A Financial Times report has indicated that the complicated ‘electoral maths’ of Africa’s largest economy may count in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the forthcoming general elections.
It stressed that no one in Nigeria’s history has run for president more times than Atiku, with the top prize eluding him on each of the five occasions, the report stressed that in February, the former vice president will make his sixth attempt as Nigerians choose a replacement for outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is a life-long ambition and as long as I’m alive and strong and healthy, I will continue pursuing it,” Abubakar told the Financial Times at his suite in one of Lagos’s most luxurious hotels after a campaign rally.
But he quickly suggested this would be his final act: “I’ve come to the last stage now. I don’t think after this I will run again,” FT quoted him as saying, ARISE TV reports.
Amid a throng of jubilant supporters in the hotel lobby, an unnamed long-serving Atiku aide, the report said, sketched out his 76-year-old boss’s route to victory.
Atiku, he said, would give his opponents a close run in their southern strongholds and take advantage of Buhari’s absence on the ballot for the first time since 1999 to win the vote-rich north by a wide margin.
The election will pit Atiku, of the opposition PDP, against Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and Peter Obi, of the Labour party (LP), who it said has emerged as the first credible third-party candidate since Nigeria’s return to democracy 23 years ago.
It recalled a recent poll of registered voters in rural communities in 12 of the 36 states which put Obi ahead.
Africa Director at the Eurasia Consultancy, Amaka Anku, said Abubakar had advantages that could work in his favour.
“Atiku is a household name and being well known across the north and being a northerner, given the structure of Nigeria’s voter rolls, is a major selling point,” she said.
But his success is not guaranteed. Voters may have become “jaded” by his repeated attempts at the presidency, she said.
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