Atiku Abubakar has taken a long run in pursuit of an opportunity to become president of Nigeria. His attempts have been lofty, and his manifestos suits finely to the need of Nigeria. Atiku believes that Nigeria should retool her constitution to conform to best practice of federalism. This has been his standard for the future of Nigeria.
Abubakar’s political journey began when he worked underground during Bamanga Tukur’s governorship campaign. Bamanga Tukur was the then managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority. Thereafter, Atiku met Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, who was second-in-command of the military government that ruled Nigeria between 1976 and 1979. Yar’adua thereafter invited Atiku to the political meetings that holds regularly at his home. After sometime, Abubakar became the national vice-chairman of the People Front of Nigeria. The association was led by Yar’Adua and was in charge of ensuring the success of the transition programme started by Ibrahim Babangida, the then Head of State. Other politicians in the team were Babalola Borishade, Bola Tinubu, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Aliyu Sumaila and Sabo Bakin Zuwo.
In 1989, Atiku was selected to represent his constituency at the constituent assembly, set up to form a new constitution for Nigeria. Unfortunately, the government denied the registrations of The People’s Front but they were able to find a place within the Social Democratic Party.
Atiku Abubakar Governorship Run
Atiku announced his Gongola state gubernatorial run on 1st September 1990. However, in 1991 before the election could hold, the Federal Government divided Gongola state into two – Adamawa and Taraba States. Abubakar fell into Adamawa state. Fortunately, he won the SDP primaries in November 1991 but was disqualified from contesting in the election.
In 1998, he contested as the governor of Adamawa state under People’s Democratic Party and won. However, before his swearing in, he accepted to be the running mate of PDP’s presidential candidate, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo.
Tenure As Vice President
Atiku was sworn in as the vice president of Nigeria on 29th May 1999. He worked together with South African Deputy President, Jacob Zuma to launch South Africa Nigeria Binational Commission. In 2006, he had a clash with President Olusegun Obasanjo over his intention to amend the constitution, which will allow him to run for presidency for the third time.
This did not go down well with Atiku and the argument did more harm than good to their relationship.
Abubakar ran for Nigeria presidential office under Social Democratic Party in 1992. Eventually, he came third in the convention primaries, losing to MKO Abiola and Babagana Kinigbe.
On December 20, 2006, Action Congress (AC) selected Atiku as their presidential candidate. Thereafter, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) omitted Atiku’s name in the final list of 24 aspirants for the April 21 Presidential election. Apparently, his name was omitted because a panel set up by the government listed him among corrupt persons in Nigeria. However, Abubakar contested the action in court on March 16. At the long run, the supreme court ruled in his favour and he was able to contest.
After the election, Atiku came third, behind Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, PDP candidate and Muhammadu Buhari, ANPP candidate. He also contested for president during the 2011 elections. This time, under the PDP. However, he lost at the primaries to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
In 2018, Atiku announced his interest to contest as Nigeria President under PDP. He won the party’s nomination on October 7 at its convention. He also defeated other contestants with 1,532 votes, leading the Governor of Sokoto state Aminu Tambuwal by 839 votes. Unfortunately, he lost to President Buhari on February 27, 2019.
In 2023, Atiku became reluctant to run due to towering agitation for South East to be given the chance to rule the country. But with the turn around of events, when it became obvious that neither PDP nor APC was willing to create a pathway for South East to emerge presidential candidates on their platforms, he resolved to run on the premise that if his region, North East fall in the same category of region that has not ruled Nigeria, with South East. And it will be injustice for either South West or South South to produce another president have done so respectively leaving North East and South East. But, unfortunately, he lost in the election as his party’s major political block, South East was overrun by his former running mate in the 2019 presidential election, Peter Obi was presidential candidate of the Labour Party. While Bola Tinubu of the APC was declared winner of the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar came second again, Peter Obi came third.
Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) was registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission in August 2013. The media announced that the party was formed by Atiku as Plan B if his presidential ambition was not achieved through PDP. To clear the air, he mentioned in a statement that his political associates founded the party but he was still a member of PDP.
Atiku joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February 2, 2014 to further pursue his presidency ambition. For reasons best known to him, he left the APC on November 24, 2017. He returned to PDP on December 3, 2017. This he made known through his Facebook live broadcast.
Many Nigerians believe that age is a considerable factor when it is about leadership. Atiku Abubakar was born 25 November 1946. When he ran for office in 2019, he was 72 while President Joe Biden was 74 when he was elected president of the United States defeating Donald Trump who was 72. If Joe Biden, 80 and Donald Trump, 76 are possible candidates to be elected president of US by November 5, 2024, should Atiku Abubakar, 76 take another shot at the presidential race in 2027?