FORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, at the weekend, kick-started his return bid to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with series of meetings which started on Friday.
Sources close to the former vice president said he flew into Yola, Adamawa State, on Friday and instantly met with some officials of the state chapter of the PDP.
The state chairman of Adamawa PDP and about six local government chairmen of the party, whose locations were close to Yola, were on hand for the meeting, a source told the Nigerian Tribune.
It was also gathered that the former vice president, on Saturday, met with the six-state chairmen of the party in the North-East zone to further cement the comeback bid.
Sources also said that Atiku met with the national vice chairman of the PDP in the North-East zone, Ambassador Emmanuel Njiwah, as well as a number of other stakeholders.
A meeting between Atiku and two governors of the PDP-controlled states in the zone, Gombe and Taraba, was also said to have been scheduled as part of the series of consultations.
When asked when Atiku would formally declare for the PDP, a source close to the media organisation said consultations were ongoing.
It added that the final date for his official return to the PDP would not be announced until after the ongoing consultations.
It was confirmed that after all the ongoing consultations, which will include the leadership of the party at the national level, Atiku will formally register at his Jada Ward 1, in Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa State, after which he would be presented to the state and national leaders of the party.
There are, however, indications that Atiku will address the forthcoming PDP convention slated for December 9.
A source close to the former vice president revealed that his supporters, especially in the North, had started mobilising to this effect.
It was gathered that some senators alongside members of the House of Representatives would defect alongside with him at the convention.
The source said mobilisation to this effect had commenced, especially in the North-East, which was considered as his strong political base.
The Adamawa chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), it was gathered, also confirmed the receipt of the resignation letter of Atiku from the party.
The state secretary of APC, Alhaji Saidu Nera confirmed the development
Nera said he was yet to get the letter but the party officials of Jada 1 Ward in Jada Local Government Area where Atiku registered had confirmed the receipt of the letter.
Atiku resigned from APC on October 18
It emerged that the former vice president resigned his membership of APC on October 18.
He had, in a letter to the chairman of the APC in his Jada 1 Ward, Jada, in Adamawa State, dated October 18 and which was personally signed by him, announced his retirement.
He stated in the letter that he was hopeful that soon, a number of APC stalwarts would join him to defeat impunity in Nigeria and restore hope.
The letter, as obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, read: “I wish to inform you of my decision to resign my membership or the All Progressives Congress (APC) in this ward with effect from the date of this letter.
“I am resigning from a party we formed and worked so hard, with fellow compatriots across the country to place in government. I had hoped that the APC government will make improvements to the lives of our people and the continued existence and development of Nigeria as one indivisible nation. This hope has now been dashed.
“l am unable to reconcile me with the dismal performance of the party in government, especially in relation to the continued polarisation of our people along ethnic and religious lines, which is threatening our unity more than any other time in the recent past and the unbearable hardship that our people are currently undergoing.
“As I said in 2006, it is the struggle for democracy, constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice. Let me emphasise, again, that this is not about me. We have to have a country before people can aspire to lead it.
“While wishing you well, let me express the hope that in the near future, a substantial number of you will join forces with us to, once again, defeat impunity and restore vision and purpose to the politics of our great country.
“Please accept the assurances of my highest regards.”
His defection causing ripples in Plateau APC
Meanwhile Atiku’s exit from the APC has started causing ripples in the Plateau chapter of APC.
Most of the loyalists of the former vice president had commenced meeting in preparation to move en masse with Atiku.
It will be recalled that the chunk of delegates from the state to the delegate convention of APC in 2014 voted for Atiku.
The state governor, Mr Simon Lalong, was also ranked among the loyalist of the Turaki Adamawa.
Nigerian Tribune findings revealed that an air of apprehension had gripped the leadership of APC in the state, especially those promoting second term aspiration of Governor Lalong.
The impression was that if those loyal to Atiku left, it would deplete the strength of the party ahead of 2019 governorship election.
Reacting, the state secretary of the party, Alhaji Bashir Sati Musa, said the party was intact, adding that it was in existence before Atiku joined the APC and it would continue to exist after him.
Buhari’s govt jittery with Atiku’s exit —Jonathan’s aide
Former Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, on Sunday, said the defection of Atiku from APC had left the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari jittery.
Omokri, in a statement on Sunday, said the amount of negative energy being channelled toward discrediting Atiku’s defection from the ruling party was shocking.
He added that the ruling party was treating Atiku as if he had committed an unpardonable sin.
He said that while a party vehicle was important, the destination was even more important.
“A party is a vehicle that takes you from point A to point B. If you are in a vehicle that breaks down along the way, you naturally will not stay stuck at that same place. You either fix the vehicle or you get into another vehicle.
“The vehicle is important, but it is the destination that is the whole point,” he said.
To buttress his point that Buhari was jittery, Omokri said “on the same day that Atiku Abubakar resigned from the APC, President Buhari sets up a committee to increase the national minimum wage.
“This is a classic kneejerk reaction and an indication that the president is jittery over his impending 2019 defeat and wants to bribe Nigerians with a salary increase.”
Omokri said Atiku never really left the PDP at any time on his own volition, adding that he was pushed out in 2006 after fighting the unconstitutional third term agenda.
He said the former vice president also left the PDP in 2013 after it became factionalised.
Buhari is an oracle, Atiku can’t defeat him ―Kokori
Former Secretary-General of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Chief Frank Kokori, averred that President Muhammadu Buhari could not be defeated by Atiku in 2019.
This, he said, was because Buhari was a towering oracle to the northerners and would beat Atiku to the game, even in Adamawa, the latter’s home state.
Kokori, therefore, enjoined critics lashing out on the vice president for jumping the APC ship to leave him alone, saying he (Atiku) knew what was good for him.
Korkori, a chieftain of APC in Delta State disclosed
The former labour leader said though Atiku remained an old, experienced and professional politician, his chances of clinching the sole presidential ticket of the PDP was 50/50.