ATIKU ABUBAKAR EMERGES PDP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
The media, over the weekend, was awash with news of ATIKU ABUBAKAR’s (ATIKU) emergence as the PDP’s candidate for the February 2019 presidential election. ATIKU’s victory at the primary election is instructive – he contested with politicians of note and won by a wide margin. He had in August this year, given an undertaken to do only one term if elected as President in 2019.
ATIKU is a former vice president (1999-2007) of Nigeria. He is one of the founding members of the PDP, although with questionable loyalty. He defected from the party in 2006 and 2014 under controversial circumstances – including his refusal to endorse then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term bid between 2005 and 2006 – contesting both the presidential general (Action Congress in 2007) and primary (All Progressive Congress in 2014) elections respectively under non-PDP political platforms.
ATIKU made his last return to the PDP late in 2017, having fallen out of terms with the ruling party (APC). His political machinery had been active since his return. Notwithstanding his political experience (see profile below) and wealth, his chances of emerging as the party’s preferred candidate were thought to be slim, majorly on concerns around his loyalty. Hence, while the PDP upheld the outcome of the weekend’s primary on the ground of free and fairness, there is also no doubt the party was left with no choice, as the candidate – among all 12 contestants – was obviously most qualified to give APC a strong run in 2019. Note that former president, Goodluck Jonathan, had hinted last year, that ATIKU’s return to the PDP “could make the difference”.
THE PERSON OF ATIKU ABUBAKAR (COPIED and SUMMARIZED)
Origin – ATIKU is an indigene of Adamawa State, North Eastern region of Nigeria.
Education – Following secondary education, ATIKU had a short study at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna. He left the college to the School of Hygiene, where he graduated with a Diploma in 1967. The same year, he enrolled for a Law Diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration and graduated in 1969.
Public Service –
(1) Tax Officer in the regional ministry of finance, where he left for college in 1966, and
(2) Nigerian Customs Service, where he retired in 1989
As Vice-President under then President Olusegun Obasanjo, ATIKU was the Chairman of the National Council of Privatization and played an instrumental role in the Privatization process of the Telecommunications Industry.
(1) won the gubernatorial primary election under Social Democratic Party in 1991 but was disqualified,
(2) won the general election as the Governor of Adamawa State under PDP in 1998, but left to contest for the presidential candidate as Olusegun Obasanjo’s running-mate and they won,
(3) served as Vice President under PDP for eight years (1999-2007), (4) contested in 2007 as the presidential candidate under AC and lost to Yar’ Adua,
(5) contested in the PDP presidential primary election in 2011 and lost to Jonathan,
(6) contested in the APC presidential primary election in 2014 and lost to Buhari, and (7) contested in the PDP presidential primary election in 2018 and won.
Private Sector – ATIKU is an astute business leader with investments in various sectors of the economy, viz (1) maritime and oil & gas, (2) agriculture, and (3) education (private university).
Economic Views – In the last 12-18 months, ATIKU has made major headlines for his views on Nigeria’s economy and the need for restructuring, highlighting
(1) advocacy for a knowledge-based economy,
(2) diversification of the economy to completely reduce dependence on oil revenue,
(3) need for independence of state governments,
(4) need to streamline the operations of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Excess Crude Account, and the Stabilisation Account, and
(5) job creation.
APC vs. PDP: TWO-HORSE RACE IN 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari has officially secured the ticket as the flag bearer of the APC in the 2019 Presidential election with 14.8 million votes via direct primaries. The APC and PDP have been, and remain the two parties to watch out for in 2019. While the APC remains a strong force – making statements with the
recent gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States – the emergence of ATIKU has unarguably increased the chances of the main opposition.
APC controlled states – (1) Adamawa State, (2) Bauchi State , (3) Borno State, (4) Edo State, (5) Ekiti State, (6) Imo State, (7) Jigawa State, (8) Kaduna State, (9) Kano State, (10) Katsina State, (11) Kebbi State, (12) Kogi State, (13) Lagos State, (14) Nasarawa State, (15) Niger State, (16) Ogun State, (17) Ondo State, (18)
Osun State, (19) Oyo State, (20) Plateau State, (21) Yobe State, and (22) Zamfara State.
PDP controlled states – (1) Abia State, (2) Akwa Ibom State, (3) Bayelsa State, (4) Benue State, (5) Cross River, (6) Delta State, (7) Ebonyi State, (8) Enugu State, (9) Gombe State, (10) Kwara State, (11) Rivers State, (12) Sokoto State, and (13) Taraba State
INEC data as at January showed that there were 74 million registered voters across the 36 states of the federation, with 68% registered in APC-controlled states and 29% in PDP. Article 134 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution stipulates a candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have been duly elected where there being more than two candidates for the election –
(a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and
(b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.