A former Vice President and chieftain of All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar, has charged the party to promote the rule of law and due process in the conduct of its affairs, noting that they were germane to its unity and stability.He gave the charge in a statement on Wednesday against the background of the festering crisis trailing the conduct of the APC gubernatorial primary in Ondo State.
A former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, had on Sunday demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, accusing him of favouring an aspirant in the gubernatorial primaries in OndoState and forcing his choice through using a sleight of hand.Mr. Tinubu, who alleged that the national chairman was perpetrating injustice, said the development showed that there was an evil and regressive forcewithin the APC using Mr. Oyegun to derail the party’s democratic and progressive tenets.
The name of a former National President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Rotimi Akeredolu, was forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, as the APC candidate in the November election, despite protest by other aspirants and some members of the party’s national working committee.
Mr. Abubakar said it was imperative for the national leadership of the party to live by the rules of internal democracy and respect for democratic consensus, warning that “you cannot break your own rules without creating problems.”He argued that the party was supposed to be an impartial entity in the arbitration of crisis amongst its members in any given election.
He further contended that since the APC found veritable reasonsto review the outcome of the gubernatorial primary election it conducted in Ondo State, and was able to establish valid grounds to cancel that election and call for a fresh one, the decision to deviate from its own resolution is a negation of due process and an unfashionable hollow in democratic best practices.
“It was wrong for the APC to have set aside a resolution it had reached aimed at resolving the crisis in our party in Ondo State. It is a recipe for acrimonyand division,” he said.
The former vice president also noted that pretending a problem doesn’t exist won’t make that problem go away, and therefore,advised the leadership of the party to do a soul searching and address why this problem arose and escalated.According to Mr. Atiku, the party leadership should always be guided by respect for the rules, fairness, equity, neutrality and respect for democratic consensus.
He, however, urged aggrieved members of the APC in the Ondo election to exercise restraint in seeking redress to the crisis. He also urged the leadership of the party to retrace its steps and do the needful to restore confidence among the conflicting parties in the state for the overall benefit of the ruling party.
Atiku as many quarters suggest is eyeing the presidential seat in 2019 and as such may want the ultimate support of the national leader Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for him to realize his ambition an insider hints.