Atiku’s return unsettles PDP, Lamido’s supporters wary
Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) convention, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and key ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Sunday he had joined the country’s main opposition party after quitting the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last month.
But his return to the PDP has resulted in serious realignment as sources within the party caucus hinted that supports of Sule Lamido, another strong contender for the Presidential ticket of the party are not taking lightly the various remarks credited to Atiku in which he spoke with a note of finality that he would win against Buhari in the 2019 election.
“We understand that to mean that Atiku must have reached an agreement with some power brokers in the party that he would be given the Presidential ticket. We view this as authoritarian and very undemocratic. You don’t begin to celebrate victory even before the whistle is blown for the commencement of the match”, a Lamido supporter and campaigner told our reporter.
Beyond contending with other Presidential aspirants from the North, the former Vice President also has a hurdle to cross in his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo with whom he bickered with for most part of their second term in office.
Atiku is the first political heavyweight to signal a potential bid for the presidency, which could pit him against the 74-year-old Buhari. Buhari took power in 2015, but illness has kept him absent for much of this year.
Atiku is prepared to run for president in 2019, a spokesman said last month when he left the APC. He did not indicate on Sunday whether he would try to become the opposition People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP‘s) presidential candidate.
He rejoined the PDP after four years because it has resolved its issues, he said, according to a statement on Sunday. He had left the PDP because he “believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice,” he said.
In Sunday’s statement, Atiku criticized the APC for letting down the Nigerian people by failing to create a strong economy and jobs, especially for the young, with one quarter of 18-25 year olds unemployed.