The Labour party has said that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar should be given an automatic ticket to run for the Presidency in the 2019 general elections, if he eventually returns to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
The LP said that Atiku would be a better and sellable presidential candidate for the PDP, rather than the former national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff and the National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, both of who he said had been at loggerheads over the 2019 ticket of the PDP.
Atiku recently resigned his membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress, giving room for speculations that he might be heading to the PDP, where he would eventually pick its presidential candidate slot for the 2019 polls. Following this development, the leadership of the main opposition PDP has already said that if Atiku eventually rejoins the party, he will not be given any preferential treatment and would have to contest for its presidential ticket along with other interested individuals.
But the Chairman of the LP in Ogun State, Comrade Abayomi Arabambi, said in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abeokuta that the former vice president’s party should grant him an automatic ticket, should he consider returning to the PDP.
Arabambi, therefore, urged Makarfi and Modu-Sheriff to give Atiku the opportunity to contest the next presidential election on the party’s platform.
“He (Atiku) should be given an automatic ticket. The cause of internal wrangling in the PDP then was that Ali Modu-Sheriff and Makarfi wanted to run for Presidency. The two of them should step down and give it to a neutral person. He should just come around and let them work for him, because he has a name and political clout better than two of them,” he said.
Arabambi, who also backed the former VP’s decision to leave the APC, said that Atiku had the constitutional right to leave one party and move to another.
The LP boss accused APC of using Atiku’s large war chest to bankroll its 2015 presidential election that brought in President Muhammadu Buhari only for the ruling party to sideline him after taking over the reins of governance from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“You can hear the former vice president accusing them (APC) of neglecting him. These are the people that financed the election and victory of the APC against the then ruling PDP. I am not a PDP member, but you see, as far as Nigeria is concerned, whatever that is going to affect us, we have the right to talk about it. Atiku Abubakar, the decision he took is very good, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Arambabi maintained that the ruling APC had failed Nigerians and had no reason to have neglected Atiku, who was one of those who helped them to get to power.
He, therefore, advised the leadership of the PDP to accept Atiku back into their party, whenever he made the move to rejoin.
“Of course, he should be accepted back into the PDP. That’s a house he helped to build; so, why will anyone say that he should not be accepted back into the PDP. He is free to go back because that’s his “natural habitat,” the LP chairman said.