Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has declared his intention to run for president in 2023 on the platform of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, describing his decision as historic and expressing hopes that Nigerians will play a crucial role in making it a reality.
Mr Abubakar has opened an event at the International Conference Centre in Abuja as part of activities marking his declaration. The race will be the fifth time Mr Abukakar will seek to be Nigeria’s president.
He was a major party flagbearer in two of the previous five attempts, including in 2019 when he mounted an ardent challenge to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. He started running in 1992 under the Social Democratic Party and has sought office in every presidential election since 2007.
Mr Abubakar said he would be running this time on a message to foster economic prosperity and unity across Nigeria, a nation of several ethnic and religious groups whose enduring bulwarks were repeatedly shattered by Mr Buhari over the past seven years. He’s also counting on his name recognition and unavailability of an incumbent on the two major parties this time around.
Mr Abubakar will be countered for the main opposition’s ticket by other candidates like Aminu Tambuwal, Dele Momodu, Bukola Saraki, Anyim Pius Anyim, amongst other declared and yet-to-declare contenders.
Political analysts expect Mr Abubakar’s record as a unifying but perceptibly corrupt politician to, in perhaps equal measure, dog his latest attempt ahead of the party’s primaries and general elections should he get the ticket once again.
His corruption case in the United States has prevented him from being able to enter there all but one time since 2007, which came in 2019 when he received a costly reprieve to visit Washington D.C. ahead of that year’s presidential election.