By Samuel Ogundipe
Atiku Abubakar has formally joined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, more than a week after he dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The former vice-president made the announcement on Facebook within the last hour.
He said the complaints he had with the PDP, under which he was vice-president from 1999-2007, had been resolved, laying the groundwork for his return.
Mr. Abubakar is expected to contest the 2019 presidential election.
Below is a statement from Atiku’s media office announcing the development.
After consultations, Atiku joins PDP
Abuja, Nigeria, 03 November, 2017: Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has announced his return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The announcement on Sunday on Facebook Live followed consultations the former Vice President had with party leaders and stakeholders from across the country.
Please find below transcript of the announcement. Also attached are pictures from the announcement.
“Hello, my name is Atiku Abubakar.
I am speaking to you today on Facebook Live as I want to reach as many of our young people as possible as I have an important announcement to make about the future of Nigeria.
As it is you, our youths, who represent the future of our nation.
I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversationswith young people their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job for without a job they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family.
And without the security of a job we cannot have security in our country.
So without jobs there is no future for you or for Nigeria.
And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well.
Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirectjobs in my own State of Adamawa.
And I also know how the Government can help create the right environment for businesses to create jobs. When I was Vice President in 1999 I was responsible for liberalising the telecomms sector which enabled us to increase the number of people who could access a phone from less than 1 million then to over 100 million today.
This transformation resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that fed off the mobile phone revolution.
Some of you may know that I was elected Vice President under the banner of the PDP, which is the political party I had helped to found some ten years before.
And some of you may also know that I left the PDP four years ago when I believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice upon which we had founded it.
I joined the APC as I had hoped it would be the new force that would help improve life for our people and I was excited about the party’s manifesto to create 3 million new jobs a year.
The result has not been the change people had been promised or voted for, as in the last two years almost 3 million Nigerians have lost their jobs.
And today with a record 25% of people aged 18-25 unemployed I can see how difficult it is for our youths to find a job.
The key to creating jobs is a strong economy and that is what we are currently lacking.
So today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.
But rather than giving a long political speech on this matter I thought it would be more helpful to invite you to ask me questions and share with you my answers. You can post your questions on my Facebook page:facebook.com.atiku.org
I see we have a question from Jide
Sir, how can you know what young people want when you are not a youth?
I meet young people every day. I have children and grandchildren and most of my employees are youths.
The key to knowing what young people want is to listen to them. I’m good at that. Sometimes when I am on the phone with my kids they ask me are you still there, because I just listen to them without interrupting.
Young people are on social media and so I go there. They tell me that their number one challenge is jobs.
Terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, and other forms of exuberance they may lead to criminality are a symptom of the disease of joblessness.
Once you can get Nigeria working again and get Nigerians working again, youth restiveness will ease and gradually disappear.
This question is from Babangida
You have so many businesses and you employ thousands of Nigerians. Would you be able to focus on political leadership when you have such a large business empire?
Well Babangida, you see, leadership must be separated from management. I lead my businesses. I do not manage them. I have qualified managers managing them including some in their early 20s.
As a leader, you provide direction and then you bring in skilled people and inspire them to implement your roadmap to getting to the destination of your direction.
So in answer to your question, I am more into leadership and this gives me the clarity I need to take in the larger picture.
My next question is from Ikechi
The minister of information recently said the PDP will never regain power. Why go back to a party that will never regain power?
Nobody knows the future other than God and to dictate what the future will be is not within man’s purview.
But it is about Nigeria not about power. Power for powers own sake breeds arrogance and arrogance makes men say things like that.
All I am saying is that we need a party that speaks to national sentiments not regional ones. We need a party that can make all Nigerians one till we can boldly say that we are all brothers and sisters with only one motherNigeria.
A question from Favour
Sir what are your views on the #EndSARS movement?
We cannot be outraged that Nigerians and other African migrants are being mistreated in Libya and then we go ahead and mistreat our people back home. I am very abreast with the #EndSARS issue because my young followers on Social Media keep me very much in the loop.
Whether it is how SARS treats Nigerians or how we treat each other, we are sending a message to the outside world. We can’t expect foreigners to treat our people better than we treat them.
We must set the minimum standard required for the treatment of Nigerians worldwide by the way we treat our people domestically. Our charity must begin at home.
On this issue, I call on the Inspector General of Police as a concerned Nigerian to intervene, and I know that the Nigerian Police as a disciplined and well organized force will take action to address this issue. It will go a long way to improving Nigeria’s rating in the global ranking of Police Forces next year because this year, they were wrongfully ranked as the worst.
Thank you to everyone who asked me a question and I am sorry that time does not permit me to answer each one. I will be travelling the country in the coming months and will be listening to the concerns of our people in every region.
I came from a humble background and thank God for the opportunities that Nigeria has given me to build a network of successful businesses.
I am dedicated to a Nigeria where everyone lives in a country of opportunity where there are no limits to what they can become.
Good afternoon and thank you for listening.”