By Eric Elezuo
Finally, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Primaries have come and gone. Finally, the ever irrepressible and consistent Alhaji Atiku Abubakar got the much desired presidential ticket after four horrendous life time attempts. He beat 12 formidable, experienced and equally time tested opponents to pick the ticket. Finally, the last lap of Atiku’s quest to become President of Nigeria has just kick started.
Like The Boss has constantly and exclusively reported, Atiku, whose quest to claim the exalted seat of the presidency needs only one more hurdle in the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari to scale, has finally made good the permutation by picking a seasoned banking guru and first class business technocrat, Peter Obi, as his running mate. A combination that seems to give the ruling All Progressives Congress a sleepless night, as well as poised to become President Buhari’s nemesis as the countdown to February 2019 gets more interesting.
The tension in the ruling party’s camp is heightened by the never imagined ‘forgiveness’ of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to Atiku after what seemed like eternity. Obasanjo broke his promise of being Atiku’s anathema when he received him in his house at Abeokuta, and publicly forgave him, calling him ‘president to be’.
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has not hidden his intention to be president since since 1993 when he lost out to Chief MKO Abiola. He ressurected his intention in 2003, seeking to run against his boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was running for a second term. Ever since, Atiku has remained a permanent feature in presidential primaries, and has lost all except for the 2018 edition where Port Harcourt smiled on him and compensated him for the all those years of failure. His hopes of becoming the landlord of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, is just one more step away.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is reputed as the most formidable of all the current Presidential candidates 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 all regions by picking in virtually all of them. His scheming and negotiating abilities have helped him to corner all reputable kingmakers in the country to his side even as the incumbent administration has lost favour with both party men and the generality of the public.
A former Customs boss, who retired from the service at the peak of his career to face private practice, Atiku, as he is popularly called, has shown that it takes determination, commitment and can-do-attitude to turn around almost anything, and that according to him, is the spirit he is bringing to governance in Nigeria if and when elected.
He 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.
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. He is therefore seen as that 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)’.
He has against all odds created a cultlike followership in his trail, and looks unstoppable. it is believed that baring unforseen criminal occurrences, the presidency is as good as his come 2019.
Born November 25, 1946, Atiku GCON, is a prolific and successful businessman. He served as the second elected vice-president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Atiku started school Jada Primary School at the age of eight. In 1960, he was admitted to Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola where he graduated with a Grade Three WASC/GCE Certificate in 1965.
Following secondary school, Abubakar studied a short while at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna. He worked briefly as a Tax Officer in the regional Ministry of Finance, from where he gained admission to the school of Hygiene in Kano in 1966.
He graduated with a Diploma in 1967, having served as Interim Student Union President at the school. In 1967 he enrolled for a Law Diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration, on a scholarship from regional government. After graduation in 1969, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was employed by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Atiku worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to become the Deputy Director, as the second highest position in the Service was then known. He retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics. He ran for the office of governor in the then Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) in 1991, and for the Presidency in 1993, placing third after MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries.
In 1998 he was elected Governor of Adamawa State. While still Governor-Elect he was selected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo as as the suitable choice of a running mate, and together they won the presidency.
Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad. He is also the founder of Adama Beverages Limited, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), both in Yola, Adamawa.
Atiku’s sincere intentions to set the country’s economy back on track neccessitated that selection of yet another indefatigable technocrat anf former two terms governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, better known as ‘Okwute’ (Rock)
Peter Obi is highly unassuming, and boasts of a track record of prudence, performance and achievement.
Evidence of his shrewd administrative skills is the claim that when he was leaving office as Governor of Anambra State, a whopping $230 billion was sitting in the treasury and consequently inherited by his successor, Willie Obiano. The amount was broken down as follows: $156 million in bank, N25 billion cash and N25 billion in local investment.
The soft-spoken businessman born in 1961, is the Chairman of Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission. Obi is known to have swam in the murky waters of Nigerian politics and came out smelling like roses. He fought the godfathers of Anambra politics and dealt decisively with rogue elements who have been feeding fat on government.
A 1980 Philosophy graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Obi is an all-rounder, having his hand in as many pies as there are available including trading, real estate and financial services.
A corporate titan, he has held such positions as Chairman of Next International Nigeria Ltd, Chairman and Director of Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd, Guardian Express Bank Plc, Future View Securities Ltd, Paymaster Nigeria Ltd, Chams Nigeria Ltd, Data Corp Ltd and Card Centre Ltd.
At the twilight of his professional financial career, he became the youngest Chairman of Fidelity Bank Plc.
Atiku’s consideration of Obi is hinged on his very amiable disposition, uncanny acumen for stopping unnecessary spending, never-say-die spirit and ability to connect effortlessly with the youths.
The general belief, which Alhaji Atiku also shares, is the fact that it is time again for an Igbo man to occupy the Vice Presidency as compensation for their perceived marginalization.
With a combination of political sagacity and sterling achievements as businessmen and economy minded fellows, both men are fully prepared to hit the ground running from day one as President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.