ATIKU: I RESTATE I HAVE NO PREFERRED ASPIRANT FOR KOGI PDP GUBER PRIMARY
There are unfounded, subsisting allegations and propositions about the involvement of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, in processes leading to the emergence of an “anointed” candidate, ahead of the forthcoming gubernatorial primary of the party in Kogi State. There are insinuations and innuendos to the effect that the flagbearer of the PDP in the recent presidential poll, has allegedly given express directives to the national leadership of the party, to deliver a particular aspirant at the primary.
According to the fable, Atiku favours Dino Melaye, former Senator representing Kogi West, as the candidate of the party for the off-season gubernatorial election scheduled for Saturday November 11, 2023. The list of delegates which emerged from the State Congress held Wednesday March 29, 2023, in Lokoja, is reportedly being tweaked at the national secretariat of the PDP, in furtherance of this plot. It has indeed been mischievously advanced that at the request of Atiku, almost 200 names, totally at variance with the outcome of the March 29, 2023 primary, have been front-loaded on the delegates’ list.
Atiku had issued an earlier disclaimer about harbouring a presumed or imagined “special aspirant” for the said primary. He considers it germane to restate his unchanged and unshakable position on the subject once again. The seasoned statesman, party elder and frontline leader that he is, Atiku remains the stickler for multilevel due process in party and political affairs that he has always been. He has never solicited favours for his political proteges, in total disregard for institutional mechanisms. He has never been party to impunity in any shape or manner. Participants in politics, including seekers for elective offices, have to earn their badges in the vocation. Atiku, a serial subscriber to internal democracy and rule of law, is no believer in shortcuts. He didn’t ask to be “anointed” as PDP presidential candidate at the primaries of 2018 and 2022. He worked assiduously for his ticket on both occasions.
As we speak, Atiku is leading democratic forces in Adamawa State, to ensure that popular votes count in the forthcoming gubernatorial runoff between the PDP candidate, Umaru Fintiri and his APC opponent, Aisha Binani. The March 11, 2023 poll was declared inclusive, with Fintiri’s unassailable lead by over 30,000 votes. The imperative for the holistic re-engineering of the nation’s political culture, equally predominates his thoughts at this time.
This statement is issued on the authority of Atiku Abubakar, who wishes each and every Kogi State PDP governorship aspirant without exception, the very best of luck in the forthcoming preliminary. Once again, he dissociates himself, wholly and expressly from political manipulations and illegality of any colouration. He admonishes the leadership of the PDP to ensure religious compliance and adherence to the original Kogi State PDP list of delegates as produced by the freewill of stakeholders on March 29, 2023.
When a democratically and lawfully produced governorship candidate of the PDP emerges at the end of the primary, such a banner-bearer will be duly upheld by stakeholders. Atiku as National Leader of the PDP will be glad to join in rolling out the tanks in his or her support for the main election. The battle to wrestle Kogi State from the hawks and vultures who have asphyxiated true democracy, free speech and systematised growth in the state these past seven years, requires all well-meaning stakeholders on board. The quantum despondency, misery, arrested development, reverse advancement on the otherwise immensely endowed state, must give way to belief, optimism and progress.
*Tunde Olusunle, PhD, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Atiku Abubakar, GCON*