By Abdulkareem Haruna
Nigeria’s former vice president and the most constant decimal in the country’s presidential contest, Atiku Abubakar, has again emerged the candidate of the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP).
The former vice president is, by his age (75), the oldest Nigerian to emerge as the Presidential candidate of a political party since the return of democracy in 1999.
The main opposition party had its presidential primary election on Saturday in Abuja during which Mr Atiku defeated notable aspirants like Nyesom, Wike Governor of Rivers state; former senate president, Bukola Saraki, and Governor Emmanuel Udom.
Preceded with raw exchange of cash for a commitment to sell their votes about 700 delegates went into voting in an open balloting that produced 371 votes for Atiku, 237 for Wike, 70 for Saraki, 38 for Udom and 20 for Governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed. Other aspirants who had no cash to offer but speech to delegates conscience, like former Senate President, Pius Anyim, polled 14 votes.
Mr Atiku who would be flying the PDP flag for the second time; for a third time as a candidate since 2007 and a fifth time of being mentioned as a presidential aspirant, is now the man to face the would-be candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead 2023.
This, certainly, is a last chance for the 75 years old money bag to attempt the presidency. It’s either Mr Atiku gets the presidency or be self-retired because age and rotational sub-policy of the presidency in Nigeria would have denied him what he has lived the best parts of his ageing years dreaming of after 2023.
Mr Atiku had in his well delivered acceptance speech called for a unified PDP that is devoid of rancor. He urged aggrieved party members not to leave the party but stay and let the party deploy its internal dispute resolution mechanism to sort their differences. He said his emergence is a sign that a solution was about to be unleashed on the nation’s security, economic and developmental challenges brought upon the country by the APC “bad governance. “
He said leaders should “fear God” and be kind to the masses who suffer most of the failures in governance.
Atiku is assuming a flag-bearer role of the leading opposition party with a promise to rescue Nigeria from the crisis and conflicts that have in many years plunged the African largest economy into an untold humanitarian crisis that affects primarily women and children.
Nearly 3 million people mostly women and children have been displaced by conflicts around Nigeria.
A report released in February2022 by SBM Intelligence, a socioeconomic research firm, attacks from Boko Haram, militia herdsmen, abductions, gang clashes and terrorists, has led to the death of 10,366 persons in 2021. And from January to date, deaths from armed conflict across the country are recorded everyday.