Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former vice president, is one of the heavyweights who is expected to contest for the highest office in Nigeria, come 2019 general election.
But the former vice president has many factors working against him.
Barely a year and five months to the next presidential election, Atiku would have to overcome some forces to get to the hot presidential seat, the Sun reports.
Some of the factors Atiku needs to overcome is believed to include:
1. The Obasanjo factor
Desite the fact that Atiku has sought to reconcile with his former boss, the duo still have a frosty relationship according to reports. Some people even believe Obasanjo is out to kill Atiku politically.
The former president, though retired is believed very influential in the political scene in Nigeria. His support is also believed to be critical to anybody contesting for the presidency under Nigeria’s present political configuration.
Ekiti state Governor, Ayo Fayose, is said to have said in a recent interview that: “Obasanjo told me that when you capture a General and you don’t kill him, he will come back and kill you; that since Atiku tried to stop him and failed, he must pay for it. And he (Atiku) is still paying for it.”
2. Mallam Nasir El-rufai force
Some people believed Atiku was instrumental in bringing Nasir El-rufai, the Kaduna state governor into the Obasanjo administration and making him the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and eventually a minister.
They have since fallen apart.
Atiku sometime in November 2016 accused the governor and former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, of betrayal.
In his response, El-rufai said: “Alhaji Atiku is already running for 2019, and he thinks that he can make people like us collateral damage in his attempt to rejuvenate his image. This obsession for power inclined him to support the rebellion against the party that manifested in the National Assembly, and is continuing with obvious disrespect for the incumbent president. Everyone knows that I support and will continue to work for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari as he leads our country through tough times.”
Atiku is believed to be one of those who would stick with Buhari to the very end.
3. Corruption allegations
Many still see him as a corrupt leader. The corruption tag was foisted on him during his trouble his his then boss, Obasanjo.
Unfortunately, Atiku is yet to shake off this tag.
The former vice president recently lashed out at those portraying him as corrupt in the mainstream media, describing them as self-righteous political enemies.
“It is sickening to continue to regurgitate allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office,” he said.
4. Political platform to ride on
The political platform where the former vice president will run is exoected to pose a major challenge.
Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman of the APC, had in may this year declared that President Buhari would be given the right of first refusal for the party’s presidential ticket in the 2019 election.
The implication is that if Buhari chooses to seek re-election, Atiku is very unlikely to get the ticket of the APC.
However, unconfirmed reports have it that Atiku is one of those being wooed by the PDP to return to the party and fly the party’s presidential flag in 2019.
“The question I ask people who say that is this: what is the desperation about somebody following his dream? When you are so passionate about something, what is the desperation there? If you can say Atiku is desperate, you would also tell me that President Buhari was desperate. After the 2011 election, President Buhari told the world that he was not going to run again. The rest is history but today, he is the president. For me, it is not out of desperation but patriotic zeal and dedication towards one’s fatherland,” said Atiku’s former campaign director and the National President, All Atiku Support Groups, Oladimeji Fabiyi.
5. Buhari’s acceptance in the North and his second coming
Many people believe that with a Buhari candidacy, it is unlikely that the North would vote for Atiku, given the president’s popularity in the region.
Preye Aganaba, a founding member of the APC, Bayelsa stated recently noted: “I don’t think for now that the APC has any other choice than to re-elect President Buhari, though people are free to contest; nobody is stopping them. This is APC where we usually have free and fair primaries. The last presidential primaries in Lagos, President Buhari won more than half of the votes. During the last APC presidential primaries, the campaign slogan for Buhari was ‘12 million assured votes’ and I don’t think one single vote has left that 12 million assured votes. In fact, more has even been added.”
6. Power rotation arrangement
It seems there is also an unwritten power-sharing agreement between the north and the south every eight years. It was consolidated in 2007 when former president Obasanjo, a southerner, handed over power to the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua after eight years (1999 -2007). The mechanism was devised to keep the peace in the country.
It remain to be seen how Atiku would convinced the power brokers in the south that he would serve for a single term in office and quit in 2023.
7. His image among the masses
Atiku’s image among the masses is believed not to be so good. The damage caused by the trouble between him and Obasanjo has damaged his image among the masses.
The former governor who has been touted as a potential candidate for the 2019 presidency said blackmail would not help the existing democracy in the country.