Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday commenced his nationwide consultation ahead of the 2015 presidential election from the North-West geo-political zone of the country, with the stakeholders at the consultative meeting urging him to contest the 2015 presidential election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
A statement from his office said that the zonal consultative meeting, which took place in Kaduna on Sunday, had delegates from Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states in attendance.
The former vice-president, while addressing the delegates was said to have noted that he was very appreciative of the “enormous support he enjoys from the North-West geo-political zone, especially during the 2011 presidential contest.” He added that the idea of instituting a nationwide consultative meetings among his supporters from various political parties became necessary in order for him to respond to certain developments within the polity.
He said, “You are quite aware that recently, I was a host to the leadership of the APC urging me to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party and join the APC in its drive to bring about tangible leadership and national development to our country.
“You are also aware that I am yet to give a response to that call from the APC leadership, until I table the issue before you, my supporters.
“So, the purpose of this meeting is two-pronged. First, I want to formally inform you about the invitation from the APC, and secondly, I want you to speak out your minds over the subject-matter.
“I have decided to split the meeting with North-West stakeholders into two because of the size of the region. My next visit to the region will, by the grace of God, address stakeholders from Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states. I implore you to be frank and very dispassionate as much as you can.”
Several speakers at the meeting were said to have spoken variously of the invitation by the APC leadership, with a vast majority of them urging Atiku to honour the invitation.
An unnamed delegate from Kano State particularly noted that Atiku had always been a victim of Nigeria’s dirty politics, saying that “the wise thing for him to do is to follow the wind of change sweeping across the country because the PDP is blind, deaf and dumb.”
At the end of the meeting, the stakeholders were said to have been prompted to cast a ballot on whether or not Atiku should contest the 2015 presidential election, and under the platform of which political party.
An overwhelming majority of the stakeholders believed that Atiku should contest the election – 28 people voted in favour of the APC, five people voted in favour of the Peoples Democratic Movement, three people voted in favour of the PDP while one person abstained.
The statement said that the next consultative meeting of the stakeholders was expected to take place in Lagos and Ibadan on Wednesday and Thursday respectively for the South-West geo-political zone.