2011: Groups Okay Atiku’s Defection Regardless Of Uncertainties In Some Quarters
Following the mandate given to the 50 prudent men and women at 30th March 2010 meeting to mobilize, educate Nigerians, tour as well as sample the views of stakeholders in the South-South zone, Chief Peter Okocha, former Governorship aspirant of AC in Delta and his River State counterpart, Prince Tonye Princewill have concluded their duty, as many have endorsed Atiku's defection to PDP not minding suspicions in some quarters.
Prince Tonye who held meeting in Port Harcourt from 1st -3rd March with various segments; politicians and interest groups, raised two vital matters which include Alh. Atiku Abubakar's defection to PDP, its import on his (Princewill's) destiny and numerous supporters, revealed that the last vestige of AC would be not be friendly with Rivers'. In his bid to proffer solution to the way forward, the Prince sampled the views of Rivers State AC leadership, the clergy, business entrepreneur, government workers, Arewa Community in the state, a few bigwigs of PDP and market women.
In a press statement provided by River State AC Publicity Secretary, Chief Eze .C Eze quote some groups as saying, “PDP has not changed from impoverishing Nigerians with bad policies or from being a den of killers, Chief Okocha the erstwhile AC guber candidate of Delta State in the 2007 general elections explained that the idea of Atiku moving to PDP at this period is to save Nigeria and Nigerians from the doom that awaits them if PDP is not put in the right path to play the role expected of her as envisaged by the founding fathers of the party. Atiku who was a key player in this and should know stated that in order to improve on the democratic standard of the country PDP first must be properly democratized. He pleaded with Nigerians that were bound to read negative meanings or insinuate that it's not right for Atiku to rejoin PDP to take a minute and appreciate the reality that Atiku had done his best to rally round the opposition through initiating the National Democratic Initiative (NDI) with General Muahmadu Buhari and Alh. Bafarawa. This having germinated into the National Democratic Movement (NDM) was set to unite the opposition in the country but with the inability of the leadership to agree on something as simple as a naming convention and with deep signs of mistrust apparently still self evident, Atiku had no choice but to rejoin PDP his original home where he also had friends in order to continue to build the Nigeria of our dream. He thanked the gathering for coming out in such numbers at short notice and assured them that they were not alone as he would be convening a similar arrangement in Kiagbodo, Delta state imminently”.
In an effort to persuade the stakeholders to see reason in Atiku's movement to PDP,Prince Tonye Princewill in his contribution reeled out the former Vice President's enviable inputs towards nation bulding as he states thus:
“it is the same Atiku that was a member of the G34 that wrestled power from the military and formed PDP that we are taking about, it is the same Atiku that put his life on the line to fight against the 3rd term agenda and dictatorial tendencies and undemocratic maneuvers of General Olusegun Obasanjo that we are talking about, that it is the same Atiku that stood by Rivers State AC when other Leaders were at our neck to bring us down that we are talking about, that it is the same Atiku that gave AC its national outlook that we are talking about. That it is the same Atiku that has demonstrated that he is prepared to deny his personal interest to defend democracy that we are talking about. That it is the same Atiku that ensured he Prince Tonye Princewill a Rivers State man was appointed member of the Steering Committee of NDM equivalent of BOT position of PDP that we are talking about. It is the same Atiku Abubakar that is the Head of PDM the most viable and most dynamic political structure that installed PDP into power that we are talking about. That it is the same Atiku whose ideals and vision of creating the Ministry of Niger Delta which the present administration bought that we are talking about. That it is the same Atiku that have visited Rivers Stat in order to encourage and motivate us when our morale was down that we are talking. It was this junction that the hall erupted into a thunderous standing ovation that the management of the Hotel took to their heels thinking that the hotel was under siege while members were dancing, rejoicing and singing, “Atiku, Atiku, Atiku we will follow you wherever you go, we will follow you.”
According Prince Tonye Princewill, the four options that will come out from Atiku rejoining PDP not just on the Rivers State people but the South-South as a whole include:
1. To continue to remain in AC.
2. To join another national political party.
3. To follow Atiku to PDP.
4. To leave politics entirely.
Reliable sources have it that the meeting came to an end with Sgt Awuse pleading with Chief Okocha to be allowed to join PDP through the PDM efforts in the region in which he was encouraged to explore. Rev. Dr Ugo Amaechi the Coordinator of over 120 Churches that campaigned for the Prince during the 2007 general elections.
Rev. Dr Ugo Amaechi thanked the Prince on behalf of all the Groups for being a shining light to our democracy and assuring him of their unwavering support in his emancipation efforts towards our State and our region.
Nwaorgu Faustinus writes from Igboetche, Rivers State.