Abuja — The campaign office of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has refuted the story in a section of the media that the presidential aspirant for the 2019 election has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Atiku's media adviser, Paul Ibe, had earlier told The Guardian in a brief telephone interview that the report was intended to cause some mischief to the ambition of his boss.A statement issued by Atiku's campaign office on Sunday described the report as a malicious attempt to confuse the public ahead of the forthcoming presidential primary election of the PDP.
"For the avoidance of any doubts, Atiku remains the frontline aspirant for the presidential ticket of the PDP," the statement stressed."In the past two months, Atiku Abubakar has moved across states in the country consulting with stakeholders of the PDP and explaining to them his agenda encapsulated in the acronym JOBS: Jobs, Opportunity, Being united and Security) for Nigeria. The nationwide consultations continues this week with visits to the South West, North West and North Central zones of the country."
Meanwhile, the party has urged the Nigeria Police to come out clear on the 'fact-finding' invitation extended to Former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode, to appear on Tuesday for alleged conspiracy, criminal defamation and inciting publication.The PDP said while it was not against any lawful step by the police in carrying out its duties, the security agency must ensure that it is not being used by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in its desperate quest to muzzle free speech and subjugate Nigerians, particularly the opposition, ahead of the 2019 general election.
In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP declared that the explanation became imperative particularly as the letter inviting Fani -Kayode did not state in specific terms, the alleged issues or conduct bordering on "conspiracy, criminal defamation, inciting publication, injurious falsehood and conduct likely to cause breach of peace" for which he has been invited.
"We hope that the invitation is not a set up and part of the design to emasculate citizens, which is now being unleashed on media houses, journalists and other citizens for alleged comments and publications considered to be against the interest of the ruling party.
"This is because reports, already available in credible media, have it that Fani-Kayode's invitation 'may not be unconnected' with an interview he granted the Africa Independent Television (AIT) where he reportedly controverted claims by the Presidency and the APC that it was Senate President Bukola Saraki that masterminded the widely condemned invasion of the National Assembly," the statement added.
According to the PDP, "the recent detention of the Premium Times reporter, the arraignment of Senator Isah Misau for allegedly making injurious statement against the IG of Police, the invitation of Mr. Kassim Afegbua, the spokesman of former military President Ibrahim Babangida for issuing a statement considered critical to this administration and the recent demolition of the studio of Flash FM in Ibadan, Oyo State capital for allegedly airing materials considered against the interest of the APC in the state, readily come to mind."