Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar at the weekend confirmed his interest to contest the 2019 presidential election under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP).
Atiku recently re-joined the (PDP) after falling out with the President Buhari administration and the leadership of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) on which platform he contested the 2015 presidential election primaries and lost.
Atiku is not new to presidential race in the country, having contested in previous presidential elections; losing out in the primaries or main election.
In 2007, he contested for the presidency on the platform of the defunt Action Congress, (AC) but was third after the elections, behind the late Umaru Yar’adua and incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari.
Furthermore, in 2011, shortly after returning to the PDP, he contested the party presidential primaries and lost to then president Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2015 he contested the presidential primaries of the APC and lost, placing last.
Earlier in the botched third republic, Abubakar had contested the primaries of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP) and lost, placing a distance third.
Having declared his interest to run again to run for president in the 2015 general elections, Abubakar may have to brace up to contest the ticket of the PDP with several other aspirants, notably former Jigawa state Governor Sule Lamido, former caretaker Chairman of PDP and Governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Markafi, Gombo and state Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo, among others.
However, one question that has consistently been on the lips of some Nigerians is; how did Atiku Abubakar amass his stupendous wealth?
He has however consistently challenged anyone who has evidence of corruption against him to come forward with proof.
Perharp, Atiku needs to do more to convince Nigerians, that he is not corrupt as he is being constantly tagged by some of his critics.
What may however work in Atiku’s favour is that he is among the few politicians in the country who is accepted, popular and has large support in the other geo-political zones, especially in the southern part of the country, apart from the north.
National president of the PDP Youth cultural Alliance Nextwork, Fabiyi Oladimeji, said that Atiku was the most equipped presidential aspirant to lead the country out of it current woes, adding that even the APC was working against his emergence.
“Atiku’s chances are very bright as one of the founding fathers of the party. A man with enormous democratic credentials, along with the fact that he has support across geographical and other segments across the country. The leaders of the party are alive and awake to the trends in the country; that Atiku is the biggest choice of the party members and Nigerians.
“Atiku is the most prepared for the office, with the requisite capacity and experience to lead Nigeria back to greatness and regain its lost glory.
“Even the APC is working hard to make sure that Atiku does not get the ticket of the party because he is their major headache and can he defeat Buhari.
“Where is the corruption issue? A few months ago, he challenged Nigerians with proof of corruption against him to come forward with such evidence and till today no one has come forward. That settles it, Atiku is not corrupt”. Oladimeji said.
One issue that continues to dominate discuss among Nigerians leading up the general elections, is the call for restructuring of the country and a return to true federalism. Being a key proponent of restructuring, and with his promise to dissolve power to federating units if elected, Atiku would surely be a candidate to beat, if he is given the PDP ticket.
Political analyst and lecturer in the department of political science, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Emmanuel Onah, admitted that Atiku would be a major contender for the PDP ticket, but added that it may be too early to know who would clinch the PDP ticket.
Onah, dismissed the Obasanjo’s factor, against insinuations that the former president would never support the emergency of Atiku as the president of the country. He described Obasanjo as irrelevant.
“2009 is still a long way to go, it is too early to say if he would emerge as the PDP candidates. All the candidates have not declared their interest. There is no doubt that if he declares, he would be a major contender for the party ticket.
“Whether or not he would win the ticket depends on a lot of other factors; would the PDP give him a waiver to contest the primaries, he just returned to the party? There are other candidates likely to declare soon; Markafi, Lamido and the others, we can’t say, because we have not seen all the candidates yet.
“I don’t believe in the Obasanjo factor. Obasanjo is not a member of any party, he is not a member of PDP. The issue of influence, yes for a long time, he has not been crucial to emergence of any president. He cannot be ignored. As a former vice president, he has his connections, but I don’t think he has been a factor.
“He did not have much influence in the Jonathan election, he would not be a factor. Agreed, he would make statements that people would agree with, but that does not mean that people would act according to what he says”. Onah said.