In the build-up to the presidential primaries of APC, many PDP stalwarts would tell you they were hoping and praying that General Buhari should win the party’s ticket because they know how to beat him. Yes, the PDP had beaten him in the 2003 and 2007 elections and President Jonathan had also defeated the general in the 2011 poll. But the PDP guys were being clever by half: they were saying the exact opposite of what they actually wanted. They fear and dread Buhari in the race and that’s the truth. President Jonathan has been running from pillar to post in a bid to win next week’s poll. Truth is the Buhari of 2003, 2007 and 2011 is different from the Buhari of today, in the race that it is, and this all because of the coalition of forces now thrown around Buhari, particularly by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
But this is not really about Buhari, it is about former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Who says Atiku is no longer relevant after losing the APC presidential ticket? The Atiku the PDP leaders had forced out of the party is the one they have now run to for help to confront Buhari. By the way, Atiku came third behind Buhari and Kano Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in the APC primaries.
But he has said he is not leaving APC for any other party. President Jonathan held a late night meeting with Atiku at Atiku’s Abuja residence last week to persuade him to support him in the race. But the president met a stonewall: the former vice president refused to bulge. When that did not work, some PDP chieftains arranged together some 120 groups they dubbed Atiku Support Group, which claimed they were now in PDP working for President Jonathan. It was at an elaborate ceremony held at the Shehu Musa Ya’Adua Centre, Abuja and had in attendance PDP top guns like FCT Minister Bala Muhammed, PDP Deputy National Chairman Uche Secondus and Special Adviser on Political Matters to the president, Prof. Ahmed Rufa’i. No sooner had they gathered together than Atiku disowned the group. He denied any knowledge of the groups of politicians in the so-called Atiku Group. He urged Nigerians to discountenance the politicians. He said he remains in APC. He said he was not leaving APC for any party and he is in support of Buhari. Who says Atiku is no longer a factor in the 2015 race?