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  • * Speaks On 2023 Polls, Buhari, Tinubu, Obi, Wike, Okowa

By Celestine Okafor (Editor-in-Chief) @CelestineOkaf11

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Flagbearer in the 2023 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has dismissed the evident threat to the success of his presidential quest by the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Mr Peter Obi, through his 'OBI-DIENT' political movement, saying that Obi has neither the structure nor the political capacity to defeat him in the next year's presidential poll.

Atiku who spoke in an interview with ARISE NEWS TV Breakfast Show on Friday, July 22, 2022, said it will take a Divine occurrence for his erstwhile presidential running mate in PDP in the 2019 general elections, to win the 2023 presidency.

While insinuating that Mr Peter Obi's popularity is a mere social media rave, Atiku argues that the real voters in the Northern Nigeria where he might get a substantial part of his expected votes to win the poll are not present on social media. “It will take a miracle for Labour Party with no structure in the grassroots to win the presidency. In the North, 90% of our people are not in tune to social media."

On the threat equally posed by the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, popularly addressed as 'Jagaban', Atiku Abubakar said though Tinubu has been his close political associate way back in 1992/1993, he lacked the requisite political sensitivity to factor in the reality of Nigeria's religious secularism, especially in his presidential politics. “My fundamental disagreement with Asiwaju since 2007 was on the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which led to my political departure from him.”

Atiku was apparently referring to the 2007 general elections when he was more of an opposition leader than a sitting Vice President to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he was having a fierce political battle with before he defected to the defunct Action Congress (AC) formed by Tinubu, shortly after he quit Alliance for Democracy (AD) party owing to deep a political disagreement he had with the leadership of the AD and Afenifere leaders.

Tinubu reportedly insisted on being Atiku's Vice Presidential candidate on the platform of Tinubu's Action Congress (AC) party, just as he allegedly did in the case of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2014/2015, that he must be the running mate to Buhari on the APC ticket, not minding the fact that it would amount a muslim-muslim pair.

Asiwaju Tinubu, it was revealed, had always wanted to replicate or re-enact the MKO Abiola's 1993 muslim-muslim joint ticket in the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) with Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, a fellow muslim from the Kanuri stock in Borno state, North East Nigeria. But Atiku and Buhari allegedly rejected such offers from Tinubu knowing it's ominous political implications on Nigeria's unity and it's tenuous ethno-religious composition.

However, Atiku also spoke on Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, his first runner-up in the May 28 Presidential primary of the PDP and on why he eventually chose Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate for the poll. He hailed Wike's positive attributes which he described as his brilliance and tenacity, but despite which, he opted for Okowa whom he felt would 'deliver'.

“I didn’t reject Wike. I picked who can deliver. Wike is brilliant and tenacious. Going by history, I had picked an Igbo as running mate in 2007 and in 2019. I still picked an Igbo for 2023. The committee that presented the three nominees was chaired by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom. They recommended three people, so I picked one. People should be fair to me and state the facts", Atiku stated.

On whether there is possibility of a rapprochement between his Presidential team and Wike, who, many PDP members and sympathisers saw as unfairly treated in the race for running mate exercise, Atiku assured that “We are reaching out to Wike and talking to him. Very soon, we will resolve our internal crises.”

The former Vice President also expressed his views about President Muhammadu Buhari's government, hinting his dissatisfaction with some aspects of the policies, programmes and style of governance of the administration. He particularly pointed out the seeming federal character deficiencies in the key appointments made by the Buhari government.

“First and foremost, you have to give every part of this country a sense of belonging. We have 17 security outfits in this country and all of them being headed by one section of the country, that’s a very serious imbalance", Atiku observed. NNL.

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