The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday dismissed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as a liar, over his recent attack on President Muhammadu Buhari and the party even as it advised a die-hard supporter of Atiku on the cabinet of Buhari, Mrs Aisha Jummai Alhassan to resign her appointment.
Atiku had recently accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of side-lining him after he lavished his wealth and political blessings to snatch the Presidency from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the minister Alhassan had provoked what appears a needless controversy by saying that Buhari would not enjoy her support for 2019 presidency if Atiku indicates interest in the Presidency.
Fielding questions from journalists at the APC national secretariat, Abuja on Friday, a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) and National Vice Chairman, Northwest zone, Inuwa Abdukadir, also urged the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Jumai Alhassan, to honourably resign her position over the derogatory remarks she made against President Buhari.
“People of Atiku’s status and reckoning in this country, particularly the former Vice President of this great nation, has attained the position of a statesman and what we expect of him is nothing less than that.
“By virtue of his former office and his age, he is qualified to be a statesman but when you reach that statue and age there are certain things you have to come to terms with which is to exhibit a high sense of decorum in your conduct, you have to guard what you say, how you say it and when you say it because what is expected of you as a statesman is nothing but factual.
“Secondly, majority of the people look up to them to provide leadership in the sense that from what you say people can learn a lot. Of recent, Atiku has made some statements that create an impression of the failure of the party and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
“At that level, good party members, especially of his status should not be seen to be making public statements even if those criticisms are factual, whereas in this case some of these statements were misleading and incorrect.
“These statements give an impression as if there is a crack in the house and in the party or that the party is not doing all that which it ought to. Secondly, as leaders, we shouldn’t be seen as joining issues in the public domain but since he has made a public statement, the public is entitled to get the other side or be told the truth.
“Yes, Atiku like many others made certain contributions in the 2015 elections and in building the party but the bigger picture which he gave is not correct. The north west zone which I represent had eight Presidential campaign rallies which Atiku did not attend any.
“Yes, he added value by his personality, but there are so many other members of the party, that made financial contributions and added electoral value. North West is the most populous zone in terms of the APC membership and in terms of electoral victory, not only to the President but we have seven state governors and 20 out of the 21 senators in the zone are from the APC.
“I think we are critical and major stakeholders in this party. So, one of the reasons we are making this statement is in order to calm our members in these states and for them not to be distracted and that APC is well on ground. All efforts are made to solidify those gains and we shouldn’t be distracted by such unfortunate statements that the party is neglecting a particular person or group of persons.
“Some involve processes and you don’t expect everything to happen at the time. More importantly, there should be some decorum in what we do. People who have attained those high privileged positions should know that they have attained certain status in the society which they cannot afford to be talking any how,” he warned.
Speaking further, he said: “On the issue of consultation by the Mr. President, though I am not in the Villa, it is an open secret that whoever visited the President is no longer a secret. Whoever is meeting the President of Nigeria more than 20 people will know and the information will be shared.
“As a matter of fact, several times, Atiku Abubakar has visited Mr President and what they discussed, we don’t know but we know that he has visited. I am sure he is not just there to greet him. Those two leaders will meet without discussing one thing or the other,” he said.
Frowning at Aisha Alhassan’s comments on the 2019 Presidential election, he said: “I am sure that people will be eager to hear about our reaction to the conduct of the Minister of Women Affairs. People have right to express their opinion and views but those rights should be suspended if you find yourself as a member of the cabinet or party. There are certain things expected of you because it may send wrong signal of your commitment to the party and the person you are serving.
“As somebody who has accepted to serve, the right thing for her to do if she thinks that something is going wrong is for her to honourably quit. But the situation she created was the impression of blackmailing the President and thus will not be accepted by the party.
“It is too bad for her to make such suggestion in respect of her principal in public. This is something that she can discuss with her principal to let him (President) know her position.
“If she feels like making it public then she is saying that she is no longer comfortable with this situation and that if this situation should continue she is no longer comfortable with it. Whether President Buahri has said that he will recontest or not is immaterial, what is material is that serving Ministers should not be seen to be making public statements that suggest that they are not on the same page with the team because she is a member of a team.
“In order places the right thing is for her to resign, which means that she can no longer continue to be in this thing because her spirit and her thought is not in conformity with this team, so we can no more work together.
“She is entitled to that. So, she cannot eat her cake and have it, that is the situation. As high as that office is, people resign and leave on principle that if not that I’m a member of APC, I would not have accepted to serve but I’m not convinced still, so I think giving an opportunity to somebody else I will support him not you,” he said.