Atiku confirms new party, but says he is still in PDP

Atiku confirms new party, but says he is still in PDP

•INEC takes delivery of 40m permanent voter cards

 

Following Thursday’s exclusive Daily Independent report that linked him to efforts by certain politicians to register a new group as a political party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that while he remains a loyal member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he does not have the right or power to stop others from associating or seeking registration for new parties.

The report had it that Abubakar, together with nine PDP Governors were the sponsors of an application now before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to register an association, Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), as a political party.

Among the Governors who were named as promoting the new association are Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State.

They are the five Governors that have been in the

 

 

vanguard of dissent within the mainstream PDP for some time now.

But Abubakar, while not denying the report on Thursday simply said he “would always welcome the expansion of the political space to accommodate all shades of opinions or political hue.”

While acknowledging that many of his political associates are involved in registering the PDM, Abubakar explained that he had no powers to stop “adults with common interests from coming together to form a party.”

He also noted that many of his political associates are equally members of political parties other than the PDP.

According to him, freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution is the beauty of democracy and that he wouldn’t dissuade any of his followers from seeking a platform to promote their programmes.

The statement signed by Mallam Garba Shehu, Abubakar’s media aide said, “Following press enquiries on the reported registration of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) as a political party, the former Vice President said he would always welcome the expansion of the political space to accommodate all shades of opinions or political hue.

“While acknowledging that many of his political associates are involved in registering the PDM, Atiku Abubakar explained that he had no powers to stop adults with common interests from coming together to form a party.”

He also noted that many of his political associates are equally members of political parties other than the PDP.

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The statement said political analysts would recall the active role of the PDM in the country’s democratic transition from the Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar military administrations.

“The PDM platform, which was founded by late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, provided the impetus for his impressive performance across the country during the September 1992 Presidential primaries, which were later cancelled by the military regime.

“The late Yar’Adua came close to becoming President, thanks to the formidable PDM structure.

“In 1999, the PDM was also in the forefront in the emergence of former President Obasanjo as PDP Presidential candidate.

“Political observers also noted that the choice of Abubakar as running mate to Obasanjo in 1999 was a recognition of the active role of the PDM platform in his victory.”

While also clarifying its role in the efforts to get PDM registered, INEC on Thursday stated  that it never mentioned the former Vice President and nine Governors of the PDP as the promoters of the new political association.

Reacting to Daily Independent’s report, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, pointed out that he never mentioned the name of Abubakar nor any Governor in his conversation with our reporter.

“I write to refute an attribution to me in your paper today (Thursday) that a former Vice-President and nine Peoples Democratic Governors are floating a political party.

“You cited me in a story titled, ‘Nine PDP Govs Float Party, Apply for Registration,’ as confirming to you that the former Vice-President and some Governors of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party have applied for the registration of a party to be known as the Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM). Your reporter will confirm to you that I never said such a thing,” Idowu said.

“The question your reporter asked was if there is any pending application for party registration in the Commission, and I confirmed that an application, as always, is pending.

“Please note: He (reporter) mentioned no name of any particular group or the promoters,” Idowu added.

“INEC, by law, receives applications for party registration and treats them on individual merit. It makes no public issue of the party identity or their promoters.

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“For avoidance of doubt, I did not discuss any party identity or promoters with your reporter because he didn’t have enough information to provide such detail in his enquiry.”

Idowu had told our correspondent on phone that INEC was processing the application for the registration of the political group.

INEC also restated on Thursday that it has taken delivery of 40 million permanent voter cards as part of its efforts to ensure the credibility of future elections in the country.

The commission’s Deputy Director in charge of information, Nick Dazang, who spoke to Daily Independent on phone, added that INEC is working out the modalities for the distribution of the cards before the end of the year.

It would be recalled that INEC had ordered 72.5 million permanent voter cards for distribution to registered voters across the country.

INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, had while briefing stakeholders ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Ananmbra State stated that the commission has been running advanced finger prints identification system to clean up the voters register.

“We have been running the advanced finger prints identification system to clean the voter register.  We have started with Anambra State ahead of the governorship election; we presented the consolidated and cleaned voter register and before we commence the continuous voter registration we will show what was registered and the consolidated voter register.

“We did the clean up of the voter regist in 2011 in a hurry, we have used this system to clean the register of multiple registration and the offenders may be prosecuted, that is why we have called for an Electoral Offenders Commission, we have asked our legal department to start the prosecution of multiple offenders.

“In Anambra State we have been with the NBA to jointly commence the process of prosecution of more people, we have had a remarkable case of multiple registration” he told the stakeholders.

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