He has never hidden his ambition to be the president of Nigeria. In fact he has held that ambition more than anybody else.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is in the news again as his opponents accuse him of being behind the crisis in the ruling
APC in order to achieve his presidential ambition in 2019. EMMA ALOZIE looks at Atiku’s one final push to actualizing this long
ATIKU Abubakar, former vice president has probably held a presidential ambition longer than any other living Nigerian. So his inability to bring that long held ambition to fruition cannot be for lack of preparation. In fact, it can be argued that he has a better economic blueprint than any other presidential aspirant at least in recent history.
However, in the long time he has held this lofty ambition, which dates back to the early 1990s, his name has only made it once to the ballot paper in any general election. And that was in 2007, when as a sitting vice president under a Peoples Democratic Party government; he contested on the platform of the South Western based Action Congress, which is now defunct.
In the two subsequent times he aspired, he never made it out of the party primaries, even when he emerged as a Northern consensus candidate in 2011 and contested the PDP’s primary with former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2015 when he doggedly contested the presidential primaries of the now ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, he came a distant third behind President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Musa Kwankwaso.
Therefore it can be safely concluded that what is holding Atiku from realising this lifetime ambition of being Nigeria’s president is his inability to run in a general election under a truly national party. His admirers and followers will tell you that he is not lacking in capacity or national appeal to win a nationwide election, rather what seems to be lacking is that extra party spread for proper mobilisation. The financial war chest to finance a general election is believed not to be a hindrance.
This perhaps explains the recent scramble ahead of 2019, which has unfortunately
themselves with President Buhari and hijack his presidency under the pretext of loving him more than anyone else. These political ventriloquists are hiding behind the cover of anonymity to achieve their sinister agenda of making Atiku the fall guy in the unfolding political developments,” Atiku’s media office said.
Hard as Atiku may try, there are three factors that may ultimately hold his ambition to ransom. The three factors are the Tinubu factor, the Obasanjo factor and the perception factor.
The Tinubu factor
The crisis testing the will and capacity of the ruling APC currently has been blamed on Tinubu/Atiku feud. It is believed that Atiku wants to hijack the structure of the party, which is currently believed to be with Tinubu. The calculation is simple; if it is true that President Buhari is only interested in completing one term in office, then Atiku’s loyalists believe that it would be easier for him (Atiku) to clinch the party’s ticket in 2019 and ride to power. However, this may remain a pipe dream if Tinubu’s grip on the party is not loosened. This perhaps explains more than
long as Obasanjo remains a huge political factor in Nigeria, he shall continue to scupper Atiku’s presidential quest, despite the recent outburst of Atiku that he does not care what Obasanko’s thinks about him.
Though he recently dismissed Obasanjo when he said, “As far as I am concerned, Obasanjo may believe that he scuttled my presidential ambition, but I believe it is about God. If God says I will be president, I will be president; if He says I will not be president, I will not be president. Let’s forget about Obasanjo,”there is no mincing words, Obasanjo would work round the clock, pull all strings to scuttle Atiku’s presidential hopes.
In politics, perception could be everything and this is another major hindrance to Atiku’s quest for the presidency. By whatever inexplicable means, his political opponents have successfully left the tar of corruption on his face and this has sure stuck.
He has the political finesse, the charisma and even the robust intellect to steer the affairs of Nigerian state, but many Nigerians out there associate him with unproven corruption. Though no court of law whether in Nigeria or abroad has convicted him of any corruption charges, but he seems to carry the burden of perception of being the most corrupt politician around.
When he was recently asked about this apparently erroneous perception, he said, “I’m not worried. You can investigate me. But you know most of my cases have ended up in the court up to the Supreme Court and the apex court has ruled on them. Thus, for you to reopen a case that has been closed by the Supreme Court but I am ready to be investigated.”
This apparently may not define the totality of this retired Customs officer, but it sure would affect whatever political ambition he still has left in him, especially at a time majority of Nigerians believe that the only problem Nigeria needs to tackle to move forward is corruption.
any other thing else, the squabbles threatening the ruling party.
Atiku understands more than anybody else that whatever future political ambition he is nursing, will be effectively hampered with Tinubu still calling the shots in the party.
When in 2011 former President Olusegun Obasanjo was asked about Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition, he gave out the now famous ‘I dey Laugh’ sarcasm. Till this date, the former president is still laughing about Atiku’s presidential ambition. Atiku was Obasanjo’s deputy for eight years, half of which the two of them spent in the political trenches.
Obasanjo sees Atiku as a man of unbridled political ambition whose only quest for power is for self agrandisement. In his controversial book, ‘My Watch’ Obasanjo depicted Atiku as a very unreliable and corrupt politician who should be stopped from getting to power. Obasanjo’s major grouse against Atiku according to Atiku’s loyalists is the role Atiku played in truncating Obasanjo infamous third term term agenda in 2007. Whether this is true or not, one thing is clear; as