There are a handful of politicians in the country right now who are not happy with the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They loathe him to high heavens. They often disparage him and simply cannot embrace everything he stands for. For most of them, he is the reason why many of their political aspirations have continued to hit the rocks. Every time they try to work against him, he sets up in their paths hurdles too great for them to surmount. For this reason, they despise him. But the man that probably despises him the most at this very moment is the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku is not happy with both INEC and Tinubu. He is very bitter about the outcome of the election. He insists the election was marred by irregularities and massive rigging. The former vice president is embittered and totally shattered by the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect by INEC. He has been so angry that he, along with several others, took to the streets to protest in front of INEC’s Abuja. He has threatened to embark on more protests until INEC declares the election cancelled. At the press conference organised by Atiku a few days before the protest, the man was simply disenchanted. He cut the picture of a completely forlon and frustrated man who knew his political journey had not just hit a brick wall, it has also reached the end of the road.
Anyone who has followed Atiku’s political trajectory closely will surely sympathise with him. No doubt, Atiku’s anger and frustrations are understandable. If you knew him from way back and understand where he’s coming from, only then will you feel his pain. Only then can you understand why he is a terribly shattered man right now. Political pundits have also expressed same sentiments about this illustrious son of Adamawa state. And the conclusion is that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu may have deal him one blow too many this time. He may just have ended Atiku’s political career and may not be able to contest for presidency again, much less become the president of Nigeria. This could very well be his last shot at the presidency.
Many political pundits believe the result of the last presidential election has put Atiku in na very tight situation. He was sure he was going to win the 2023 elections. Even when everything that could possibly go wrong had gone wrong with the PDP, he wasd still confident he could pull off a victory. But things didn’t quite pan out that way. According to analysts, the election would’ve been a walk in the park for Atiku if Tinubu was not on the ballot. But with Tinubu, the Master Political Strategist in the race, everything changed. Atiku was up against his biggest political test ever. And he failed.
Here is why analysts believe his political career is over. Atiku is 76 years of age right now, by the end of Tinubu’s first term, he will be 80 years old. That age will be a hard sell for him. Already, as it is now, a lot of Nigerians have insisted the country must do away with the old order. And the old order includes Atiku. They want men in their mid sixties down to seventies and above to steer clear of politics and leave it to the younger ones. This is the reason why the youths preferred Peter Obi to Tinubu and Atiku. And that is why they voted massively for Obi, galvanising votes for him through their Obidient movement. Tinubu and Atiku enjoyed very little support from the youth. They wanted them out of the system. So, the question is, if it was tough for Atiku to attract any support from the youths during the last elections, how will he possibly get anything from them by the time he turns 80 years old? That would be most unlikely.
Indeed, not a few have also wondered how possible it will be for an Atiku to beat Tinubu in the next four years when he, as the president, will be conducting the elections? Of course he will enjoy absolute power of incumbency and use to his fullest the entire fedeal might at his disposal. While under President Buhari, he enjoyed no special privileges, despite that he was the candidate of the ruling party. There was no power of incumbency to back him up and there was no federal might for him to fall back on through out the election process. Buhari had created a level playing ground for all the contestants to compete and slug things out among themselves. There were no special privileges for Asiwaju or anyone for that matter. Yet, Tinubu braved all the odds and went on to win the election. Is that the man Atiku wants to beat in the next four years when he would have everything he needs to win the election right within his grasp? That will be an almost impossible feat to achieve. Tinubu has proven that indeed, he is the Master Politicial Strategist, and sadly, for Atiku, Asiwaju has just deal his political career the final blow that will send him to his inevitable retirement.
According to an analyst who spoke on national television, “Atiku has just been very unlucky. He has been unlucky in the sense that he had to contend with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the eventual winner of the presidential election. He was unfortunate that Tinubu was also on the ballot. And we are talking about a Tinubu with immense political means, structure and electoral value spread across the nooks and crannies of the country. The man is regarded as a Master Political Strategist and he proved that during the last elections. Tinubu was the only candidate that could’ve stopped Atiku Abubakar. If Tinubu didn’t contest for the presidency, we would’ve been talking about President-elect Atiku Abubakar right now.”
But did Atiku believe Tinubu could stop him, the man was asked. “Obviously not. He knew Tinubu was a strong candidate but he relied heavily on the numbers he expected he would gather from the north. He didn’t expect that northerners would vote for Asiwaju the way they did. He didn’t think Asiwaju could get the number of votes he got in many of the key northern states, including his own Adamawa State where Asiwaju still came second and with only a reasonable gap between them. He was warned. Atiku saw the signs that he would be given a run for his money in the north by Tinubu but Atiku ignored these signals. He can be arrogant sometimes, it’s a Fulani thing. He underestimated Tinubu and he paid dearly for it.”
The damage done to Atiku’s political becomes more impactful wqhen one traces back the man’s political trajectory. Atiku has been contesting for the presidency for a long while now. The February 25th presidential election is his 6th shot at the presidency. Abubakar first ran for the presidency in 1993 under the Social Democratic Party but lost to Moshood Abiola in the primary. However, Abiola’s mandate was truncated when the military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd.), annulled the 1993 elections, popularly termed Nigeria’s freest and fairest election to date.
In 2007, Atiku, who was vice president, wanted to succeed Obasanjo as President, but could not secure the latter’s endorsement under the PDP during the 2007 election season. Obasanjo however opted for late Umaru Yar’Adua. However, in September 2007, Atiku looked elsewhere to realise his ambition; he clinched the Action Congress presidential ticket months after he defected to the party.
However, he was defeated by the PDP’s candidate, Umaru Yar’Adua. Although Abubakar challenged the result of the 2007 election in court, the Supreme Court eventually dismissed his case. Yar‘Adua had also admitted that the election that brought him into office was flawed, but the apex court upheld his election.
In 2009, Atiku returned to the PDP and contested for the party’s presidential ticket in 2011 but lost to Goodluck Jonathan, who went on to win the presidency.
Not one to give up, Atiku, in 2014, dumped the PDP and joined the All Progressives Congress, a party that had newly emerged from the fusion of the Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party, Congress for Progressive Change, and an arm of the All Progressives Grand Alliance. He contested the party’s presidential ticket in 2015 but was defeated by the current President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who went on to win the presidential election.
The Waziri Adamawa went back to the PDP, his former political base, in 2018 and contested the party’s presidential ticket in 2019. This time, he emerged as the party’s candidate. However, despite the endorsement by Obasanjo who had serially opposed his ambition, Atiku lost again to the incumbent president, Buhari. And in 2023, he lost again to the APC flag bearer, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
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