Amid coalition talks: Atiku declares interest in 2027 presidential election

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said he will continue to compete for the country’s number one position as long as he is alive and healthy.

Atiku, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 and 2023 presidential elections, although justified the number of times he ran without making progress, stated that even the former president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, ran seven times before. his eventual victory.

The former vice president made the revelation about his intention to contest the 2027 presidential election during an interview on Voice of America’s Hausa service.

“Of course, I will continue to compete again and again as long as I am alive and healthy,” Atiku said. “Even the former president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, opposed it seven times before he finally won.”

His decision comes amid speculation that he was working on a merger or alliance with Peter Obi, the Labor Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, and other opposition leaders to topple the ruling All Congress. Progressives (APC) in 2027. But the former Director General of the LP Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, said the only condition that can make Obi consider returning to the PDP is if he will be handed the presidential candidacy.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Atiku said only the people and the party would decide his fate for the 2027 elections, adding that it was too early to decide whether he would contest the presidency or not in the next election cycle.

He also noted that his recent meeting with Obi could be a sign of possible preparation for the 2027 general elections.

“This is for anyone who thinks there is going to be a misunderstanding between Obi and me; Let me assure you that not even a little problem is going to happen between us,” Abubakar said.

“Furthermore, we will support whoever is elected to represent us in the next election.

“I have made it clear in my previous speeches that if our parties are to merge to agree on a southeastern candidate, as long as he is qualified, we will allow it.”

The 77-year-old, who will turn 81 in 2027 for the country’s next general election, also spoke in the VOA interview about the PDP’s current crisis, stating that its members must be united to win the elections.

“However, given the current state of the PDP, it is clear that an effort alone will not be enough to win the elections. Strong support and collaboration with other parties is required,” he added.

Atiku has made a record six attempts to be president of Nigeria: in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023. He ran in the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1993, but lost to the late business magnate and politician Moshood. Abiola.

He was the Action Congress presidential candidate in the 2007 presidential election, coming third behind Umaru Yar’adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP).

He then contested the PDP presidential primaries during the 2011 presidential election, losing to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2014, he joined the APC ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries, losing to Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017, he returned to the PDP and was the party’s presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, losing again to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

The last contest Atiku participated in was in 2023, where he lost to President Bola Tinubu.

Statement will not affect planned coalition – Yunusa

But the spokesperson for Peter Obi’s presidential campaign in the last election, Dr. Tanko Yunusa, responded that Atiku’s statement will not affect the coalition envisaged by the opposition parties.

Yunusa told Daily Trust that if the coalition works, its leaders will decide who will lead, not an individual. However, he suggested that the PDP presidential candidate in the last election would make the right decision if he decided to support Peter Obi in the next election.