WAIVER: ATIKU THREATENS PDP WITH COURT ACTION
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has given indication that he would contest his eligibility for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) waiver in court.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja while meeting with members of the Turaki Vanguard, Atiku insisted that he did not need to approach the Adamawa chapter of the party for waiver, a condition that the PDP National Working Committee had declared the former Action Congress (AC) presidential candidate must meet before he could be granted waiver. Atiku is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP for the 2011 election.
Article 10 iii of the party constitution makes provision for a new entrant to the party to seek for waiver through the state chapter of the party. Such waiver could only be granted by the PDP National Executive Committee, [NEC] on the recommendation of the party's NWC and the zonal executive of the applicant..
However, speaking in Abuja the former vice president told the Turaki Vanguard, a support group campaigning for his election that he would go to court to ensure that neither he nor any other member of the PDP was denied the right to contest election on the ground of lack of waiver. 'PDP says there is zoning in the constitution but Jonathan has the right under the constitution of Nigeria. It is correct. PDP says Atiku needs a waiver. PDP is wrong because I have a right under the constitution to contest. The same right Jonathan has.
'So, you see, I will like to go to court to contest that waiver so that nobody in the state will stop you from running, so that no governor or local government chairman will say oh, you need waiver at the local government level to become a councillor or you need waiver at the local government level to become member of the House of Assembly. No!.
'Any provisions in the constitution of the party that conflict with the provisions of the country's constitution, those of you who are lawyers know that they are void. It is only if you allow them.'
'But if you challenge them, you will get your right. And the courts are just too happy to give you your fundamental human rights. The moment you go to them, they will be too happy to give them to you.
'We were born free, our constitution has guaranteed us all these freedoms and we should not allow anybody to take those freedoms from us no matter how powerful he is,' he said.
Atiku also carpeted the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who he said prevented people from expressing their minds and having lawful associations when he was in office. He said now that he (Obasanjo) had left office, people could once again express their minds and exercise their freedom of association.
'If you could recall, since this support group was established, have I ever spoken before you like this? Now, I am standing before you. Do you know why I am standing before you? Because together, we have made it possible, we have driven out the dictator; we have preserved the sanctity and credibility of our constitution, which allows for unfettered free and fair freedom of association.
'When he (Obasanjo) was in office, we couldn't meet, we couldn't discuss, we couldn't interact because I was being hounded and you were being hounded. Now the man is gone, we are free to meet, we are free to interact, and you are free to ask any question whatsoever.' Atiku who claimed that he has been fighting in court for the right of people to move to the political party of their choice, said 'I don't mind going to court again' so that 'those rights giving to us by the constitution must be given to us unfettered.'