Atiku acknowledging supporters at the rally in Yola Saturday
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, stood before a cheering crowd in his home state of Adamawa on Saturday, announcing he will seek the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for president next February.
He is also a top contender for the proposed sole ticket of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) recently formed by 37 political parties in the country.
However, in an interview with Apex News in Abuja, the Director, Media and Publicity and spokesman of Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr Segun Showunmi said, it is only the former Vice President that can challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 Presidential polls.
He said the PDP may lose if another candidate is fielded against the incumbent.
Decrying the large-scale killings that have touched many parts of the country in recent months before thousands packed into Ribadu Square, Yola, at the heart of Nigeria’s north-east, Atiku said President Buhari’s government would be remembered more for its bloodshed than any development it brought to citizens.
“Today, we are witnessing the most insecure atmosphere,” Atiku said of the killings largely blamed on herdsmen, bandits and militias, before promising to tackle them headlong if elected. “More people died under APC than people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
He told a crowd chanting “Atiku! Atiku!” shortly after 2:00 p.m. that he would curtail inflation and unemployment rate in the country, saying Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress have displayed a common lack of capacity when it comes to the issues that matter to citizens the most.
“Today, we have the highest unemployment rate in history of this country, more than one million of our youth are unemployed,” Atiku said, adding that the PDP would secure the country, ensure unity and security of life and property.
He also hit Buhari at one of his most vulnerable areas: “Today, we are more divided than at any other time in Nigeria’s history.”
The president has been accused of packing key federal offices with people from his region, with critics slamming him as flouting the federal character and affirmative action principles enshrined in federal laws as necessary fabrics for holding an ethnically and religiously diverse entity like Nigeria together.
Buhari has often pushed back against the claims, saying instead that his appointments have been balanced where they are not skewed towards the south.
On his home state, the former Vice President said he will return it to the PDP in 2019.
According to him, in 1998, he took the state to PDP and will return to take what rightly belongs to the party.
He berated Buhari administration for failing to secure lives and property, thereby creating mistrust among the populace. “The government of APC has failed to unite Nigeria. We are more divided now than any time in our history.
“They destroyed our economy. Today we are witnessing most insecure situation more people died in Nigeria than in Afghanistan,” Atiku noted.
The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus said Nigeria must be rescued from the present leadership.
Atiku is only one of several top political players eyeing the PDP ticket, having other top contenders like Sule Lamido and Ahmed Makarfi.
Recently, political analysts expect the race to get even more fluid when the likes of Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and other elements of the so-called newPDP make their expected formal return to the largest opposition entity.
Yet, Atiku stature as a former Vice President and serial presidential contender with vast political and financial muscle made him a top favourite for the ticket. He has visited most of the southern states for consultations, and his office said he plans to take the tour to all the 36 states before the party’s primaries in a few months’ time. (Premium Times) with additional reports