By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-Ahead of the 2019 Presidential election, a former Minister and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the leadership, members and supporters of the party to look in the direction of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in its search for a credible candidate to fly the flag of the party.
The ex-Minister who does not want his name in print because of his relationship with other Presidential aspirants on the party’s platform also challenged the PDP to take into consideration, the profiles of all contenders for the sole Presidential ticket, stating that while governing a state provides a good experience for a shot at the highest office, international exposure and knowledge of the workings of the economy should not be overlooked.
According to him, the party must not permit the emergence of a flag bearer who lacks the clout to command the respect of world leaders, especially as it relates to getting international support for government’s policies and programmes.
“There is no doubt that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has failed both domestically and internationally. I think part of the problem this government is facing is the obvious lack of knowledge of the economy by the President and this is giving all of us a cause for concern.
“Today, we have tested leaders who have indicated interest in the job (Presidency) but we must carefully identify who amongst them, fits the kind of President we are looking out for. Atiku to me is the man and if you ask me why, I will tell you more,” he told Vanguard exclusively.
Pressed to reveal reasons for his position, the ex-minister who served in the cabinet of Nigeria’s immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan, had this to say: “I have heard a lot of arguments on how we can defeat the APC in the next election. Regardless of what anybody may say, I believe one of the things that facilitated the victory of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as President in 1999 was his friendship and exposure to the international community. Atiku is unarguably the man with that kind of reach today from the pack of those eyeing the job.
“Let me use this opportunity to correct an impression that Buhari will sweep the polls if he is fielded against Atiku. This is a figment of imagination because if you talk about touching the lives of people, the former Vice Presidents have certainly done more for Nigerians than Buhari. Atiku has in his employ many Nigerians, cutting across south and north of the Nigerian divide. Buhari can only beat Atiku if Nigerians allow the polls to be rigged. So, what are they talking about? Aren’t you aware that even though he is a private person today, he holds court regularly with representatives of advanced nations of the world regularly?” he asked.
The PDP chieftain was apparently referring to the meeting earlier in the week of the Wazirin Adamawa with Bernhard Schlagheck, the German Ambassador to Nigeria who paid him (Atiku) a courtesy visit at his private residence.
Although details of the visit were kept away from the media, the two in the words of the ex-Vice President discussed “A broad range of issues including Nigeria-German relations, democracy and how the Nigerian economy can benefit from German investors.”