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Nigeria's Opposition Party Chooses Vice President Atiku Abubakar as Presidential Candidate

In Nigeria, opposition Action Congress (AC) party has chosen Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate for next year’s general elections. This follows mounting hostility between Atiku and President Obasanjo, with both men accusing each other of looting public funds. Sources say Atiku’s defection would enable Obasanjo to declare the vice president's position vacant, which might trigger a constitutional crisis ahead of the elections.

Shehu Garuba is the spokesman of Vice President Atiku Abubakar. He talked about Abubakar’s acceptance to stand on the ticket of the opposition Action congress Party.

“The vice President was elected on the same ticket as President Obasanjo on the platform of the People’s Democratic party (PDP), and as you can see, the PDP has literally shut its door against the vice president for reason perhaps only the president can explain. So the vice president has gone to court and the judiciary has said no, the party was wrong to have suspended the vice president,” he said.

Garuba continued, “So it follows that the vice president should seek another avenue through which he can realize his own political aspirations and that is how he now ended with the Action Congress Party which ticket he picked up this afternoon,” Garuba noted.

He said though the vice president is not pleased with his move to the opposition Action Congress party, he would not tolerate what Garuba called the undemocratic practices in the ruling party.

“I can tell you the vice president is not the happiest man over the situation of things in the PDP. But one would also be unrealistic to think that people will sit there, fold their arms and continue to tolerate the kind of things that are going on in the PDP. You must be aware that PDP by their own choice destroyed its internal democracy,” he said

Garuba said the ruling PDP has been hijacked by President Obasanjo and his followers, who, he said, dictate who gets what.

“The party is now commanded by retired military officers and the president has pocketed it. So, if you are not in the good books of the president, you don’t have any future in the PDP,” he said.

Garuba said Nigerians are not pleased with the ruling party because it has not made good on its promise to better their lives.

“If you have a reading of the general disenchantment of Nigerians with the PDP and the huge yearning for change in the affairs of governance in this country, you can see that the best platform on which anybody can realize changes that Nigerians yearn for should be to move away from the PDP,” he said.

Garuba praised the opposition Action Congress party, saying it’s a party that would bring the change that Nigerians want.

“The Action congress party, is a party of change and eight to ninety percent of Nigerians polled have said in various ways that they were better off seven years ago than they now are,” he said.

Garuba said the vice president is by far the most viable candidate in next year’s presidential elections.

“Vice president Atiku Abubakar has a broad support coming from all over Nigeria unlike a typical Nigerian politician. In fact I will tell you that Atiku is today the most acceptable Nigerian in all four corners of this federation…In any case by consensus, politicians have agreed that the next president of Nigeria would be produced by the Northern part of the country,” he said.