Aug 16, 2013
A former Vice President and member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has confirmed that some of his political associates are set to register a new party, the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM.
The PDM, one of Nigeria’s oldest existing political movements was founded by Nigeria’s former deputy military leader, late Shehu Yar’Adua, and is currently headed by Mr. Abubakar.
While describing the PDM, Mr. Abubakar’s media aide, Garba Shehu, in a statement sent to journalists, said, “The PDM platform, which was founded by late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, provided the impetus for his impressive performance across the country during the September 1992 presidential primaries, which were later cancelled by the military regime.”
“The late Gen. Yar’Adua came close to becoming President, thanks to the formidable PDM structure. In 1999, the PDM was also in the forefront in the emergence of former President Obasanjo as PDP presidential candidate.
“Political observers also noted that the choice of Atiku Abubakar as running mate to Obasanjo in 1999 was a recognition of the active role of the PDM platform in his victory.”
The PDM is known to have top politicians across the county as members including former Katsina State Governor, Lawal Kaita; and former Minister and Lagos politician, Dapo Sarumi.
While the former vice president confirmed in the statement that some of his associates are in the process of registering the PDM as a political party, he however said he still remained a member of the Peoples Democatic Party, PDP.
Mr. Abubakar said while he remains a loyal PDP member, he doesn’t have the right or power to stop others from associating or seeking registration for new parties.
The former vice president, who said he had no powers to stop adults with common interests from coming together to form a party, said he would always welcome the expansion of the political space to accommodate all shades of opinions or political hue.
He also noted that many of his political associates are equally members of political parties other than the PDP.
According to him, freedom of association as enshrined in the constitution is the beauty of democracy and that he wouldn’t dissuade any of his followers from seeking a platform to promote their programmes.
Mr. Abubakar recently complained publicly that he was being ostracised from the PDP. In a petition sent to the PDP National Chairman, Mr. Abubakar said he was being denied of all the entitlements due him as a former vice president and member of the ruling party.
The Adamawa-born politician was President Goodluck Jonathan’s main challenger for the PDP presidential ticket prior to 2011, having edged out other northern candidates including former president Ibrahim Babangida. He complained then that the PDP primaries were manipulated to favour the president.