The insinuation over the return of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the build up to the 2019 presidential race is generating phobia of offsets in the party.
Though, Atiku who is still a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has not shown any indication that he is returning to PDP which he dumped to join the APC in 2014, but the political calculations on his return to the opposition political party get stronger in the same manner that the innuendo spread wider.
Several PDP leaders have drawn the conclusion that Atiku is only returning to the party for the 2019 presidential ticket. This they argued will affect those PDP leaders who went through the trial times of the leadership crisis to redeem the party from disintegration and extinction.
Some leaders, however, were of the view that Atiku’s return to the party would increase PDP’s political assets and help the party to gain stronger grounds across the country.
Some others think differently. They argued that though Atiku may have huge political stature but that popular views showed that he may be more of liability than asset, thereby increasing the burden of image laundering for the PDP.
The general belief, however, is that Atiku’s return to the PDP will increase monumental activities in the party towards 2019.
While those political calculus are going on, partisan activities in Adamawa State reflect an ulterior motive to consolidate the home front for the battle ahead in the PDP. Invariably, the State PDP leadership is going through mild crisis; all showing reflexes of Atiku’s purported interference with the emergence of PDP leaders in the state.
Dr. Umar Addo, a former Personal Assistant to Atiku on Research and Strategy, in a protest letter to the PDP National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, raised alarm that Atiku has hijacked the PDP in Adamawa State. He protested that Atiku’s loyalists who rejoined the PDP about a week ago were declared elected at the party’s State Congress without first obtaining waivers as required by the PDP constitution.
While Addo’s petition was still under consideration, the Adamawa State PDP made passionate appeal to Atiku Abubakar to return to the party in the build up to the 2019 general elections.
Shehu Tahir, State Chairman, Adamawa PDP, speaking to party stakeholders at a meeting last Wednesday in Yola, declared: “It is not a wise decision for Atiku to abandon the house he helped to build; so, we want him back. We are calling on Atiku Abubakar, who is among the PDP founding fathers, not to abandon the house he had helped to build. This is because the party needs him now to continue from where he stopped.”
“We urge our stakeholders to prevail on him and others who left PDP to reconsider their decisions and return to the party,” Tahir had maintained.
Recent activities in the APC showed clearly that President Muhammadu Buhari has a battle to fight with Atiku for APC’s presidential ticket. This become obvious as some stakeholders in the ruling party have declared that there would be no automatic ticket for the president.
However, it is not certain if the PDP project is a plan B for Atiku on the event that he loses
the APC presidential ticket to President Buhari. The former vice president has in recent time shown that he is no longer on power experimentation in his preparation for the 2019 presidential election.
Atiku has, in positioning himself for 2019, been criticizing the APC Government, taking firm positions on critical national issues like restructuring and political reforms towards true federalism in Nigeria, making strong case against imbalance in the polity.
Meanwhile, several non-state and non-partisan political actors have been building structures for grassroots mobilization of support across the country for the former vice president.