The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at its convention held in Abuja, ratified the choice of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari as its flagbearer, with a curious vote tally of 14. 8 million. President Buhari and his supporters have continuously left no one in doubt that they intend to have a second shot at power and office.
The number of party members across Nigeria who endorsed the Buhari candidacy has however raised eyebrows. 14. 8 million! In the 2015 elections, that was a little less than the same number of total votes that the incumbent got in a nationwide general vote. What is the actual number of persons on the party’s membership register – 15.6 million? Concerned observers have argued that this is an indication of the determination of the ruling party to rig the 2019 Presidential elections, in favour of a 75-year old candidate to whom they insist, there is no alternative. The No-Alternative talk is of course the height of sycophancy and the extent of its idiocy has now been exposed.
On all counts, Atiku Abubakar stands a good chance. In Nigerian politics, the maxim that “the taste of the pudding is in the eating” also rings ever so true. But his golden moment lies ahead of him. Fears that his emergence as PDP Presidential candidate could cause friction within the PDP did not materialize. The other interested candidates not only embraced him, they promised to work with him to ensure the victory of the PDP in 2019. Atiku has the support of Nigeria’s leadership elite, including the extremely influential class of retired Generals. His boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo who once wrote him off has not objected to his emergence.
To every other constituency, Atiku is saying that Nigeria must be restructured. He poses a real threat to President Buhari’s second term ambition.
Atiku is cosmopolitan. He has since leaving office in 2007, opened himself up to ideas, and the modernist world. Significantly, he has not branded himself as a cattle-rearer. He has investments in education, agriculture, maritime and other sectors of the economy. There has been no complaint about his emergence as PDP Presidential candidate from Corporate Nigeria – that wing of Nigerian politics populated by deluded egoists who think money is everything- and that is understandable.