Former Vice-President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar, has said that the North would not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 presidential election, claiming PDP had done nothing to attract votes from Nigerians.
At an interactive session with selected youths at the weekend, he insisted that he would support whoever emerged presidential candidate of APC if he did not get the ticket, but expressed doubts on the ability of the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria, INEC, to conduct a free and fair election.
According to him, “Asking me not to contest is asking me to give up on Nigeria. The North will not vote for the PDP because the party has failed everybody. This period presents an opportunity for change.
“Before now, the PDP was big and the absence of a viable opposition then allowed the party to become monstrous. But now with the APC there is choice. There is no way Nigerians can vote for the PDP in 2015. PDP has failed everybody.
“We all yearn for this change. We have got an opportunity to change but nothing came out of it because we had one big monster party. Today we have two equal parties. One good thing about it is that the APC provides an opportunity.”
Atiku said that “A number of reasons have been adduced as responsible for insurgency. Some said the region was the most backward region in the country, with widespread poverty and illiteracy. But these are not reasons why people should take arms and start killing innocent Nigerians. There is poverty everywhere in this country.
“There is unemployment everywhere. I want to recall that a similar situation arose in Yobe State while we were in office. It did not take us more than a month to crush that insurgency.
“I think the mistake we made after crushing the insurgency, was not going back to the people to know why they took up arms against the country. We failed to listen to them and provide solution to whichever grievance they had. Today, there is a recurrence. There is failure of leadership in the war against terrorism in terms of capacity.’
“I also believe that the armed forces should be well provided for. I come from that region and know that our armed forces are not well equipped. If you watch their encounter with the insurgents on YouTube, you will agree that the insurgents are better equipped. There is also failure of intelligence gathering among our neighbouring countries.
”The President visited Chad and Cameroon recently, what I expected was a meeting with the service chiefs of the countries and their military commanders. I think we have a number of factors that have contributed to the growth of insurgency. That is why we believe that there must be a change.”