Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to apologise and beg former President Olusegun Obasanjo to secure the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 election.
Sources in PDP told The Nation newspaper that Jonathan said Atiku must beg or apologize to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to get the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP on a platter of gold.
Although Obasanjo has quit partisan politics, Jonathan was of the opinion that “he is still a strong factor in shaping the future of the nation in 2019 because he is a force among the revered kingmakers.”
Jonathan had in early November told the publisher of Ovation magazine in an interview that “If Atiku gets our party ticket, he would compete well. But he would have to reach out to our boss, Baba OBJ, the boss of all bosses. We’ve all learnt at different times that you ignore OBJ at your peril. OBJ has the magic wand. He is respected at home and abroad.”
It was however unclear if Atiku has either accepted the condition or opted to go it alone in seeking the presidential mandate of the PDP.
But some presidential aspirants in PDP were said not to be ready to step down for Atiku, whom Jonathan is working to the answer for.
The aspirants said they prefer to slug it out with Atiku during the presidential primaries.
The affected aspirants are ex-Governor Sule Lamido, ex-Minister Ibrahim Shekarau, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and a former governor (now a Senator), who is expected to defect from APC to PDP.
The fate of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi on the party’s 2019 ticket was hanging in the balance as at press time.
Following lobbying by Jonathan, some founding fathers of PDP (including a few retired military officers), have been part of the latest course in PDP.
Investigation revealed that most governors of the PDP were said to have bought into the Atiku project in deference to Jonathan.
A top source, who was privy to the deal, said: “The unfolding script on Atiku’s return to PDP has the blessing of some founding fathers of PDP who are out to salvage the party. A major component is a likely waiver for the ex-VP to contest the party’s presidential primaries.
“So far, Atiku is complying with the secret accord for his return to PDP. A formal declaration in Yola is being expected either on Wednesday or December 6 as indicated in a tentative timetable.
“But in one of the negotiation shuttles with Atiku, ex-President Jonathan added a caveat that the former Vice President can comfortably secure PDP ticket and win the 2019 poll if he begs ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We were all shocked by this condition because Obasanjo is no longer in partisan politics. But Jonathan said Obasanjo is an institution whose action or inaction could make or mar the electoral fortunes of Atiku.
“The former President also believes that Obasanjo may persuade any of the presidential aspirants to withdraw for Atiku after weighing all the indices. He said if Obasanjo could reconcile with him, he can also forgive Atiku.
“As a matter of fact, Jonathan cited cases of chairmanship aspirants in PDP travelling to Abeokuta to seek his blessing.
“We are expecting Atiku to comply with this proviso because we want to begin the media war (based on facts and figures) in earnest.
“Jonathan’s position on Obasanjo has been endorsed by some founding fathers of PDP, especially the military class which contrived the existence of the party.”
Meanwhile, there were indications yesterday that some presidential aspirants in the PDP may not step down for Atiku.
These include Lamido, Shekarau, Dankwambo and a former governor (now a Senator), who is expected to defect from APC to PDP.