A pro-democracy group, Make A Difference (MAD), has described former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as a man too desperate for power.
The group spoke against the backdrop of Atiku’s recent defection to the Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress.
Speaking at a news briefing in Abuja, the Executive Director of the group, Lemmy Ughegbe, said although Atiku has the constitutional right to associate and assemble, his defection to the PDP from APC raises moral question on his integrity and how he is willing to sacrifice values for political ambition.
“Without doubt Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has a constitutionally defined and guaranteed right to lawful association and assembly provided for by section 1 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Clearly, the former Vice President more than anyone else understands this right and has leveraged it a few times,” Mr. Ughegbe said.
But he noted that “by Abubakar’s exercise of this right under Section 1, he has inadvertently raised moral questions against his ambition.”
Mr. Ughegbe said, “Surely, all right thinking persons would simply be wondering the source of such seeming desperation for power that has occasioned Atiku to jump ship from the ruling party to PDP, which he left a few years ago, after his well-documented statement that it (PDP) was beyond redemption.”
The good governance advocate added, “I am aware that political jobbers and all those out to exploit the former Vice President would hastily jump to attack all those who speak frankly on this matter of defection.”
The activist advised him to handle this issue with utmost regard for the citizens whom he intends to curry electoral votes from at the general elections in 2019.
“Nigerians are more politically aware today than they were yesterday,” Mr. Ughegbe said. “So, when the moral question as to Atiku’s seeming desperation for power is raised, I believe he must not gloss over it, but respond with due respect for the Nigerian electorates. He cannot wish this question away. And he will do better not to engage attack dogs to manage such issues, but dutifully and meticulously pick a team of dynamic persons who have great temperament and well measured language to assist him where necessary.
“I am curious why he returned to a party (PDP), which he declared in 2015 was beyond redemption. Is he back to the party with renewed anointing from his sojourn in APC to redeem it? If APC guaranteed him the party’s presidential ticket would he have defected to the once irredeemable PDP?
Mr. Ughegbe added, “Atiku and his supporters cannot possibly wish these begging questions away. No matter how hard they try. They need to be tempered and well measured to respond in a way that turns this situation into political fortunes instead.”
On whom his group fancies to be president between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku come the 2019 general election, he said when the time is right he would give a – no holds barred assessment of both of them, insisting that Nigerians deserve a younger, dynamic and more competent professional to run their country.