The presidency on Tuesday said former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar is on sabbatical in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that he would soon return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Prof. Rufai Alkali, stated this in Abuja when members of the 120 Atiku Abubakar Support Groups in the South-west formally defected to the PDP from the APC.
Also, the Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, assured the defecting members from the APC of automatic membership and full privileges in the PDP.
Alkali maintained that though the former vice-president was in the opposition, he had always been a PDP man and expressed hope that he would return to the party before the general election.
Alkali, however, called on Nigerians to ensure that they had their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) to enable them vote for President Goodluck Jonathan in the coming elections.
He maintained that a vote for the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan was a vote for the future and a vote that would ensure the continued development of the country.
Meanwhile, Secondus, who received the group on behalf of the party’s national chairman, assured them of equal opportunity with other members of the party.
“You are all in the right place, and I want to assure you that you have equal right with those who had been here for long.
“You are free to involve and engage in all the party activities and especially at this time when we are on the campaign, and election is coming,’’ he said.
He held that there was no better time for the group to join the PDP and to declare their support for President Jonathan and other candidates of the party than now.
Seconds maintained that Jonathan was a rallying point and the symbol of the country’s unity.
Also in his remarks, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while welcoming the group to the party, described the APC as a party that was made up of characters that were not compatible.
He stressed that the PDP was however, not ready to join issues with the APC, adding that President Jonathan was one leader who had conquered sentiments in Nigerian politics.
The minister added that the president had not only positively impacted on all sectors of the nation’s economy, but had ensured that all Nigerians were given opportunity to excel irrespective of party affiliation.
Senator Bariga Amage, who coordinated the defection of the groups to the PDP, commended them for their courage and called on others to follow suit.
He, however, described the former vice president as a true democrat for allowing his supporters to come back to the PDP to support the re-election bid of President Jonathan and other candidates of the party.
He, however, added that it was about time Atiku returned to the PDP, a house he joined to build.
Present at the event, were Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Deputy Director General of the PDP presidential campaign organisation and PDP National Secretary Prof. Wale Oladipo.
Also present were some members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and some of its stakeholders.