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Don't get it twisted, Atiku will become president or die tryin'

Atiku has left the APC because the party won't guarantee him a presidential ticket. And that's not a bad thing.

In a statement announcing his decision to defect, Atiku made sure not to mention where he is pitching tent next. There will be no prizes for guessing where he’s headed, however.

Atiku says the APC’s disdain for internal democracy has left him with no choice. He says the APC has become a dictatorship.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced", he says.

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Atiku admits that he made a grave mistake dumping the PDP for the APC in 2014 because his new party became as bad—if not worse—than his old.

“The fractionalization of the Peoples Democratic Party on August 31, 2013 had left me in a situation where I was, with several other loyal party members, in limbo, not knowing which of the parallel executives of the party was the legitimate leadership.

“It was under this cloud that members of the APC made the appeal to me to join their party, with the promise that the injustices and failure to abide by its own constitution which had dogged the then PDP, would not be replicated in the APC and with the assurance that the vision other founding fathers and I had for the PDP could be actualized through the All Progressives Congress.

“It was on the basis of this invitation and the assurances made to me that I, being party-less at that time, due to the fractionalization of my party, accepted on February 2, 2014, the hand of fellowship given to me by the All Progressives Congress”.

Atiku also calls the APC a failure.

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“The party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth?

"A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people”, Atiku said.

The APC has its ills and Atiku may well have a point when he says the governing party isn’t exactly the poster child for internal democracy.

But the real reason Atiku is leaving the APC shouldn’t be lost on anyone. The man wants to become president so bad, he’d give an arm and leg to realise that lifelong ambition.

This defection is Atiku realising early enough that he won’t get the APC presidential ticket in 2019, no matter the stunt he pulls. He’s fluttering his eyelashes and showing plenty of skirt at the next political party willing to take a chance on him. Atiku is putting himself on the shop window with this move.

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And he won’t be short of suitors given his years in the country’s political trenches.

Atiku is a student of the Musa Yar’adua PDM school of politics. He’s attained the highest governance positions in Nigeria save for the nation’s number one job—that of the president. He’s been there and done that.

But becoming president is what propels Atiku now. It’s what guides and shapes his political compass. And that’s why he’s leaving the APC. Atiku doesn’t see a clear pathway to the presidency from the APC.

For context, Atiku has been gunning for the position of Nigeria’s president from the platform of the SDP in the ‘90s. And ambition is no bad thing. In which case Atiku should get some ‘props’ from us for doggedness and staying power.

He has every reason to feel hard done by, after swapping political parties for some three decades now just to become Nigeria’s president.

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As the Atiku presidential odyssey continues with another election year in the horizon, it’s worth emphasizing that Atiku isn’t leaving the APC for altruistic reasons.

The man wants to become president or die tryin’.

My colleague calls Atiku the ‘Nicholas Anelka of Nigerian politics’. That sounds about right.

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