By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a frontline aspirant for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is taking stock of his electioneering campaign across the country for the 2019 general elections. The former vice president evaluating the responses to his overtures and horse trading in the 36 states of the federation has identified zones of strength and weaknesses.
Atiku and his team discovered his strength in his primary geo-political zone, the North East, the South West, South East, South-South, and relatively the North West. The former vice president recognized his weakness in the north Central where Senate President Bukola Saraki is also contesting the PDP presidential ticket.
The Waziri Adamawa is, however, uncomfortable with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who is yet to give him a YES or assurance of support. Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has also been identified to be unstable in his responses. He had given changing responses to the former vice president on the different visits he made to the state.
However, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun states are promising for the former vice president.
The five states in the South East – Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia – are secured for Atiku.
The North East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Borno and Taraba stand with the former vice president despite the candidacy of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State. Indeed, the zone has commenced internal negotiation on behalf of Atiku for Dankwambo to step down for the former VP.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has thrown his weight behind Atiku and got Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to toe the same line. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Edo PDP, Cross River, Akwa Ibom are trailing the Jonathan track.
Atiku is not giving up on the seven states in the North West which include Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna and Zamfara, he confidence of getting relative proportion of votes from the zone despite the presidential aspirants from there.
Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, Ibrahim Sherau, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and Saminu Turaki are presidential aspirants from the North West geopolitical zone.
Though former President Olusegun Obasanjo continues to oppose Atiku, prominent Yoruba leaders are solidly in support of the former vice president. Atiku has not given up on appealing to Obasanjo for reconciliation; he believes that at the end they will both come a point of understanding.
Former President Obasanjo, who had subtly returned to PDP in the fight to unseat Buhari in 2019, recently confronted PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, for becoming close to Atiku.
Some PDP leaders have been moving for consensus candidate but the presidential aspirants are insisting on elective primary to nominate the party’s presidential candidate.
The former vice president is already working out a winning model to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, when given the PDP ticket. Areas of critical elections have been identified, and plans are being worked out to counter the APC ‘critical election’ plans.
Meanwhile, the Atiku campaign group does not consider the current evaluation static; the team has declared that more works needs to be done, particularly, in the stronghold of certain opponents, particularly, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Plateau and Nasarawa states, where the team identified weaknesses and withholding of support.