The days of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), are numbered as he is about to move out
of the main opposition party in a matter of weeks if not days, can
now report authoritatively.
His next destination is the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA),
where he is sure to pick the party’s presidential ticket, which has
been denied him at the PDP, where he defected to with a lot of
fanfare earlier in the year.
Atiku, sources say, has been told pump and plain by the PDP
power brokers that he would not get the party’s ticket for the 2019
presidential polls, as the party prefers a younger candidate without
“baggage” despite the huge pocket and enormous influence, which
he could put at its disposal, regardless of its current dire need of
rejuvenation, having been dealt a heavy blow with the loss of
central power in 2015.
A PDP chieftain told this paper that even with the profile being
flaunted in many quarters including the party that he is the only
candidate of the PDP that could single-handed take on President
Muhammadu Buhari, with his enormous wealth and influence,
many PDP stakeholders, particularly the PDP governors, a
powerful bloc within the party, remain unfazed and have practically
shut their doors in his face.
Here is the thing: “The governors and many other stakeholders
prefer a younger candidate. Yes, they recognise what Atiku can
bring to the table. They recognise his immense wealth and
intimidating political credentials, but they are also wary that the
slur cast on his image as a corrupt man, has stuck on him like a
second skin. It doesn’t matter that as Atiku and his camp have
always argued, nobody has been able to pin anything on him.
“There is this feeling within the PDP apparatchik that Buhari and
his party are actually waiting for the PDP to present Atiku as a
candidate for them to unleash the most destructive arsenal
against him and the party, even more ferocious than what they did
to (President Goodluck) Jonathan in 2019, using the Lagos media
that are firmly in the hands of (Asiwaju Ahmed) Tinubu.
“Yes, Atiku has what it takes, but what stands against him is also
quite high. At best, it’s a 50-50 chance, which they don’t want to
take. They have been begging Atiku to see reasons and are ready
to offer him whatever he wants in the party, including its entire
structure as long as he drops his ambition and support another
candidate with all he has. They believe if Atiku could drop his
ambition and support a fresh candidate, the presidency is for them
for the picking.
“But that one doesn’t also gel with Atiku, who doesn’t buy the
argument. He believes that he has the greatest stake in the party
as a founding member and the one with the highest ranking,
having held the position of VP, and is angry that some people are
pandering to the antics of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.”
“That is the stalemate that the party has been grappling till the
moment until things got to a head recently. So I can authoritatively
tell you that he is moving out of the party and we hear that he is
heading for APGA.”
Confirming the development, an APGA chieftain, the former Vice President has been
offered the presidential ticket on a platter with Soludo, a former
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the running
In fact, he confirmed that Soludo, who on two occasions tried his
hands on the governorship of Anambra State, after his stint with
the CBN, who facilitated the former VP’s APGA move and was sure
to run with him.
What was however difficult to ascertain, at the moment, is how
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State came into the mix and
how he was convinced to drop his alleged intention to support
Buhari for the 2019 election.
Recall that few weeks to the November, 2017 governorship election
in the state, Obiano was a guest of Buhari at the Presidential Villa
in Abuja, where a quid pro quo arrangement was allegedly sealed,
with the governor extracting a firm promise for Buhari not to
interfere in the election, even if he would not give his outright
support for Obiano’s second term bid in lieu for his (Obiano’s) full
support to the President’s 2019 bid.
Obiano, the National Leader and Chairman of the Board of Trustees
(BOT) of APGA, was at the head of a meeting, where the party took
the decision to field a candidate for the presidency in 2019, a
complete detour and repudiation of the promise to support Buhari.
Two scenarios have since emerged over the new political
development, could glean from political watchers. It is either Obiano, having gotten his second term, is
turning his back on the alleged agreement or is keeping to it in
Here is the argument, as an informed source put it: The governor
may have realised that Buhari is a hard sell, not only in Anambra
State, but in the entire South East and that the zone would throw its
weight behind any other candidate than the President, which could
effectively swing the election. So, he must have sold the gambit to
Buhari that it is better to support Atiku to completely destroy that
block vote and ensure that it does not go to a PDP candidate,
knowing that APGA has no chance of winning the election.
On the second hand, it could be against the backdrop of recent
revelation by Senate President, Bukola Saraki that the South West
is actually warming up for the Presidency in 2023, having
extracted the same promise from Buhari to hand over the nation’s
number one job to Tinubu, in lieu for supporting him in 2019.
As the APGA source, who confirmed that there was indeed a
working arrangement between Obiano and Buhari, put it, either of
the two scenarios could actually be playing out, as he claimed that
he was not in the know of the reason for the new development.
“Honestly I don’t know. But what I do know is that the Saraki
revelation is causing a lot of worry in the South East. Remember
for the first time since Buhari came in, South East governors,
actually took on him by declaring that their area has been
neglected in the scheme of things. To me and many people, that
statement says a lot of things. It is the first time they will be
breaking ranks with the President. May be they are angry that the
President has been playing games with the 2023 issue, which is
the only thing they can sell to the zone for supporting him. I have
told you the much I know,” he said.
Attempts to confirm the development from the Atiku camp, as calls
to his spokesman, Paul Ibe did not go through while messages
through text and WhatsApps were not replied, as at the time of
filing this report.
The days of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in the Peoples