The recent PDP convention held in Port Harcourt has come and gone. But memories of the decision taken there will linger on for a long time. One of it is the emergence of former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate. He beat others to it in a keenly contested election.
How did Atiku emerge? How did Atiku beat other aspirants to it? City People can authoritatively reveal that to you. Below are some key reasons.
HE WAS AN EARLY STARTER
Earlier than many other aspirants, Atiku hit the road as soon as he joined the PDP late last year. He was able to consolidate and organise all his support base within the PDP. Within two months Atiku has been positioned as the only best alternative to Buhari.
(2) He ran a very organised campaign structure, with an imposing campaign headquarters, a tall edifice in the exclusive high brow Wuse II district of Abuja. While others were busy appointing just DG’s and in some cases, Spokesperson, Atiku ran a full compliment campaign organisation which meets regularly to strategise and review situations from time time. Since the primary election was about the expected number of votes from each state and regions, several data were being collated from various levels, concentrating on areas of strength and weaknesses. Even after the primaries, Governor Wike who was the Chief Promoter of Tambuwal and who did not hide his preference was said to have conceded that of all the aspirants, Atiku is the only person who has the most effective campaign machine to win not only a PDP primary but also the Presidency in a general election. He allegedly said they don’t believe Tambuwal could lose the primary based on the amount of work they (Wike group) had done and their level of preparations.
HE HAD TALKS WITH ALL THE OTHER ASPIRANTS
Unknown to many, Atiku had ongoing talks with other aspirants on the need for all of them to support him. He is the most senior and most experienced of all of them.
THE SUPPORT OF THE GENERALS
Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Abdusalam Abubakar, Theophilus Danjuma, and former National Security Adviser, Gusau; the only civilian among them being Professor Ango Abdulahi who is the Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum met in Minna. Of the 5, only Gusau and Ango Abdulahi were already sold on Atiku. Danjuma wanted a Christian northern candidate. There had been speculations and suggestions in some quarters that Abdusalam might be drafted into the race at the last minute, while General Babangida did not have any preferred candidate yet. Meanwhile, Professor Ango Abdulahi, an old associate of Atiku had his initial fears about Atiku’s campaign focus on Restructuring, especially on how that will appeal to the North. His fears were however laid to rest by Pa Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere chieftain who also shared a relationship with the Professor, both having participated in the National Confab and some Constitution review committees in the past.
We gathered that Chief Ayo Adebanjo shared ideas with his friend on how restructuring will be more beneficial to even the north more than every other region. Having been sold and convinced on the practicability of a harmless restructuring, Ango Abdulahi bought into the Atiku project and was ready to sell same to the generals and all leading interests in the North.
At the Minna meeting, both Gusau and Abdulahi were then able to convince the Generals on the choice of Atiku. Their next challenge was how to get former President Olusegun Obasanjo, whom the Generals considered as the most senior and have accepted as their leader. News making the round, however, said a message was sent through some emissaries to persuade Obj to at least for once trust their own judgement as they have also followed his own over the years.