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Atiku will be president without Obasanjo’s support –Adamawa PDP chair

Atiku will be president without Obasanjo’s support –Adamawa PDP chair

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Adamawa State, Tahir Shehu, in this interview with HINDI LIVINUS, speaks on the position of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the presidential bid of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar among other issues

What is happening within the PDP in the state as the 2019 general elections draw near?

The Adamawa State chapter of the PDP is currently pleased with the flurry of activities going on within the party in the state. We have been receiving defectors almost on daily basis and our doors are still open to accommodate many other politicians into our fold. We are very comfortable with the way things are going. We are one united family; that is why interested members of other political parties are coming for protection under our very big umbrella.

Are you really sure that the party under your leadership is actually strong enough to win the forthcoming state governorship election?

We are well prepared for the 2019 elections because of our determination to conduct free and fair primaries for all aspirants of the party. Once we have a good intention to ensure justice for all concerned, I believe whoever that fails to win will be convinced that the process is transparent and would therefore not complain. We will ensure that the process is transparent enough to the extent that rather than protesting, losers will accept defeat and will be happily with the winner. They will then, join forces with the winner to ensure his eventual victory at the poll.

You urged the five governorship aspirants to interact and see the possibility of producing a consensus candidate within them. Why did you make such suggestion?

We have five governorship aspirants who are all PDP loyalists. All of them have what it takes to govern not only Adamawa but also to lead Nigeria as president. I gave the suggestion to see if that could produce the candidate of the party instead of going through the process of the primary. It is just my personal advice; it is not the position of the party. As a party leader, I merely urged them to be interacting and interfacing among themselves. I actually want them to discuss and if possible agree on one of them so that we can reduce friction and tension in the party. However, if they cannot reach consensus, the party has no choice but to conduct free and fair primary for them so that a winner will emerge. The rest would collapse their campaign structures and work for the eventual winner of the primary.

How has the return of former vice-president Atiku Abubakar to the PDP benefited the party?

Let me tell you; there is no history of democracy in Nigeria that can be complete without the mention of the man Atiku Abubakar. He is a pillar of democracy and there is no politician in this country that did not benefit directly or indirectly from his contribution. Even his former boss, ex-president Olusegun Obansanjo had immensely benefited from the contributions and political knowledge of Atiku Abubakar. This is a man (Obasanjo) that was in prison awaiting execution here in Yola prison, but somehow, God intervened by using Atiku not only to save him from the death sentence hanging on his neck then, but ensured his emergence as the nation’s president. Let me tell you, people like Senator (Danjuma) Goje, who was once a governor of Gombe State; people like (Nasir) el-Rufai, incumbent governor of Kaduna State; people like Boni Haruna, who became governor of Adamawa for eight years, all benefitted from Atiku Abubakar’s political generosity.  When EFCC was created, the requirement was for a commissioner of police to head the EFCC but Nuhu Ribadu, an assistant commissioner of police then became the EFCC boss because Atiku insisted that he should be the pioneer chairman of the anti-graft agency. Atiku cannot be waived aside with the hands as far the politics of Nigeria is concerned. The party (PDP) before Atiku came in and now is no longer the same. The PDP has been waxing stronger and stronger every day. The return of Atiku to PDP has contributed rapidly to the growth of the party in the whole country. We know his handiwork; we know what he can do and we know what he did. His return is what gave PDP the light that people are seeing in the party now.

What is your reaction to a statement credited to Obasanjo that God would not forgive him if he supports Atiku Abubakar to become president?

First of all, I respect Obasanjo as a former President, former Head of State, an elder statesman and a religious leader. But Obasanjo should not be myopic to forget that God is a God of miracles.

Obasanjo happened to be the first beneficiary of the miracle of God in the current political dispensation as I earlier explained his prison-to-presidency experience. I want Obasanjo to also remember that Abacha once said that he would never forgive Obasanjo. He (Abacha) said that he would not release (Obasanjo), but will execute him. He had passed a death sentence on him, waiting to execute him but God took Abacha away not only from his throne but also from the surface of the earth. The day God took Abacha, the military ruler had written a letter of compulsory retirement for the former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar. It was Abubakar, who succeeded Abacha as Head of State that released Obasanjo. Abdulsalam was to be retired on the day Abacha died. God said no! God killed Abacha and brought in Abdulsalam, who also removed Obasanjo from prison, conducted election and handed the Presidency over to Obasanjo. Has he forgotten the love of God? Who is he to say he would not forgive Atiku. He should not forget that it is not Obasanjo who is the leaders, it is God Almighty. So he should be reminded that it is God and not he (Obasanjo) that will give Atiku power or any other person He chooses. Being a theologian, Obasanjo should know that if he insists that he would not forgive Atiku and that if he’s alive, Atiku would not be president, then Obasanjo is a joker. He has forgotten the work of God, forgetting that God can do a miracle that will rubbish him. My prayer for Obasanjo is to be alive; we wish him good health and long life for him to witness the swearing in of Atiku Abubakar as the President and Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

What is your advice to Atiku on Obasanjo?

I will advise Atiku to be resolute and to be determined to continue to be the democrat of repute that he is. He should not even think of what Obasanjo can do or undo for him. He should believe that it is God that gives power, not Obasanjo. He should concentrate on his consultation with stakeholders in all the nooks and crannies of the country. He should know that we are solidly behind him and believe in him. We know where he can take us to. We still have that hope; we are praying for him, and he should be prayerful too. He should put his hope in God Almighty because it is God that gives power, not Obasanjo or any other person.

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