As the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, the ruling All Progressives Congress has so far be experiencing some level of worry on the negative effect his exit might inflict on them.
It is even obvious how President Muhammadu Buahri in the bid to make alley fears in his camp made mockery of Atiku defection, saying that he “sympathise for losing a senior members of your party”, in his comment to APC chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun. The fact is that if Atiku has impact, the fact remain intact regardless of opposing statements.
Here are six reasons Atiku’s defection to the major opposition party may hamper President Buhari’s second term bid.
1.Atiku Abubakar might secure victory over the All Progressives Congress with his age-long job creation campaign. Unlike many politicians who do not see job creation as gemane, the former VP has made an household name for himself even before he was elected Adamawa Governor, but was called to be the vice to President Olusegun Obasanjo.
While he announced his return to PDP last week, the former VP said, “I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversations with young people, their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job for without a job, they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family. And without the security of a job, we cannot have security in our country. So without jobs, there is no future for you or for Nigeria.
“And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well. Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my own State of Adamawa.”
“And I also know how the government can help create the right environment for businesses to create jobs. When I was Vice President in 1999, I was responsible for liberalising the telecoms sector which enabled us to increase the number of people who could access a phone from less than 1 million then to over 100 million today.
“This transformation resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that fed off the mobile phone revolution.”
2.Restructuring. Atiku has also taken advantage of the timing. He belongs to camp that believes in restructuring of Nigeria, and if he eventually wins party ticket in 2019, Atiku stands the chance of winning the affection of South-East, South-West, South-South and the North Central zones whose position of power devolution continues to get louder by the day. The view of a PDP South-South stakeholder was, “He wants Nigeria restructured and that has been the prayer of the entire South zone and a section of the North. He has returned to the PDP in good time.”
3.Atiku Abubakar also has that national popularity and appeal, though the likes of Bafarawa, Lamido, Dankwambo, and Kwankwaso are also well-known in the north, but his is national visibility..
In the South East and South-West, Atiku relates easily and sees the geo-political zones as his home. His first wife, Titi is a daughter of the South-West while Jennifer hails from the South-East. Mundane as this may appear, they could play a critical role and turn campaign tool for the Waziri of Adamawa in the event of his emergence as a Presidential candidate.
President Buhari who is beginning to appear as the APC flag bearer in 2019, is not likely to enjoy the easy ride he had in 2015 if he’s to run against Atiku as the latter boasts of massive support base across the country. His sundry companies which provide employment opportunities for Nigerians across geo-political and religious backgrounds give him an advantage no one can ignore with a wave of the hand.
4.Atiku Abubakar will also capitalize on Buhari’s scorecard to win victory over APC. Despite “out of recession” announcment, the country still wallows in lack and many governors are owing workers’ salaries. The Chairman of National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi recently thanked the APC-led government for campaigning indirectly for his party. When asked how this was so, he responded; “They are not performing.” Atiku’s may not parade a university degree but not even the ruling party can take away from him, his mastery of the Queen’s language, especially when addressing political gatherings.
Armed with the statistics of what the Buhari’s administration has been able to do and undo, the Turakin Adamawa is sure to cause the ruling party some sleepless nights ahead of 2019, should he scale the hurdle of nomination at the party’s convention for the election of its Presidential candidate. The APC administration may have recorded some successes in the fight against insurgency; yet the worrisome level of poverty, gross income inequality, hunger and infrastructural decay cast a huge cloud in the ability of the ruling party to remain in power.
5.As Atiku retured to PDP, party they built together since 1998, many heavyweigh politicians might return with him. This much was disclosed recently by ex-PDP national Chairman,Dr. Ahmadu Ali in a chat with newsmen. As it were, the likes of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Senator Danjuma Goje, House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and a host of others may quit the APC for the PDP to team up with Atiku in hope of helping to nurse his ambition. And should this happen, analysts say not much would be left of the APC.
A former member of the House of Representatives puts it this way: “You will recall that not long ago, the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hammed Ali questioned the loyalty of former PDP members in the Buhari administration. That was an indirect insult, if you ask me. I can reliably inform you that without these people, Buhari would not have been able to garner the kind of support he had in 2015. And now that Atiku has moved, what do you think some of these people will do?”
So, what becomes of the APC should Atiku’s allies in government follow his footsteps and cross over to the PDP?
6.With his alliance with governors, the country is at Atiku’s becon. It was even reported how President Obasanjo knelt down and begged him for his support when he sought for second term in 2003. Much has not changed, as Atiku of today is much likely talked about and respected in the commity of governors in PDP and also in APC.