Atiku Abubakar’s loss in the 2019 presidential election to President Muhammdu Buhari should have been his last attempt to the presidential seat. Many political analysts assumed that the Waziri of Adamawa would hang his political boot and retire into elder statesman-hood. That looked quite certain until the Peoples Democratic Party committee established to review the party’s performance in the 2019 general election released a report.
In the report, the committee recommended that the party forgo zoning which would have been zoned to the south and instead make the presidential ticket open to any candidate from the six geopolitical zones. While this seems like a democratic move that gave anyone the opportunity to participate in a level-playing ground, political observers already know the scale tilts towards the north. It is clear that the party would give credence to a northern candidate as a way of winning the northern populace over to defeat whoever the ruling All Progressives Congress presents in 2023.
At the moment, there is no northern candidate in the PDP that has the political astuteness, experience, wealth and pull of Atiku. He contested in the Social Democratic Party primary election in 1993 but lost to Moshood Abiola. When Nigeria returned to democratic rule, Atiku served as vice president for eight years under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007. During his time in office, many described him as almost as powerful as his boss. He contested in the 2007 presidential election on the platform of Action Congress but lost to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
In 2011, Atiku again contested in the PDP presidential election but lost to Goodluck Jonathan. In 2015 he moved to the All Progressives Congress and participated in the presidential primary election but lost to eventual winner, Muhammadu Buhari.
In 2019, Atiku moved again to the PDP and participated in the presidential election and again lost to Buhari in what many thought would be his last attempt. However, the PDP’s recommendation has opened an opportunity someone like Atiku would not want to pass off. However, in the interest of Nigeria, Atiku and other members of the old guard need to stay away from Nigeria’s political space and allow new breeds of leaders come into office. The best he can do for the country is to offer elder statesman advice and allow new captains steer the ship
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