By Eric Elezuo
With the gale of defections that has so miserably hit the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), it seems the stage is set for a royal rumble in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This is because all the potential aspirants’ or rather presidential hopefuls have found a new base in the main opposition party.
Apart from the former vice President, Alhaji Abubakar, who took the bull by the horn much earlier in announcing his defection to the opposition, the likes of former Kano State governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso and incumbent Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, may have arrived the PDP as an afterthought. However, political watchers are of the opinion that the movement is not an afterthought as their body languages in the months past have suggested in very clear terms that these men were practical example of the hand of Jacob but the voice of Esau.
As it is today, the bone of contention is the presidential ticket.
Atiku, on July 21, 2018 at Yola Stadium officially and publicly declared his intention to run for the presidency come 2019, and he is following it up with wide national consultations to ginger his intention.
It is worthy of note as well that Atiku may not be the only aspirant that has voiced his intention – the likes of Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Alhaji Makarfi and others, who are not fresh defectors, have not only harboured the intention, but has spoken very clear.
But while the APC mourns the loss of many of their political heavyweights, the PDP, which seems to be the gainer, may crumble if it fails to manage its huge success very well. And that will depend on its ability to collectively, and without rancour, adopt a consensus candidate, back him wholeheartedly and support him with both party and personal machinery.
According to investigations, it was revealed that the two men uppermost in the list of the aspirants jostling to wrestle power from President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC national government are the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and incumbent Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal.
Investigations further revealed that while Atiku has made nationwide in road, Tambuwal has the thorough backing of the Sokoto Caliphate, which allegedly determines the side the northern votes swing
“Tambuwal is a more trusted northerner than Atiku, and the north will basically support someone who will 100 per cent work in their interest. Tambuwal is that person, not Atiku,” an anonymous source told The Boss.
Earlier in the year, The Boss authoritatively reported that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was concluding plans to adopt Tambuwal, as its flag bearer in the forthcoming 2019 presidential election.
The report was based on reliable sources which told TheBoss that the rank and file of the main opposition party is wooing the governor, who about four years ago ditched the party for the APC where he won the Sokoto State governorship election. Today, Taambuwal has returned to the party as a first step towards flying the party’s presidential flag
Tambuwal, who until May 2015, was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has maintained a low profile in the build-up to the much-talked about 2019 presidential election until penultimate Thursday when he declared his defection in a massive fanfare.
Touted as one of the most qualified to wear the crown of presidency come 2019 because of his youth and sundry achievements within a short period of time, Tambuwal was born on January 10, 1966 in Tambuwal village, Sokoto to Alhaji Waziri Tambuwal.
He attended Town Primary School, Tambuwal, Sokoto State, where he obtained Primary School Leaving Certificate in 1979 before moving to Government Teachers’ College, Dogon-Daji, where he equally obtained the Teachers Grade II Certificate in 1984.
Connected and versed in national and world politics, Tambuwal had his tertiary education at the rated Usman Dan Fodio University where he studied Law, and graduated with a LLB (Hons) degree in 1991. He was called to the bar in 1992 after completing his one year compulsory legal studies at the Nigerian Law School.
From the influential Sokoto Caliphate, those who see Tambuwal as a potential believe that his origin will stand him in good stead to gain the confidence of the Hausa/Fulani traditional rulers as well as gain the trust of the powerful political class. And this happen to be one of the major reasons he is thrust forward.
Another strong point that makes him an attractive candidate is the immense connection that he has across the country. On account of his former position as speaker he has contacts in all parts. In addition, his energy and youthfulness is a big plus. More so, the clamour for a youth president will somehow give me an edge over his closest rival.
Tambuwal’s immense support among the opposition’s inner circles stems from the fact that he is seen as an untainted politician, who can be firm when necessary and also has a squeaky clean image that will adhere him to floating voters.
He started learning the legislative ropes since 1999 while working as Personal Assistant on Legislative Affairs to Senator Abdullahi Wali, the then Senate Leader.
In 2003, he decided to run for a legislative seat as representative of the Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency. He was elected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
Articulate and savvy, Tambuwal held several positions in the House. In 2005, he became the Minority Leader of the House until he defected to the PDP. Upon his re-election to the House in 2007, he was also elected to the office of the Deputy Chief Whip.
Tambuwal’s experiences at the bar and in politics have propelled him to enviable of position of one of the most recognizable politicians in Nigeria.
On the part of the former Vice President, a longtime Presidential hopeful, he is leaving no stone unturned because by all intent and purpose, this seems to be his last ditch effort to occupy the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He is reputed as the most formidable of all the current Presidential aspirants in terms of clout and connection, and has over the years proved it by physically connecting to all and sundry including showing uncommon love for the people of the South East, including marrying a wife from the region.
The former Customs boss has become the cynosure of all eyes as the race for Aso Rock Villa gathers real momentum, and the most sought after bride even as he continued to make consultation.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has remained a force driven and propelled by the desire to achieve whatever he sets out to do, and consequently has a retinue of incredible credential trailing his illustrious civil and political career.
A schemer of great repute, Dele Momodu, after an exclusive interview, described him in a write up earlier in the year as “a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen.”
Atiku is not hiding the fact that he is the only candidate who can, not only give Buhari a good run for his money, but thoroughly defeat him at the polls when they come face to face in 2019. That explains why all eyes are on him as the one man who has what it takes to send Buhari packing from Aso Rock Villa, and he declared emphatically that ‘I will beat him (Buhari)’.
Today, Atiku has remained the loudest voice in comparison to all that has so far declared presidential ambition, and that explains why all eyes are on him. He has against all odds created a cultlike folloership in his trail, and looks unstoppable. But how the Uche Secondus led PDP decides to handle the forthcoming primary will definitely have a multiplier effect on the outcome of the February 2019 Presidential election.