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After Atiku’s exit, Presidency woos Tinubu

…Tinubu not a baby in politics – Afenifere

By Ayo Fadimu

Few days after the exit of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Presidency has started wooing former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who had been relegated to the background after helping the party to secure victory at the 2015 presidential election.

Sources close to the Nigerian NewsDirect reliably informed our correspondent that President Muhammadu Buhari was advised to quickly reach out to Tinubu who was one of the five major pillars that secured victory for APC in 2015.

The five pillars are former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Tinubu, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso and President Buhari.

Out of the four men that supported Buhari, only Tinubu and Saraki still have their loyal men in all strategic positions in the party at local government, state and federal levels. Both Atiku and  Kwankwaso are practically not in the party again as the duo have set up presidential campaign organizations.

Saraki has also promised to announce his next political step in February 2018. However, sources close to the Senate President said he might consider running for presidency now that he is close to the seat. Saraki currently occupies number three seat in the country by the virtue of being the Senate President.

Sources close to the Presidency revealed to Nigerian NewsDirect that while there might be replacement for Kwankwaso in Northwest, where Buhari also hails from and in North East for Atiku where Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Dogara hails from, there is no powerful politician that can pull the crowd in the Southwest like Tinubu.

“The Presidency has seen that all the governors and Ministers working against Tinubu in the Southwest cannot deliver for the President without the support of Tinubu in 2019, that’s why the President is retracing his steps before it is  too late,” said the source said.

The two leaders jet out to Ivory Coast this week. On their return, Buhari said, “Our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu has revealed many vital information to me”.

Some of the terms of return of Tinubu to the inner caucus of APC “power centre” is control of the party in the Southwest and also to determine who gets what in the party from the zone.

Our sources also revealed that Buhari will also carry him along on all issues that concern the party especially on appointments and national issues.

In the meantime, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere said Tinubu is not a child in politics who should be told this is left and right.

The spokesman of the group. Yinka Odumakin told our correspondent in Lagos yesterday.

Odumakin said Tinubu was in a position to weigh his options very well.

Many Yoruba elders have frowned at the manner the Presidency treated Tinubu after being sworn in but Odumakin insisted that Tinubu was a master of the game who knows what is good for him.

“He can always act on his conviction” Odumakin said.

In the meantime, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Sunday, announced his formal return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Atiku announced his return live on Facebook following what he called his consultations with party leaders and stakeholders from across the country.

He said: “Today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.”

Full text of his  declaration speech is reproduced below;

“Hello, my name is Atiku Abubakar. I am speaking to you today on Facebook live as I want to reach as many of our young people as possible as I have an important announcement to make about the future of Nigeria. As it is you, our youths, who represent the future of our nation.

I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversations with young people their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job for without a job they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family.

And without the security of a job we cannot have security in our country.

So, without jobs there is no future for you or for Nigeria.

And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well.

Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my own State of Adamawa.

And I also know how the Government can help create the right environment for businesses to create jobs. When I was Vice President in 1999, I was responsible for liberalising the telecoms sector which enabled us to increase the number of people who could access a phone from less than 1 million then to over 100 million today.

This transformation resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that fed off the mobile phone revolution.

Some of you may know that I was elected Vice President under the banner of the PDP, which is the political party I had helped to found some 10 years before.

And some of you may also know that I left the PDP four years ago when I believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice upon which we had founded it.

I joined the APC as I had hoped it would be the new force that would help improve life for our people and I was excited about the party’s manifesto to create 3 million new jobs a year.

The result has not been the change people had been promised or voted for, as in the last two years almost 3 million Nigerians have lost their jobs.

And today with a record 25 per cent of people aged 18-25 unemployed, I can see how difficult it is for our youths to find a job.

The key to creating jobs is a strong economy and that is what we are currently lacking.

So, today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.

The declaration was followed by some questions posed online by several fans.

The first shot was how I could deal with the problem of Nigerian youths when he is over 70 years old.

His response: I meet young people every day. I have children and grandchildren and most of my employees are youths. The key to knowing what young people want is to listen to them. I’m good at that. Sometimes when I am on the phone with my kids they ask me are you still there, because I just listen to them without interrupting. Young people are on social media and so I go there. They tell me that their number one challenge is jobs.

Terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, and other forms of exuberance that may lead to criminality are a symptom of the disease of joblessness.

Once you can get Nigeria working again, youth restiveness will ease and gradually disappear,” he concluded.”

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