Tunde Bakare, serving overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly (LRA), says former vice-president Atiku Abubakar will give President Muhammadu Buhari a tough fight for the presidency during the 2019 elections.
Bakare said this after Abubakar emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, polling 1,532 votes to defeat his closest contender, Aminu Tambuwal, who polled 693 votes.
Abubakar also beat 10 other aspirants including Senate President Bukola Saraki and Rabiu Kwankwaso, ex-governor of Kano, to clinch the opposition party’s ticket.
Speaking after delivering a speech on Nigeria’s 58th Independence in his church, Bakare said the fight for the number one position will be “eagle versus eagle” and not “eaglet versus an eagle”.
He said though Buhari enjoys the power of incumbency, Abubakar “is not going to take No for an answer when the two forces collide in the election”.
“I congratulate him (Abubakar), he makes the issue in 2019 more robust,” Bakare said.
“It is not going an eaglet versus an eagle but an eagle versus eagle: an old eagle versus new eagle and probably both of them old eagles.
“I wish president Muhammadu Buhari the best in 2019.
“He has the power of incumbency and he will do his best to win the election, but Atiku is not going to take No for an answer when the two forces collide in the election.”
Bakare said Abubakar, just like Buhari, has the experience, the exposure and the acceptance expected of the country’s president.
He, however, pointed out that having those qualities alone would not translate into the victory for him, as the electorate would decide the parameters on which to elect the next president.
“I can’t say Atiku will win or lose. You see, I am not advocating for him. Among all the aspirants who contested the PDP’s ticket with him, he is perhaps the most cosmopolitan, he is a Wazobia man,” he said.
“He was Vice-President for eight years, and he inherited something from late Yar’Adua that he had held on to so effectively.
“He has been a businessman with a business acumen and he has the exposure.
“But you see, that is not what qualifies you to win. A lot comes into play, so again, I can not say whether he will win or lose.
Bakare said for the PDP to win the 2019 elections, they would need to demonstrate to the electorate that they were a regenerated party and “show repentance for the years of the locust they engineered”.
The cleric who is a persistent critic of the Buhari administration has also indicated interest to run for the presidency at a year he is yet to disclose.