Posted by By Segun Olatunji, Kaduna on
The Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, said that he would shortly declare his 2007 presidential bid....
The Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, said that he would shortly declare his 2007 presidential bid on the platform of a political party different from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
Speaking on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, monitored in Kaduna, the vice-president, for the first time, openly said he would quit the PDP through which he got to office in 1999.
It was not clear at press time on Monday if his comment would now foreclose ongoing reconciliation moves in the ruling party.
According to Abubakar, the choice of the party whose platform he would use to realise his presidential ambition next year would be made in no distant, opportune and auspicious time.
The vice-president is believed to be the sponsor of the recently registered Advanced Congress of Democrats.
The new party is largely populated by his supporters who left the ruling PDP in the wake of the crisis of confidence that strained the relationship between him and President Olusegun Obasanjo.
That crisis also recently snowballed into the polarisation of the party.
Abubakar, however, said his decision to dump the ruling party for another, to contest the 2007 presidential election, would be finalised in conjunction with his supporters.
He stressed that consultations had already begun with various groups and political forces.
But he was silent on his preferred choice of party.
"The decision Iíve taken for myself is, we are going to plunge into party politics proper because the time has come. Insha Allah, Iím going to declare on the platform of another party. Very soon, weíll gather and declare.
"Just give us time for some consultations with our supporters before we make a declaration on the matter," Abubakar said.
On the increasing number of presidential aspirants for the 2007 elections, the vice-president said the development was healthy for the growth of democracy in Nigeria, adding that it "will boost and strengthen democracy."
He said his political alliance with a former head of state and presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peopleís Party in 2003, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), and a former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, was aimed at further strengthening the nationís democracy.
He said, "Our democracy in Nigeria deserves strengthening properly. If not so, weíll wake up one day to discover that we have no freedom.
"Therefore, it is not surprising if patriotic citizens and democrats come together to work in unison. We are all politicians; we are not supposed to be fighting. Whatever will help the country, we are supposed to unite and work together for it."
On his relationship with Babangida, the vice-president said, "I have a mutual understanding with him."
Asked whether the current understanding between him and the former military ruler would not be severed when the race for the presidency begins in earnest, Abubakar added, "Letís wait and see what will happen."
But the Media Consultant to the VP, Mallam Garba Sheu, denied the BBC report that Abubakar might defect to another party.
Sheu said, "I arranged the interview by the VP on his arrival from the US on Sunday.
"I also heard the BBC broadcast. At no point did he say that he was quitting the PDP.
"On the contrary, he restated his membership of the party. I blame wrongful translation for any such misrepresentation."