Atiku begins plans for 2019 as he awaits Buhari's return

Atiku begins plans for 2019 as he awaits Buhari's return

- Members of the PDP are urging Atiku Abubakar to return to the party

- The APC chieftain is waiting for the return of President Muhammadu Buhari

- Sources indicates he also wants an assurance from the party that he would get the presidential ticket

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is ready to return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 presidential election if the party will assure him of an automatic ticket.

According to This Day, the PDP in Adamawa is making arrangement for the former vice president to return to the party but he has asked for guarantee before leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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According to PDP sources: “The secret discussions are ongoing with a wing of the leadership of the PDP and this has encouraged the former vice-president to start consultations with critical leaders in the northern and southern parts of the country.

“However, Atiku has informed the PDP leaders who have approached him to guarantee him the nomination of the party for the presidential election before he can leave the APC, as he does not want to be messed up for the third time.”

It was reported that several governors in the PDP were willing to allow Atiku return to the PDP especially Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti who declared his presidential intention during the party’s non-elective convention.

Party sources claimed that Fayose would not mind positioning for the vice presidency candidacy as Atiku was a strong politician who looked ready to take over power.

It was also reported that the leadership of the PDP was comfortable with Atiku whom they believe was well liked by both northerners and southerners.

Concerning the issue of Atiku’s age, the source said focus should be on his health rather than his age.

“We had the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who was in his mid-fifties but he had health issues which led to his demise midway into his presidency.

“Also, President Muhammadu Buhari had health issues which we warned against during electioneering in 2015, but it was dismissed as hate speech.

“Then we have persons that are the same age or much older but are healthy and physically fit. So Nigerians should be more concerned about a persons health than his age,” the source stated.

The source said the APC chieftain is aware of the issue surrounding his age and health and is prepared to make his medical certificates for the last ten years public to allay any concern about his health.

The party source said Atiku is waiting for the return of President Muhammadu Buhari in order to know his plans for 2019.

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“Right now the former vice-president is waiting for Mr. President to return. He wants to hold discussions with him, presumably to ascertain if Buhari will contest in 2019.

“Once he gets a clearer picture on the direction of things, he will take a final plunge as to whether to return to the PDP or remain with APC,” the source added.

Meanwhile, there is division among two major northern youth groups over who to endorse as a northern candidate in 2019.

According to the report, the 2019 purported presidential ambitions of Buhari and Atiku have created a gulf between the groups.

The division reportedly started after AYCF leader, Alhaji Yerima Shettima granted an interview, asking Buhari and Atiku and other northern political leaders above 60 years of age to perish the thought of seeking elective offices in 2019.

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