Pulse Opinion Atiku launches presidential campaign two years early, grab a chair

Atiku Abubakar has launched his 2019 presidential campaign. Believe it or not, the man just can't wait.

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Atiku congratulates Buhari play

Atiku congratulates Buhari

(Facebook)
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It may be September 2017 in your part of the world, but it's political season already in Nigeria—two years before another general election.

That's how we roll around here and we are not even sorry.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wants to become President of Nigeria.

If it appears like you’ve read that line before, that’s because you have. Atiku has been scheming and plotting to become President since 1992 under the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Atiku has launched four presidential bids thus far and failed in all of them. 2019 will be his fifth shot at the Nigerian presidency.

He tried unsuccessfully to become President under Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007. For his troubles, 'Baba Iyabo' indulged Atiku in his first term and decimated him in his second.

GEJ taking lessons from OBJ during the PDP presidential primaries play Goodluck Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo (Hotxclusive)

 

Like a bad coin, Atiku returned to seek the throne again, but the PDP hierarchy settled for Goodluck Jonathan instead in 2010.

Undaunted, Atiku sought the presidency again in 2014, this time under the platform of a newly formed APC. But he didn’t have Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s backing. Nor did he have the backing of the APC bigwigs who settled for an ascetic and Spartan Muhammadu Buhari instead.

At the APC presidential convention of December 2014 in Lagos, Atiku outspent Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi Naira for Naira and Dollar for Dollar. That he still lost is some testament that money certainly can't buy you everything.

Atiku has had no problems swapping political parties in the past in a bid to realising his lifelong dream of leading Nigeria someday. But he’s faltered at every hurdle.

The man must be cursing his luck.

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and former Head of State, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). play Atiku and Babangida (Scoop NG)

 

In typical Atiku fashion, he’s not about to give up, however.

The former Nigeria Vice President has chosen the first week of September, 2017, to launch his 2019 presidential bid.

“Honestly speaking, I’m still a member of the APC; I was part of all the processes, including campaigns until success was achieved,” Atiku told the Voice of America (VOA) Hausa service.

“But sadly, soon after the formation of government; I was sidelined, I have no relationship with the government, I have not been contacted even once to comment on anything and in turn, I maintained my distance. They used our money and influence to get to where they’re but three years down the lane, this is where we are.”

Atiku’s comments arrive shortly after those of Aisha Alhassan—a Minister in the Buhari cabinet.

play Osinbajo, Alhassan (Presidency )

 

‘Mama Taraba’ as Alhassan is fondly called, has blessed Atiku’s 2019 presidential hopes and labelled the man her ‘godfather’ and the ‘next President of Nigeria’.

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If you’ve been following Atiku’s politics for a while, you’ll immediately know that this week’s comments are no mere happenstances. They've been carefully orchestrated and timed for maximum impact.

Atiku is an adept political player for whom the cliché: “the end justifies the means” is a guiding philosophy.

Atiku is no tabula rasa in the political game. He’s been there forever. In 2019, the Turakin Adamawa will be 73 years old. But that hasn’t stopped him from scheming, plotting and dreaming.

For months, pundits have speculated about whether his relationship with Buhari has been more frosty than cordial. With his comments this week, he’s provided an answer. He’s erased every shred of doubt.

The relationship was never there in the first instance. Atiku wanted the top job in 2015. And once Buhari got that job instead, Atiku retreated into his shell and began plotting to get that job for himself—like he’s done his entire life.

Not for once has Atiku left the public glare since his failed 2015 presidential bid.

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar visits President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on June 16, 2015. play Atiku, Buhari (Twitter)

 

He’s been labelled as too corrupt and cunning to rule Nigeria, but he’s responded each time with more social media charm offensives and intense public relations campaigns.  Atiku believes no one is better placed and qualified to lead Nigeria at the moment than he is.

You may say his ambition could consume him, but he really doesn’t care what you say or think. He’s got his eyes fixated on the presidency while you blab.

Atiku Abubakar in his farm play Atiku shows Nigerians how to farm (@Atiku/ Twitter)

 

Atiku will give an arm and a leg to become Nigeria’s President and becoming President is all that matters to the man who honed his political skills at the feet of Alhaji Musa Yar’adua of the PDM fame.

As Buhari now knows, Atiku will even go as far as recruiting one of the President’s Ministers and infiltrating the cabinet just to have his way.

You may call it desperation. Atiku calls it politics.

Good ol’ politics.

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