In an interview with Ovation magazine publisher, Dele Momodu, Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan weighed the chances of an Atiku Abubakar presidency in 2019.
“He can’t get the APC ticket,” Jonathan said of the former Vice President. “If Atiku gets our party (PDP) ticket, he would compete well. He’s always a passionate politician.”
The one big condition: Jonathan however said that for Atiku to stand a chance, he “would have to reach out to our boss, Baba OBJ, the boss of all bosses. We’ve all learnt at different times that you ignore OBJ at your own peril. OBJ has the magic wand, respected at home and abroad.”
Jonathan famously fell out with Obasanjo in the buildup to the last elections, leading to the latter’s decision to shred his PDP membership card and endorse the APC ticket led by Muhammadu Buhari.
PDP is calling: Jonathan’s statement is another pointer to the fact that Atiku may soon be returning to the PDP as his chances in the ruling party appear slim if Pres. Buhari vies for a second term as he is widely expected to do.
Atiku and Jonathan reportedly met in early October where Jonathan advised him to decamp early to the PDP in order to “enable him to fulfil the eligibility condition in the party’s constitution and also have ample time to integrate his political structure into the PDP’s.” According to reports, Atiku is demanding that he gets an automatic ticket if he decamps.
While the PDP is open to the idea of welcoming the former vice president back into its fold, it is so far not willing to grant Atiku’s automatic ticket request as there are other PDP members from the North who have already declared interest in the top job.
In the Momodu interview, Jonathan was asked which zone he believed the running mate should come from if the candidate hails from the North. He said, “strategically, since Professor Osinbajo is already running with Buhari, the South South and South East, remain the most fertile grounds. And there are many brilliant people there waiting for the chance. The Governors control some of the richest states in Nigeria except Lagos…”