He said he's passed up previous opportunities to become president because he's not desperate for power.
In an interview with BBC Hausa on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, Atiku said he's passed up previous opportunities to become president because he's not desperate for power.
He pointed to his decision to step down for MKO Abiola during the race for the 1993 presidential election whose result was eventually annulled by the military government of Ibrahim Babangida.
He said, "If I am desperate, I wouldn't have stepped down for M.K.O Abiola in 1993 presidential race. In 1993, I contested with M.K.O Abiola. I later withdrew from the race.
"In 1999, I was elected a governor of Adamawa state, then invited to be Nigeria's vice president, under Olusegun Obasanjo."
Atiku, who was vice president under former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, between 1999 and 2007, said he hasn't had proper opportunities to contest as a presidential candidate.
He said, "All the times I have been contesting for the presidency, I have been opportune only once to be presented to Nigerians as a candidate.
"I could have become Nigeria's president in 2003 when virtually, all the state governors then, rallied support for me to contest which I declined. I am not desperate to be president as some Nigerians view it."
He also boasted that he knows what it takes to revive Nigeria's economy and maximise the country's wealth.
He said, "As a former vice president, I am opportune to know things. If I am opportune to be elected as a president, I will accomplish my mission by reviving the economy, by making Nigeria an investor’s haven.
"The present administration discouraged investors into the country, because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) exchange rate policies is too tedious for investors. CBN has three different exchange rate policies, which is not supposed to be.
"If elected Nigeria's president, I will expand the nation's source of wealth to cater for the growing youth population in the country.
"Nigeria can justify my claims, going by the number of youth that are working in my industries across the country."
Atiku contested the 2007 presidential election as a candidate for Action Congress (AC), losing to the late former President Umaru Yar'Adua.
He returned to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) only to lose the party's primary election for the 2011 presidential election to the eventual winner, Goodluck Jonathan.
Due to an internal party crisis he defected to the All Progressives' Congress (APC) in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election before losing the party's ticket to another eventual winner, President Buhari.
He defected again to the PDP in December 2017 and is expected to be President Buhari's biggest challenger in the 2019 presidential election.