Atiku said members of the party must be united and work together in order to win the election in 2023.
Addressing members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party, the former vice-president said some of them would retire from politics in eight years.
“I am worried and you should be worried too that if we do not win, it means we will be in opposition again for the next eight years,” he said.
“By the next eight years, I don’t know how many will be left in politics and it may even ultimately lead to the death of the party because people gravitate, particularly in developing countries, towards governments.
“Ordinary, people naturally gravitate towards the government. So this is a very crucial and historical moment in history for our survival, I want you to think about it. We are now at a crucial moment in this country. For many of you here, it is either we retire together or we move on together.”
While commending the performance of the party in the 2019 election, Atiku said the PDP can do better in 2023 if members work in unity.
“Somebody said that we recorded 12 million votes during the last election. Those are not only my votes, those were our votes. In achieving or recording those 11 million votes, it was all of us and I believe if we work together again, we can surpass those votes,” he said.
On zoning, the former vice-president said while he is not opposed to rotating the presidency, he has paid his dues and believes it is time for him to take the reins as president.
“In the party, we invented and formulated this zoning policy simply because we wanted every part of this country to have a sense of belonging and I personally have paid my dues on the issue of zoning,” he said.
“Many of you were members of our government when all the PDP governors came in 2003 and said I should run and I said no. We have agreed that power should remain in the south-west, Why should I?
“Some of those governors that supported me, some of them went to jail, some of them were kicked out of their offices, we made sure that we kept the policy. Therefore, you cannot come and try to imply that the PDP has not been following the zoning policy.
“Some say the south-east has not been given the chance. When I joined the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) which my friend Bola (Tinubu) set up, he gave me a set of conditions for giving me the ticket, one of which was that I should make him the vice-president.
“I said no, ‘I’m not going to make you vice-president,’ instead, I took senator Ben Obi. So there is absolutely no reason they should say that there is a deliberate attempt to exclude the south-east in political participation or power-sharing.
“So I thought I should disabuse your mind and of course, as an enlightened political class, I don’t think there’s any deliberate policy to exclude anybody in this country.”