By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Despite overt attempts by several stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to woo Atiku Abubakar back to the party, the former Vice-President may be restrained upon indications of increasing resistance to him in the top hierarchy of the party.
The most obvious block to him, Vanguard has learned, is the reported presidential intention of the outgoing chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, NCC, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Besides Makarfi, former Governor Sule Lamido is also said to be set to kick off his campaign for the ticket with the opening of his North-West Presidential Campaign Office in Kaduna later this month.
The opening of the Kaduna office is to be followed by the opening of Abuja office.
Sources disclosed that Lamido and Atiku met, penultimate weekend, where the issue of their separate presidential bids was believed to have been on the table.
The apparent determination of Lamido and Makarfi to bid for the PDP ticket, it was learned, may be putting Atiku on edge, given his apparent frustration with his current party, the APC.
The move, Vanguard learned, is believed to be making Atiku to think twice about returning to the PDP, which he, with 33 others, helped to plant the seed in 1998.
A number of close associates of the former vice-president, who moved over with him to the All Progressives Congress, APC, have commenced moves to return to the PDP to prepare for their principal’s return to the party.
Atiku had in that line been making moves to return to the PDP and had flayed the APC for failing to deliver on its promises to the electorate, prior to the 2015 presidential election.
Atiku, Vanguard learned, may have been concerned by the fact that Makarfi’s bid is being prompted by some incumbent and former governors in the party who are determined to hold their grip on the party through the national chairman who himself was governor of Kaduna State between 1999 and 2007.
Makarfi’s selling point is the liberal attitude he conveyed as a governor in promoting a culture of peace in the religious and ethnically tensed state, a factor that is said to be pushing his ambition to hitherto naysayers.
Makarfi had made a bid for the presidency in 2007 but the seeming inclination of President Olusegun Obasanjo towards Umaru Yar‘adua prompted him to drop out of the race and become a major canvasser for the Yar‘adua ticket.