…As Sarumi wants Presidency door shut on ex-military leaders for 50 years
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- Members of the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, a political group founded by late former Chief of General Staff (Supreme Headquarters), General Shehu Yar’Adua, have, Friday in Abuja, unanimously adopted Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as PDM’s consensus candidate for the 2019 Presidential election.
The group, after a meeting held at the Shehu Yar’ Adua Centre, said it was gratifying to note that one of its founding members emerged a candidate of one of the biggest political parties participating in the election.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the group said it came to the inevitable conclusion of “endorsing the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar as our consensus candidate.”
The group also called on key participants in the electoral process to play by the rules, stressing that everything possible must be done to make the 2019 elections peaceful, credible, free and fair.
According to it, “The tension that has been generated by the 2019 elections is getting to a disturbing proportion and we call on all actors in the electoral process to ensure that peace ensues before, during and after the elections.
“We call on the security operatives to be impartial and to focus on their main mandate of preserving and protecting the lives and property of every Nigerian and foreigners alike.
“Politicians should refrain from making insidious statements and anyone caught going against this should be duly prosecuted.
“We demand of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, complies strictly with the provisions of the relevant laws in its conduct of the upcoming series of elections,” the group resolved even as it called on election monitors and voters to conduct themselves peacefully and in a manner that conforms to decent behaviour.
Though members of PDM belong to various political parties, its national chairman, Bode Ajewole, said they resolved to rally behind Atiku’s quest for the highest elective office given his contribution to the growth of democracy in the country.
He said, “It is noteworthy to point out that even though membership in this political family cuts across all the major political parties in the country, it has always been our prayers that one of our own be given the opportunity to showcase our outstanding leadership qualities irrespective of the political parties that throws up such a candidate for as long as he/she is a member of the political family.
“To this end, and with the 2019 Presidential election exactly a week away, it has become incumbent on us, as founding members of the Yar’Adua political family, PDM, to lend our voice to the conversations around the epochal electoral contest.
“We are conscious of our position as proud members of the oldest political organization in contemporary Nigeria and it is noteworthy to say that this particular election cycle presents itself as a test to the virility of democratic governance in our country.”
In what appeared a veiled dig at President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, former Minister of Information, Chief Dapo Sarumi, called on Nigerians to turn their backs on ex-military leaders with intent to lead the country as president.
According to him, “men in khaki, having ruled for several years since the attainment of political independence in 1960, should give room to pure, undiluted civilians for the next 50 years.”
Without mentioning names, he carpeted a leader whom he accused of making clannish appointments, urging Nigerians not to reinforce failure, going forward.
“The military distorted up to 80 per cent of our political leadership. The civilian only had 20 per cent. Nigerians must not reinforce failure by appointing a village head. We must not reinforce failure by appointing someone who believes he can work with only a group of people he can trust. How can we trust you to give us justice?
“We should be able to trust our own, Atiku Abubakar. Let us trust one of own who is not in khaki,” he counselled.
Convener of the meeting, Chief Ejiofor Onyia, said the family chose to come together having drifted apart for years, stressing that in the event of Atiku’s election, the bridge dreamt about by the late Yar’Adua would have been completed.