The 2019 Race: Why Atiku should appeal to the PDP

by Alexander O. Onukwue

The comments credited to the PDP leadership in Adamawa state about a move to bring back former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to their fold has generated reactions from political observers.

Atiku has remained politically active and ambitious since his bitter ending with Obasanjo in 2007, making several attempts to gain the nominations of the parties to which he has belonged between the periods. At present, Atiku is with the APC, deciding against contesting in 2015 in support of the Buhari-Tinubu alliance that waged a successful dethronement of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

With a new election cycle on the horizon, Atiku has been active on social media and through other physical mediums, especially on the issues of Good Governance through Restructuring. He gave a lecture recently at the University of Nigeria on the topic of Restructuring, in which he articulated his own views about the problems of the Nigerian State from his experience.

Atiku’s official channels identify him as an APC member, but the rebuilding PDP will want to test his ambition. The uncertainty surrounding Buhari’s health at the moment may not yet make it very clear what the PDP will do with regards to zoning their elective positions. Were the Presidency to be zoned to the North, the former Vice President, Atiku, would certainly be one option which they will consider.

The National Convention of the PDP comes up in August, and it would be interesting to see the characters who emerge as members of the National Working Committee. Knowing the influence of Presidents on Party Chairmen – at least in the old PDP – the availability of an Atiku could play on the mind of the Party stalwarts in deciding the coterie of persons around whom to organize the party, providing for an organic synergy between Atiku, the candidate, and the Party.

Among other articles of its reform, the PDP is expected to ensure internal democracy within its system.

In that case, it would not be an easy run for Atiku should he be tempted back to the Party. It may not be obvious at the moment but it is almost guaranteed that there will be major defections within the coming months to the PDP from the APC by those who seek the right to challenge whoever it is that is President by 2019.

But for his long-suffering ambition and experience, surely Atiku is one option that will be on the PDP’s mind.

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