Atiku Abubakar Nigerian ex-vice president rejoins opposition ahead of 2019 vote
Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, announced Sunday that he had rejoined the country’s main opposition party, the latest sign he aims to run for the presidency in 2019.
In a live video broadcast on his Facebook page, Abubakar said he was again joining the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) because the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed to deliver on its promises since coming to power in 2015.
“It is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down,” he said.
“Today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP.”
Abubakar, who served as deputy to president Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, has sought the country’s top job for three different parties in elections dating back to 1993.
“In the last two years almost three million Nigerians have lost their jobs,” he said in the Facebook video, a format he said he chose to show he would prioritise the young.
“We need a strong economy, it’s that we are lacking,” he added.
Nigeria, a former British colony and one of the world’s largest oil producers, is due to hold elections on February 16, 2019.
The country’s main political division is between its predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south.
Although Abubakar has not yet declared his candidacy, analysts expect he will challenge President Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency.
Buhari, 74, was elected on a promise to cut endemic corruption and regenerate the economy, but has spent much of the last year on medical leave in Britain for an undisclosed condition.
When Abubakar announced he was quitting the APC last month he described it as “a dying party”.
Only one PDP lawmaker — Peter Ayodele Fayose, governor of the southwestern state of Ekiti — has so far declared his intention to run.