Atiku Again!

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday concluded its presidential primary


Saturday, June 22, 2024 at 08:15 PM

Written by Editorial Board

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday concluded its presidential primary election with former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerging winner. He got a total of 371 votes to defeat the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike who got 237 votes to come a distant second. Going by the result of the election, it was clearly a close race between Atiku and Wike as it was rightly predicted long before the day. 

Political pundits had picked Atiku ahead of other aspirants immediately the leadership of the PDP decided to throw the ticket of the party open to all the geopolitical zones. It was popular opinion that the move was done to accommodate Atiku. This was in great disregard for the priciple of zoning which the party usual maintains. Having a Northerner like President Muhammadu Buhari doing eight years, it was only logical that all political parties including the PDP will go for a Southern candidate. But the main opposition party thought otherwise. 

Atiku's victory was manifested with the sudden withdrawal of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State. Tambuwal in his remarks said he had decided to step down from the race and asked all his supporters including the party's delegates from his state to vote for Atiku. The decision threw Wike off-balance. It also shocked many. Wike had in the 2019 presidential primary in Port Harcourt, supported Tambuwal against Atiku. It was therefore seen as a betryal for Tambuwal not to have done the same after he took the decision to discontinue from the race. 

Aside the Tambuwal factor, Atiku was likely to have still won the primary. He was more acceptable among the aspirants and commands a lot of respect within the PDP. He was familar to the contest having taken part in previous ones in the last 15 years. In addition to that, his huge financial war chest was a plus for him. He is known to be a great mobilizer of men and resources. 

The emergence of Atiku has compounded the woes of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The party has continued to shift its presidential primary election because of the struggle to arrive at a consensus candidate. With Atiku in the picture, the party needs to settle for someone that can match him in all ramifications. The credentials of that person must be similar to Atiku else the APC may lose the 2023 presidency. Those rooting for former President Goodluck Jonathan are of the opinion that he is the only one that can convince Nigerians to allow the APC remain in power beyond 2023. 

Their argument is that aside Bola Tinubu the other aspirants like Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi cannot defeat Atiku. For Tinubu, there are fears of how he may relegate most of them to the background. They know that the former Lagos State Governor knows very well how to use political power. 

Atiku's triumph at the PDP elective convention cannot be divorced from the way he went about his consultations and campaigns. He deployed the act of emotional persuasion. He told everyone who cared to listen that they should give him another chance and he will emerge as the next president. He talked about his plans for the country, particularly in the areas of security and the economy. He sold himself, using his past achievements in government and the success story of his private life as one of Africa's biggest corporate players. That was the strategy. 

On the other hand, Governor Wike spoke like a man who was so desperate to get the nation's number one job. At several gatherings while addressing delegates he kept shouting "give me power, give me power". "I will take it, I will take it". There was no finesse in his campaign. He felt money was everything. Wike believed that with the state resources at his disposal he can have his way anywhere and anytime. He couldn't articulate clearly his blueprint for the new Nigeria that all Nigerians want. 

As an experienced politician, Atiku has started the process of reconciliation and his first stop is Governor Wike. He knows that everyone is important and with the elections coming, there is need for all hands to be on deck. This is is definitely his last shot at the presidency as age is no longer on his side. Everything has to be done right if he must win. 

It is on the strength of that, that he needs to choose a Southern Christian to run the ticket with him. The choice of his running mate will determine how far he will go at the poll. The person must be acceptable with the mass appeal and must command large followership across the South. A Peter Obi fits into that description but his exit has closed the opportunity for him. Governors Udom Emmanuel, Ifeanyi Okowa, should be considered for that role or Seyi Makinde if the slot has to come from the South West.

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Edited By: fadil

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