By Godwin Isenyo/Punch
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on Saturday said he cautioned some People’s Democratic Party governors against arming the youth for the purpose of winning elections.
Atiku while speaking in an interview on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation monitored in Kaduna on Saturday said his advice was not heeded.
He also said he would not leave the ruling PDP despite the unfair treatment meted to him.
Atiku said he would rather remain in the party and fight the injustice being perpetrated by the leadership of the party.
He said the series of restrictions imposed on him by the party was because the party chieftains were afraid of him and his opposition to illegalities in the party.
When asked whether he would contest for the presidency in 2015, Atiku replied that 2015 was too far for him to decide.
Speaking on how he cautioned some state governors against buying arms and ammunition for the youth, Atiku said, “During our time when there was such crisis in Yobe, you saw how we tackled it. First of all, we sent undercover agents who mixed up with the insurgents and understood their modus operandi. When the report was brought to us, we then sent security agents who rounded up the enclave, arrested some of them and killed those that had to be killed.
“When we formed the PDP and candidates emerged, the governors earmarked huge amounts of money to buy arms for youth groups so as to use them in winning the election.
“I met and told them that if they used them and after winning the election, they fail to provide them with jobs, they will rise against the people in their states. These are the youths who later turned into the Niger Delta militants you’ve been hearing about. Also, a similar thing happened in the North, I met a governor and told him that these youths you assembled and called ECOMOG will become dangerous later and that was what eventually happened. I spoke to all these governors, I alerted all of them.”
He, added that the proposed amnesty for Boko Haram was a good initiative, adding that, “Ours is just to advise the government. But there is no advice that the elders have not given the government. Look at the Lemu Committee report, the government did nothing about it.”
On why the PDP could not resolve the disagreements between him and the chairman of the party, Atiku said, “We are all working together now, it is only the governor (Murtala Nyako) that we are not working with. He feels because he is in power, he can do whatever he likes. But when you are in power and you decide not to be just, you will definitely see what you don’t like.”
Atiku said it was unfortunate that the ruling party was enmeshed in crisis, adding that, “This crisis is certainly not good and it will be nice to sit down and resolve it. Such misunderstanding shouldn’t have come about at all.
“Both sides are to be blamed. The governors have separated themselves and maintain that it is only what they want that they will do in their states, the President is saying it is not so. The way out is to come back, sit down and resolve the issues.”
Speaking on a paper he delivered in Geneva, the former vice-president noted that there was no difference between democracy in Nigeria and military rule.
He said, “After the military handed over power, the majority of those that took over power from them were ex-military men. When they took over, instead of running affairs as in a democracy, they resorted to running affairs as if it were in a military regime. Whoever did not like what they wanted was blacklisted. That is not right.
“So, that was the shape Nigerian democracy took afterward. Sadly, the politicians who are not ex-military inherited that attitude. They thought such attitude would benefit them and continued with it. Unless we desist from that kind of attitude, do away with dishonesty and injustice in the party and in government, progress will elude us.”
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