The 2019 elections have come and gone. A lot of intriguing things happened in the build up to the elections with high profile defections happening in the two major parties in the country PDP and APC, which later played a huge role in the outcome of the elections. One of the major politicians who cross carpeted from his party was former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who moved from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He eventually went on to contest for the office of the Presidency on the platform of the party.
When Atiku left the APC to the PDP, it generated a lot of buzz in the political space as Atiku was a politician with a very strong pedigree, and had played a key role in the ouster of former President Goodluck Jonathan, from office and the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Number One citizen of the country in 2015. So the news of his departure from the party affected the political calculations ahead of the elections as it was clear that he had an interest in contesting for the position of the Presidency in 2019. And he was going to be a formidable opponent to President Buhari at the polls too due to his immense political structure. But then, it seems his whole troubles began, when he made that political move. Let’s see how.
Fast forward to the Primaries of the PDP, Atiku seemed to have his work cut out for him as he was contesting against other political stalwarts such as Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who both defected along sides Atiku from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Ahmed Markafi who was until recently at the time, the National Chairman of the Party. But the political sagacity of Atiku saw him winning with a wide margin at the PDP Presidential primaries, thereby showing to Nigerians and the world at large that he was ready to eventually assume the Presidency after three (3) previous unsuccessful attempts. The battle line was finally drawn.
Atiku went through a lot of trouble to ensure that he emerged victorious at the the polls as first of all, there were rumours that he had settled some of the delegates who casted their votes with Dollars so he could be voted for. These claims have however not been substantiated. But he reportedly spent heavily to attain the ticket of his party. When the elections finally came, he won in a good number of states but eventually lost the elections to President Buhari with around 4 million votes according to the results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
After the elections, Atiku had refused to congratulate the President, but instead he said he was headed for the courts as he felt he had been cheated of his “mandate”. Meanwhile his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had earlier rejected the results with the agent of the party at the coalition ground, Osita Chidoka, refusing to sign after the results where announced. Atiku then released a video a day to the governorship election calling for the electorates to vote for all PDP candidates who were contesting, while taking a shot at certain “undemocratic elements” who were out to subvert the will of the people in reference to the outcome of the Presidential elections.
As the dust was beginning to settle, another woe befell the former Vice President, as his son-in-law, Babalele Abdullahi, who was the finance director to Atiku group of companies was arrested by the EFCC. Not too long after, the head of the PDP legal team, Aminu Turaki, who was said to be putting together the legal team that would represent Atiku at the Presidential Election Tribunal, was also arrested by the anti-graft body, but he was later released.
A few weeks to the start of the proceedings by the Presidential Election Tribunal, some posters were seen to be floated around the capital city of Abuja. These posters now termed the ‘Pukka Posters’ referred to Atiku as the right and the Genuine, possibly hinting that he was the real winner of the elections. This sparked a reaction from the Federal Government, as a spokesperson to the President, Lauretta Onochie, said it was tantamount to committing treason and said that Atiku should count himself lucky that he was not not imprisoned for that action. Atiku and the PDP however denied involvement in the emergence of the posters and reiterated their commitment to the Judiciary, as the case was before the Tribunal.
Not long after, another claim which must have unsettled the former vice president came up again as there were reports that he had paid a huge sum of money to a highly rated American lobbyist to make the US recognise as him as the genuine winner of the Presidential elections. Atiku again had to deny this claims, stating that they were untrue.
Just a few weeks after this claim, then came the claim of a coup which was being planned to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. The ruling party through the minister for information, Lai Mohammed, revealed this plot, and accusing fingers was once again pointed at Atiku and the PDP. The Nigerian Armed Forces and the DSS both released separate statements addressing the coup issue which seemed to have given credence to the alleged plot, but then, no proof of this was shown. A bogus report only came up in a section of the media that Atiku had paid some Generals $10 Million to carry out the coup, but again, this was never substantiated. Atiku had to reply after Lai Mohammed called him out blasting the information Minister as one full of untruth.
As the furore of the said coup plot was dying down, the Presidential candidate of the PDP released another alarm in a statement claiming that there were plans to cause trouble in some parts of the country, after which the blame would be passed on him. This could tarnish his reputation and even send him to jail, if such a plot was perfected. Obviously, it is not unclear why he would be afraid and have to voice out his fears as a number of attempts have been made to either discredit him or make him look bad. The posters, the claim of lobbying the US government, the reports of a coup plot, all seems to be pointing to one direction – Atiku may be imprisoned or rubbished soon if care is not taken, and he seems to have realized this, hence his cautious actions.
While embarking on his journey to become the President, this time around, the former vice president obviously never envisaged the level of troubles and calumny that would have been thrown at him by a government which seems determined to hold on to power at all costs. As the Presidential Election Tribunal continues, things are still tensed up, but one can never tell what the future holds. Atiku’s troubles may just yield positive efforts or his fears may eventually end up catching up with him.
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