Personality Of The Week: Atiku Abubakar – Back In The Ring

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Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is a household name in Nigeria’s political circle. He has been in politics since 1989 when he became the National Vice Chairman of the defunct Peoples Front of Nigeria (PFN), the platform under which he was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly in the same year. So, he understands the game. He is very much at home with the political nuances of the country and as such knows which buttons to press at any given time to achieve best results. He has the experience, the war chest and the reach.

His emergence as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the forthcoming 2019 elections was by no means an accident. It was a victory foretold by many who are endowed with the gift of political discernment. He polled an impressive 1,532 votes to defeat 12 other aspirants with his runners-up and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, polling 693 votes.

With victory smiling on him at the convention, Atiku will be taking a shot at the presidency for the fifth time. He had contested in 1992, 2007, 2011 and 2015. Nevertheless, this is the second time he would be
standing as the standard bearer of a political party, having had the first opportunity as the candidate of the defunct Action Congress (AC) in 2007. It is, therefore, given that he would give the 2019 contest his all. And he has already set out to ensure that he laughs at last.

Thus he has been able to win the heart of his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who had initially sworn never to support his presidential bid, but has now made a U-turn to publicly endorse him.

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Many believe that the feat is an indication that Atiku would leave nothing to chance in this particular quest. Besides, his catchphrase that he would restructure the country is most likely to win him more endorsements, especially from groups who see the present structure of the country as its greatest problem.

But Atiku would meet a fierce contest in President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Both of them are Fulani, but Buhari has a cult following in some parts of the country, especially in the North. His party, the APC, has also strategically made inroad into the South. Buhari has the advantage of incumbency considered a strong factor. So, will Atiku be able to outsmart him and clinch victory? The simple answer is that it is not an insurmountable task. After all, Buhari did it in 2015 when he defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan to emerge. And he achieved the feat on his fourth attempt, his very last chance. Atiku is contesting for the fifth time, and arguably, this is his last chance too given his age, the clamour for a youthful president and the unwritten power rotation agreement in the country. Will the gods do unto him as they did to Buhari? Time will obviously tell, but he is definitely not a pushover.

Born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, Atiku became the only child of his parents when his only sister died at infancy. He attended Adamawa Provincial Secondary School, Yola, from 1960 to 1965.

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After graduation, he proceeded to the Nigeria Police College, Kaduna and thereafter worked as a tax officer in the regional Ministry of Finance.

He was admitted for a diploma in Law at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) on scholarship in 1967. He joined the Nigeria Customs Service on graduation in 1969. He held top Command positions and voluntarily retired in 1989 as Deputy Director, Enforcement and Drugs. He has interest in many business ventures encompassing manufacturing, real estate, oil and gas, agriculture, trading and education.

His foray into politics began in 1989. In 1998, he was elected governor of Adamawa State on the platform of the PDP before he was nominated as running mate to ex-President Obasanjo in the presidential elections that year.

On December 20, 2006, he became the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress (AC) and lost in the elections. In 2011, he lost in the PDP presidential primary. On February 2, 2014, he defected from the PDP to the APC, and contested in the presidential primary, but lost again. Citing clampdown on democracy by the APC after assuming power, he resigned from the party on November 24, 2017, and defected to the PDP on December 3, the same year. He has chosen Mr Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, to be his running mate for the 2019 presidential election.

 

Sourced From: The Sun Nigeria

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