It is Atiku’s fifth attempt at the presidency. At 72, he is not a young man. Many think that time is running out. Yet, for him, the attainment of the presidency is a critical factor in self-actualisation,so he is burning he cylinder from all ends.He has reached said he had garnered experience after working as the vice-president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to him, “I will not be standing where I am today if my former boss (Olusegun Obasanjo) had not made me the vice-president. All the experience I got then will impact on our government when we win. I give tribute to him (Obasanjo).”
What will be Obasanjo’s reaction to his emergence? Before his emergence, Obasanjo had foreclosed supporting him, saying that God will not forgive him if he queued behind Atiku for president. Almost six years ago, Obasanjo disparaged his former deputy, saying that he could not trust him with political leadership. Asked to comment on Atiku’s bid, he retorted: ‘I dey laugh o.’ Although Atiku later embarked on a peace mission to his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence, reconciliation did not take place.
Recently, Obasanjo allegedly said God had not revealed to him that Atiku will be a good President. The Waziri replied that his former leader needed to consult with God and spend his twilight of life in a honourable manner.
To a large extent, Atiku has moderated the public perception of his personality and political career. But, he has maintained that he has never been tried or convicted for corruption. Critics and foes have also insinuated that he had refrained from travelling to the United States (U.S.) where corruption charges are allegedly hanging on his neck. His supporters have denied it, saying that it is a non-issue. The choice of where a person travels to, they argue, is personal. According to them, enemies are cooking up falsehoods to malign the politician.
But, can Atiku beat President Buhari? Will the North jettison the President and opt for Atiku? Will the isolated defections from the APC to the PDP work in his favour? Who will Nigerians prefer between him and the President? Will Atiku realise his ambition? Time – the four-letter word – will tell.