Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to concentrate on strengthening the main opposition platform, before the 2023 election cycle.
“Our preoccupation at this point in the @OfficialPDPNig should not focus on elections, but on rebuilding and strengthening our party for the challenges ahead of us”, Atiku Abubakar, who was the party’s Presidential Candidate in the 2019 elections, said in a tweet on Saturday morning.
Atiku stated that rather than playing politics when the campaign season is still at least 30 months away, resources should be channelled towards bolstering the PDP’s structure, which has weakened consistently since it lost the centre after 16 years, in 2015.
Recall, that Atiku had challenged President Muhammadu Buhari, of the the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the February 2019, general elections, but lost by a few million votes.
Buhari’s victory was confirmed by the Supreme Court, after a lengthy litigation.
Over the past few days, he has faced rumours of taking desperate measures to get the PDP’s Presidential ticket again, in 2023, when Buhari would step down after the two terms permitted by the Constitution.
On Friday, Media reports quoted Walid Jibrin, the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, an advisory body of party’s elders, as alleging threats to his life, because he declined to support an automatic ticket for Atiku Abubakar, in 2023.
“They said I should say Atiku is the man that I want, because I am a Leader”, Jibrin said of some unnamed men who allegedly visited him to threaten him on backing Atiku Abubakar.
“They should not also forget that the party has a constitution and guidelines, which say there must be primary, for whoever wants to contest.”
Jibrin was among the earliest backers of Atiku for the party’s Presidential ticket, in 2019. Given his role as a party Leader, who should be impartial in controversial matters like Candidates nominations, Jibrin’s overt support for Atiku pitted him against other members of the party, ahead of its primaries, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, last October.
However, as focus rapidly shifts to 2023, following the Supreme Court’s verdict in November, on the 2019 elections, the major political parties are becoming increasingly drawn into arguments about who would emerge as their respective Presidential Candidates, in three years’ time.
Although, Atiku, 73, has not expressed interest in running for Office again in 2023, he has not dismissed the possibility or disowned those drumming support for him. Perhaps more than anyone else in the main opposition party, he is widely seen as holding the sufficient political and financial resources to contest.