohesion, unity and oneness of purpose. It was in realization of that, that the Southern axis allowed their Northern brothers to take a shot at the Presidency alone and all alone in 2019. Now that it should be the turn of the South, you see the leadership of the party talking with its tongue in cheek.”
He continued: “Still talking about extinction, when Alhaji Atiku left PDP in 2007 to contest in another party, the PDP still won the Presidential election and became stronger in form and stature. Shortly after, he returned to the PDP again. In 2011, Alhaji Atiku also contested the primary in PDP and he was defeated by President Jonathan. He left the party and contested in another party, he still failed woefully.
“He later joined forces with the merger committee that gave birth to the All Progressives Congress, APC and contested the primaries in Lagos with the incumbent President in 2014. He was beaten flat at the Lagos convention of the APC. Yet, PDP remained strong.
“Aside from losing the presidency, PDP was still able to retain 16 governorship positions across the country. The party never went into extinction, instead it has continued to remain the last hope of the common man. Alhaji Atiku returned to PDP realizing that his journey in APC would not give him opportunity to contest the 2019 Presidential election.
“Flowing from this narration, aside from age, Alhaji Atiku has not been consistent with the PDP. He’s driven by his ambition always and not the growth of the party to deepen democracy. This was how President Buhari pleaded that he should be given opportunity in 2015 to rebuild Nigeria, now we have seen the albatross that has become our plight.
“In 2019, Alhaji Atiku bulldozed his way and emerged the party’s Presidential flagbearer. After the election, he couldn’t even wait for us to prosecute the project at the tribunal, he bolted away to Dubai. That was the last we saw him, except for now that he saw another Presidential contest coming, he suddenly emerged from the blues and wants the ticket to be ceded to him against the run of play.
“So, with or without Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP, as an organic party, has remained strong, viable and formidable. It is presently the only hope of the common man following APC’s underperformance in the last 7 years.
“Nigerians are looking forward to the PDP to get it right this time by fielding a candidate from the South. This position is an irrevocable one that cannot be compromised by any interplay of forces against the provisions of Article 7 of the PDP constitution. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should quit the stage at this time and allow justice to prevail. I am very sure he will run away to Dubai again once he loses out,” he added.