Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Saturday put paid to speculation about his next political destination when he formally announced his return to the PDP.
The former vice president who made the announcement on Facebook, noted that the issues that led to his exit from the PDP have now been resolved.
According to his media office, Atiku’s return followed consultations he had with party leaders and stakeholders from across the country.
Declaring his return to PDP, Atiku knocked his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for letting the youths down, particularly in the area of job creation.
He boasted about his ability to generate jobs, adding that he created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in his home state of Adamawa.
After resigning from the APC two weeks ago, speculations were rife that the former VP was heading for his former party, PDP, where he is expected to contest for its presidential ticket ahead of 2019.
While the PDP had welcomed his resignation from the APC, it however noted that Atiku would not get its presidential ticket on a platter of gold, as he would have to fulfill the constitutional requirements of the party just like every other aspirant.
Announcing his return to the party yesterday, Atiku said, “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 ten 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% 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.
“But rather than giving a long political speech on this matter I thought it would be more helpful to invite you to ask me questions and share with you my answers. You can post your questions on my Facebook page: facebook.com.atiku.org”.
Explaining his choice of Facebook Live to announce his decision, Atiku stated: “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”.
The former VP continued: “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 telecomms 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”.
He further fielded questions on the Facebook platform.
Responding to a question from a person simply called Jide, on how he can know what young people want when he is not a youth”, Atiku said, “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 they may lead to criminality are a symptom of the disease of joblessness.
“Once you can get Nigeria working again and get Nigerians working again, youth restiveness will ease and gradually disappear.”