As Atiku Abubakar Declares

Muhammed Zayyad

Muhammed Zayyad

On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa will officially declare his intention to contest for the Presidency of Nigeria comes 2023. This is Atiku’s 6th attempt at the presidency: 1992, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023. The 2019 presidential election was Atiku’s best outing in his over 27-year quest to be president of Nigeria. Atiku fought the 2019 battle with everything at his disposal. From the onset, Atiku had been on the offensive knowing fully well that it was his best moment to shoot at the presidency.

Luckily for Atiku, current events and situations in the country have turned the 2023 battle for the presidency into another big moment for him and many people have hope on him. – Atiku started early ahead of other contestants for the PDP Presidential ticket- he had several months of consultations across the country and internationally,

Without a doubt, Atiku’s decision to contest will draw diverse reactions from many quarters. For instance, his opponents will be quick to describe him as a serial presidential contestant. His supporters will refute by describing the decision as sheer doggedness and a clear sign of Atiku’s passion to serve his fatherland. Whichever way anyone decides to see it, one thing that cannot be denied about Atiku is that he is the most prepared candidate for the post of president. Atiku Abubakar has a well-drafted policy document loaded with fine policies, programs, and projects, including what many observers christened ‘The Atiku Abubakar Formula’. Atiku promised, if elected, that his medium-term strategy would be to ensure that recurrent expenditure is financed fully with non-oil revenues, while all oil proceeds will be invested in infrastructure, security, education, and health.

In the PDP, there is no doubt that Atiku is the most grounded candidate for the 2023 presidential elections. However, there are some odds against him, as there are many in his favor, taking into consideration the present realities in the polity- one critical factor that would help Atiku to have an edge over any other candidate, especially from the north, is that he is already ahead of them in terms of political structure and thorough understanding of the politics of greater Nigeria.

Again, among all the possible PDP presidential contenders, Atiku is the only one that can freely decide to contest or not, while the decision of others is entirely centered on many things, the most important- war chest and political structures. On the other hand, if the PDP truly wants to challenge the APC in the 2023 presidential election- Atiku is the party’s best bet- for example, Atiku Vs Tinubu will be an interesting big game- a very BIG one. Two similar people with similar treats, similar game styles and I know you, you know me scenario will come to play. The two have well-established political structures that can easily scare an opponent. They pay their own bills -so, the contest would be 100 percent politics, politics, politics-. It will be a fascinating zero-sum game.

Atiku’s official declaration is a sign that he has fully commenced his participation in the race for the presidential ticket of the PDP. One thing for sure is Atiku would wholeheartedly fight for the PDP presidential ticket. With an immense war chest that easily scares off his opponents, vast political network, and connection, Atiku can comfortably contest for the PDP presidential ticket.  When North East Business Community (NEBC) presented the PDP nomination and expression of interest forms to Atiku, it sent a strong signal that Atiku’s political family are planning ahead of other presidential contestants

It is not sheer luck that has kept Atiku very relevant in the politics of the presidential elections for about three decades. But from the beginning, he didn’t focus only on the ‘End Game’, but also on building a strong political organization and working with bright people.

The 2023 presidential election battle will be very interesting – like this writer has always maintained, PDP will be on the offensive, while the ruling APC will be on the defensive. Apart from political calculations, many observers believe that this time around Atiku will also utilize science in his political strategies- for example, when it comes to the selection of a running mate Atiku will not look only for a candidate that will bring massive votes from his primary constituency, but also someone that is acceptable across Nigeria.  Political observers also believe Atiku will massively market to Nigerians his well-documented policy document while putting the youth, women, and new ideas as his central point.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980

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