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Atiku denies leaving PDP, forming new party

By The Citizen
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Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said while he remains a loyal member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, he does not have the right or power to stop others from associating or seeking registration for new political parties.

The former VP stated this in a press statement by his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday.

Atiku said the statement became necessary following inquiries on whether he was leaving the party with some other people to form a new one.

On the move to register the Peoples Democratic Movement as a political party, the former VP said he would always welcome the expansion of the political space to accommodate all shades of opinions or political hue.

Atiku however admitted that many of his political associates were involved in the registration process of the PDM.

He described freedom of association, as enshrined in the Constitution, as the beauty of democracy and that he would not dissuade any of his followers from seeking a platform to promote their programmes.

Atiku became the leader of the PDM following the death of the founder, Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, who was the second-in-command to Olusegun Obasanjo as the military Head of State between 1976 and 1979.

Atiku's political foray, leading to his governorship victory in Adamawa State in 1999 and his subsequent choice as the running mate to Obasanjo in the 1999 presidential election, was based on the strength of the then PDM.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday refuted a publication in a national newspaper (not THE CITIZEN) that Atiku and nine PDP governors were floating a political party.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, also denied ever confirming the registration of any new party, saying 'I never said such a thing.'

'INEC, by law, receives applications for party registration and treats them on individual merit.'