Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has finally addressed the issue of his presidential ambition since his resignation from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He former vice president left the APC and although he has not formally announced the party he will go to, there is high speculation that he will return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In an interview with veteran journalist, Dele Momodu, Atiku said he decided not to wait and participate in the APC primary election because the party had become a one-man business.
He said since President Muhammadu Buhari came into power, he failed to take charge of the growth of the party.
The former vice president expressed optimism of defeating President Buhari in 2019 saying he has lost a lot of goodwill.
He said: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision.
“I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution.
“The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”
Asked if he was guaranteed of the presidential ticket of the PDP, Atiku said: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President.
“If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”
On his perception of the 2019 elections, Atiku expressed optimism that he would defeat the sitting president.
He said: “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”
Asked if he wasn’t afraid of Buhari, Atiku said: “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.”
According to the group, President Buhari is yet to fully fulfil his electoral promises.