A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has dismissed as “sponsored stories,” reports that the party had zoned him out of the presidential contest following a new arrangement.
A statement issued by his media handlers quoted the former Vice President as saying at no time did the party’s Convention Planning Committee or its recently-dissolved Interim National Executive Council (NEC) discuss the issue of zoning of elective offices outside the positions of leadership of the party which were filled at the convention held on Friday.
Mr. Abubakar is from Adamawa State in the North East geo-political zone. He ran for the topmost political office in 2007 on the platform of the defunct Action Congress, AC, but lost. In 2011, Mr. Abubakar ran in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential primaries, but was defeated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to the APC’s zoning arrangement, the South-South zone produced the national chairman while the North East produced the National Secretary.
“As for the presidential ticket, the position of all organs of the party is that it is open to all Nigerians irrespective of where they come from,” the former vice president said.
The statement described as “a hatchet job for Aso Rock” a front page lead story in Saturday’s edition of a newspaper titled “Atiku Zoned Out”. It accused the presidency of being scared of the prospect of Mr. Jonathan facing Mr. Abubakar in 2015.
It also accused the newspaper of abandoning principles and its responsibility to the public “by uncritically accepting and mechanically reproducing editorials, opinions and reports” from the Villa.”
“Atiku’s chances have never been better, given the climate of democracy and freedom in the APC” said the media office, which also disclosed that the former Vice President will at any moment from now be making a pronouncement on if, when and how he will be making a declaration.
It conveyed Mr. Abubakar’s appeal to all his well-wishers, supporters and the general public to disregard such false reports, which it said are designed to deter him from offering his services to Nigerians.