As the 2023 general elections approach, there are speculations that former vice president Atiku Abubakar may once again contest for the presidency.
His son, Adamu Atiku Abubakar, appeared to have kickstarted the speculations when he declared in June 2020 that Atiku would contest again.
While many may not know, Atiku’s aspiration to rule Nigeria started about 29 years ago!
So far, he has contested for Nigeria’s presidency five times and 2023 will be the sixth if he contests again.
1992/93: First presidential contest
Atiku’s presidential ambition started in 1992 during the botched Third Republic. He contested the presidential primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He, however, came third in the primary behind late Chief Moshood Abiola, the eventual winner of the annulled June 12 1993 presidential election.
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Note, however, that because Abiola had won by only about 400 votes, a run-off was scheduled but Atiku stepped down for him.
2006/07: Second presidential contest
In November 2006, Atiku announced again that he would run for president. He eventually emerged as the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress (AC).
He, however, lost the election, coming third behind the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umaru Yar’Adua, and All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who is now Nigeria’s president, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
2010/11: Third presidential contest
After the 2007 defeat on the AC’s platform, Atiku who had served as Nigeria’s vice president on the PDP’s platform (1999 to 2007) returned to the party.
In October 2010, he again announced his intention to contest for the presidency. He, however, lost the ticket to former President Goodluck Jonathan who went on to win the election.
2023: Former Nigerian governor declares presidential ambition, to pick APC N100m nomination form immediately
2014/2015: Fourth presidential contest
2018/2019: Fifth presidential contest
Having failed to achieve his aim in the APC, Atiku in November 2017 returned again to the PDP. Though he won the presidential primary, Atiku could not fulfil his ambition as he was again defeated by President Buhari.
Group claims Atiku is "most adequately prepared" to wrest power from APC
Meanwhile, a group under the aegis of Amalgamated Atiku Support Group has thrown its weight behind Atiku to succeed President Buhari in 2023.
The national coordinator of the group, Oladimeji Fabiyi, in a statement issued on Friday, September 3, said Atiku is the most adequately prepared and experienced politician to wrest power from the APC.
Fabiyi also condemned a recent statement credited to a group that suggested that the PDP should not field Atiku as a presidential candidate in the next general elections. He said the anonymous group has launched a sustained media campaign against Atiku but stressed that no group should have the right to tell the PDP who to present as its presidential candidate.