9 September 2017
By CHUKWUDERA EZE
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned leaders of the party, especially former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to desist from making “misleading statements aimed at causing division within the party.”
The National Vice Chairman of the APC (North West), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, who gave the warning in Abuja on Friday, also came down hard on the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, by demanding that she should quit the federal cabinet, for pledging allegiance to Atiku.
On the same day, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el- Rufai, said the public declaration of loyalty to Atiku by Alhassan should not come as a surprise because she had never shared President Muhammadu Buhari’s beliefs or ideology.
In the warning, seen as APC’s first major reaction to the scathing criticisms leveled against the ruling party and President Buhari by both Atiku and the serving minister, the National Vice Chairman of the party described the action of the two top party members as not only misleading but also unbecoming of their status.
He said that Atiku’s claim of being sidelined by the ruling party and its administration, despite his contributions to electoral victory in 2015, was misleading and not factual.
Abdulkadir, who addressed journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, said the statement credited to the former Vice President was capable of causing division in the ranks of the party and government.
In his words: “By virtue of his office and his age, Atiku is qualified to be a statesman but when you reach that stature and age, there are certain things you have to come to terms with, which is to exhibit a high sense of decorum in your conduct. You have to guard what you say, how you say it and when you say it because what is expected of you as a statesman is nothing but factual.
“More importantly, there should be some decorum in what we do. People who have attained those high privileged positions should know that they have attained certain status in the society and cannot afford to talk anyhow.”
Speaking on the complaint by Atiku that he had been neglected by the party, Abdulkadir said such a position was not correct, considering the level of his access to Buhari and the party.
He also disagreed with the former Vice President’s charge that the ruling party had not been holding meetings as required, insisting that there was at least two major high level meetings that had Atiku and President Buhari in attendance.
According to Abdulkadir, whose North-west zone produced President Buhari, the area Atiku should be most concerned about is success or otherwise of the current APC-led administration.
“The reason is that the North-west is the most populous zone in terms of the APC membership and in terms of electoral victory. That is apart from having seven APC state governors, and 20 out of the 21 senators in the zone are from the APC,” he said.
He went further to say that Atiku, like many others, made certain contributions to the 2015 elections but that the bigger picture which Atiku gave was not correct.
In terms of electoral value, Abdulkadir said that the North-west zone held eight presidential campaign rallies during the 2015 presidential election but “Atiku did not attend any.”
“Of recent, Atiku made some statements that created an impression of the failure of the party and the President Buhari-led government. At that level, good party members, especially of his status, should not be seen to be making public statements even if those criticisms are factual, whereas in this case, some of these statements were misleading and incorrect.
“These statements give an impression of a crack in the house and in the party or that the party is not doing all that which it ought to. As leaders, we shouldn’t be seen as joining issues in the public domain but since he has made a public statement, the public is entitled to get the other side or be told the truth,” said Abdulkadir.
On the support for Atiku by Aisha regarding the 2019 presidential election, the APC chieftain said the minister should have respected her principal by not making her statement public.
He said that the president was not going to act in a spontaneous manner, “rather, it should be the minister that will have to resign based on moral grounds.”
Commenting on the issue of Buhari’s alleged promise not to go for second term, the Vice Chairman said: “Whether Buhari has said that he would re-contest or not is immaterial; what is material is that a serving Minister should not be seen making public statement suggesting that they are not on the same page with the team because she is a member of a team.”