The candidate of the Peoples Democrat i c Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar returned to Nigeria yesterday after seven months stay in Dubai. Coincidentally, yesterday was his 73rd birthday. His media adviser, Paul Ibe, posted on his Twitter page, a picture of Atiku and his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, when the latter came to welcome him and wish him a happy birthday. But Ibe said Atiku came back to Nigeria not just to mark his birthday but to attend the seventh day prayer of his aide, Umar Pariya. Pariya, whom Atiku described as “much more than a longstanding aide,” died last week in Dubai. Ibe said the late Pariya was with the former vice president when he was with the Nigerian Customs Service, and left with him when Atiku was “frustrated” out of the service.
The message, which was signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, regretted that at the time the nation would have been enjoying the dividends of Atiku’s blueprint for economic recovery and political stability, “our citizens are rather groaning under prevailing harsh economic policies, excruciating multiple taxes, worsened security situation and degenerated poverty in the land.
“Indeed, Atiku Abubakar leads the trail in the hope for a much-desired national rebirth, anchored on purposeful leadership where the overall interest of the people is over and above selfish personal interests.” The former vice president left the shores of the country amidst allegations of plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government to frame him on trumped up criminal allegations. His petition against President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection was thrown out by the Supreme Court.