The All Progressives Congress (APC), North-west zone, has refuted claims by the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that he was sidelined by the Buhari government after the party had deployed his money and influences to win the 2015 presidential election.
Abubakar had told the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) that he was side-lined by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
However, the APC Zonal Chairman, Inuwa Abdulkadir, while speaking to journalists at the APC National Secretariat on Friday, said the former Vice-President’s claim made it look like there is a crack in the party.
He further cautioned Atiku Abubakar against such statements in the future; stressing that they are false.
Abdulkadir said: “Atiku Abubakar is a very important member of this party. He is one of the leaders of this party and I have no doubt about his contribution to building this party. He also added value with his personality during the last election.
“When you reach that statue and age there are certain things you have to come to terms with, most important of which is to exhibit a high sense of decorum in your conduct. What I mean is that 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.
“Of recent, Atiku has made some statements to the effect that or 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 such 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 that there is a crack in the house and in the party or that the party is not doing all that which it ought to.
“Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have been here to respond to certain statements because 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. I know that in the North West zone which I represent, we had eight presidential campaign rallies and Atiku did not attend any.
“Yes, he added value by his personality, but there are so many other members of the party, who made financial contribution 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 why I am making this statement is to calm our members in these states and not to be distracted and that APC is well on ground as all efforts are being made to solidify those gains and we shouldn’t be distanced by such unfortunate statements which are suggesting that the party is neglecting a particular person or group persons.
“Some of these things are processes and you don’t expect everything to happen at the same time. More importantly, there should 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 and so, they cannot afford to talk anyhow.
“On the issue of consultation by Mr. President, though I don’t work 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.
“On party meetings, I know that immediately after convention where Buhari was nominated as the party flag bearer, there were a number of leadership meetings which he participated. Also, there were formal party meetings, some of which were held in the Villa and he was present.
“There were some meetings here at the National secretariat including two NEC meetings which he attended and other functions of the party. So the claim that the party only met once is not correct.”