Though only a few minutes into his emergence as presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the 2019 general election, but former vice president, Atiku Abubakar is already setting about the business of wooing both his friends and enemies, all in a bid to bolster his arsenal ahead of the battle ahead.
While delivering his acceptance speech after he was officially declared winner of the primary with 1,532 votes to Aminu Tambuwal’s 693, Atiku thanked former President Olusegun Obasanjo for picking him as his Vice President in 1999, saying without this, he could never have become the PDP presidential candidate today.
Atiku’s words were clearly to woo his ex-boss, who has minced no words in saying he would never support Atiku to become President.
Only two months ago, Obasanjo had said: “How can I be on the same side with Atiku? To do what?
“If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support. I do not have personal grudges with anyone. If you do not do well for Nigeria, you do not do well for all of us.
“It is not a question of working with or not working with an individual,” he said. “If you are working for the good of Nigeria, I am working with you. If you are not working for the good of Nigeria it does not matter who you are I am not working with you.”
Despite having knowledge of Obasanjo’s perception of him, Atiku said on Sunday while accepting to be PDP candidate: “Finally, on a personal note, I wouldn’t have been standing where I am today if my former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, had not made me his Vice President.
“Under his tutelage, I learnt quite a lot, and I believe the experience I have got is going to impact on how I eventually govern this country. I wish to pay my personal tribute to him.”
It remains to be seen if Atiku’s latest charm offensive would convince Obasanjo to pipe down on his aversion to the presidential ambition of his one-time deputy.
…Saraki congratulates Atiku, lauds PDP, members for successful convention
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for emerging as the Presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party at the just concluded national convention of the party held in Port Harcourt. Saraki in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, also commended the delegates to the convention and members of the organising committee led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for holding a convention in which a candidate was elected in a free, fair, transparent and rancour-free atmosphere.
He said, “Our just concluded convention was a partisan event which the country can show-case as an example that democracy has a future in Nigeria and that when we are determined we can elect our leaders without any manipulation, intimidation and violation of the law and democratic norms.
“The credit goes to the leadership of our party led by Prince Uche Secondus, the organizing committee led by Governor Okowa, the numerous delegates who came from across the country and conducted themselves in a civil, mature and democratic manner. I give kudos to them.
“My commendation also goes to the government and people of Rivers State for providing the best necessary facilities for hosting over 5000 delegates, campaign workers, security personnel, observers, media people and others who came to play one role or the other in the convention.
“More importantly, let me congratulate the winner and new flag bearer of our party and all the fellow aspirants for running credible and mature campaigns and working all along to reassure millions of our fellow party members and other Nigerians that PDP will leave the convention venue more united and ready to work together to form the next government at the federal and other levels in a manner that we will unite the country, grow the economy, carry along all stakeholders, empower the youths and make government serve the people better.
“Like I said in my speech at the convention after the official declaration of Alhaji Atiku as winner, all the other aspirants, especially myself, are ready to walk and work with him to spread the positive message of the PDP and his campaigns acrosss the nooks and crannies of the country such that the PDP will win the 2019 general elections.
“I wish all our delegates and other participants in the convention journey mercies back home.”
Similarly, another presidential aspirant, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State, also pledged to support Abubakar.
“Congratulations to Former Vice President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on his emergence as the flag bearer of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party. We are united under one Umbrella and we will work assiduously for our party’s victory in 2019,” Dankwambo said on his Twitter handle.
…Afenifere reacts to Atiku’s victory
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has reacted to the victory of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential primary.
The organisation, however, said it would still have to sit down and decide who it would support for the presidential election.
Afenifere had before the primary, hosted Atiku in Akure, the Ondo State capital, and vowed to support any presidential candidate that believes in the restructuring of the country.
Speaking with newsmen in Akure on Sunday the Secretary General of the Afenifere, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, described Atiku as a politician who had paid his dues in Nigeria politics.
He pointed out that the opposition must come together to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the forthcoming presidential election.
He said, “Honestly, when we compare Atiku with others, you will see him as somebody who has paid his dues. Among politicians and our former rulers, Atiku has made his marks.
“Before the PDP primaries, Atiku came to us in Afenifere and promised us that he was going to restructure the country, and we have already said that anybody who wants to restructure with all seriousness, such a person will be our candidate.
“Now that he is in, Afenifere will still decide. He has beaten all the other aspirants and now he is the candidate.
“Afenifere observed the landslide victory he has over others: he scored well over half of the delegates’ votes, leaving the remnants to the other aspirants.
“We hope that if the opposition wants to win through the South-West, South-South, South-East, the Middle Belt and those political groups that are progressives in idea, they will all come together under the CUPP to adopt somebody to face APC.