The Presidency and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar yesterday traded words over the outcome of the mini convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak, said Atiku was indebted to the PDP and should not spearhead its fictionalisation.
Atiku said he would not dispute Gulak’s claim, adding that the best way to continue to pay the debt was to protect PDP.
He said: “That is exactly what I’m doing: Protecting the PDP.”
Atiku and seven aggrieved governors walked out of the Eagles Square venue of the 2013 Special National Convention on Saturday to form a parallel exco for the PDP.
Speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday, Gulak said Atiku should be grateful to the party for reabsorbing him and giving him waiver to contest the presidential primary election in 2011.
According to him, Atiku is expected to protect the party at all times.
He said: “I was surprised because Atiku is supposed to know more than another person that there is no party like PDP. He left PDP and went to ACN and he came back to PDP, because he discovered that outside PDP there is no party.
“So, he had to come back and he was even given a waiver to contest the primaries in 2011. Atiku should be grateful to PDP. Atiku is indebted to PDP and the best way to continue to pay the debt is to protect PDP.”
Speaking on the meeting at the Presidential Villa to resolve the crisis, he said: “The president is the leader of the party and the governors came and the president and other leaders had useful discussions with them and God willing these things will be things of the past.
“That is why I said politics is about interests and whatever somebody says, it is how his interest can be protected and they have put on the table what they want, or put on the table what it should be and the leader has carefully listened and analysed it and we keep on talking.”
On whether the governors insisted on the removal of PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur, he said: “You cannot remove the national chairman like that. He was elected and you will remember that of all the offices, INEC observed that only the position of the national chairman and the financial secretary was properly done and that is why we had gone to the special national convention to properly elect the other officers.
“There are processes; there are provisions of the constitution; there is the Electoral Act, we should not act outside the laws. We must act within the extant laws of the land. Because the PDP is a law abiding party, we must entrench internal democracy. You cannot come and say, remove Mr A or Mr B and you cannot say, for example, remove Governor A. There are processes of removal. The constitution is clear about it.
“And I want to plead with all PDP leaders and members, especially the senior stakeholders, to continue dialoguing. You don’t win war at the battle front, you win war on the table. We want to plead with all members of this political party to keep on dialoguing, discussing, because the opposition out there wants the party to split and there are moles and they sent moles in the cloak of PDP. We have discovered them and Insha Allah, all PDP stakeholders, especially our field commanders who are the governors, have discovered this and we are talking.”
He continued: “It is all politics and politics is about interest and we are harmonising. We are talking, we are dialoguing, because the PDP as a family will not allow any of its members to go away, and even the members that want to go away, we will make bold to tell them that out there, there is no party as good as PDP.
“So, it is a matter of dialogue. It is a matter of discussion and God willing these problems will be surmounted. It can never be the end of PDP. PDP has been there from 1998, it is only PDP that has still maintained its name and identity. The other people you are talking about, started as AD, transformed to AC, transformed to ACN; you know they have lost their identity. It is only PDP that has consistently maintained its identity and its name. So there is no party that can beat PDP.”