As the presidential campaign threw into full gear, Atiku obliged and kept his end of the bargain against the wishes of many PDP top shots who were privy to the details of the gentlemanly agreement with the President. Other political associates close to Atiku were also uncomfortable with the arrangement and expressed misgivings.
But Atiku was steadfast, he ensured the failures of the Buhari administration were not made the talking points of the Atiku campaign. The focus was placed on Tinubu instead
Cabals around Buhari deceived Atiku, promised to deliver the presidency to him
Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, a former vice president of Nigeria under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] from 1999 to 2007 during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration recently lost his fifth attempt at becoming the President of Nigeria at the just concluded presidential elections of February 25, 2023. An election he lost to the All Progressive Progress [APC] candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu by a margin of nearly 2millions votes.
Though marred by irregularities and tagged the worst election ever conducted in Nigeria since its return to democracy twenty-four  years ago, intrigues leading to the election appears more intriguing and unsettling. This is as the cabal around President Muhammadu Buhari successfully convinced Buhari of the concept of an Atiku presidency rather than a Tinubu presidency. The cabal included – Maman Daura, Sani Zangon Daura, Yau Darazo and Boss Mustapha. Tinubu was not their candidate. They saw him as a threat.
Buhari was sold on the idea on supporting an Atiku presidency by the cabal and he agreed to take steps to achieve it.
According to one of the sources who spoke to 247ureports.com, several meetings were set up for Buhari to meet with Atiku. “He met Buhari four separate occasions to discuss the terms and conditions on how Atiku will be helped to become the next president… Buhari wanted assurances his legacies will be protected; his name and administration will be protected. That Atiku will not be critical towards the APC or the Buhari administration during the campaign and post campaign period…”
Atiku was enthused. He appreciated the cabal’s gesture. The news was exciting to him. Without hesitation, Atiku signed on to the concerns of the cabal and obliged to play by the laid down rule. He recalled that he had played one of the critical roles in the ousting of the then President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. He had provided the bulk of the financing for the presidential campaign of the then new formed APC. Atiku was a member of the APC and had aspired for the presidential ticket. He lost to Buhari.
President Buhari, the cabal and Atiku were in agreement. This agreement was reached shortly after the APC presidential primary held on June 8, 2022 where Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the presidential flagbearer with 1271 delegate votes against the closest runner up [Rotimi Amaechi] who scored 316 delegate votes. Tinubu was not President Buhari’s or the cabal’s choice.
As the presidential campaign threw into full gear, Atiku obliged and kept his end of the bargain against the wishes of many PDP top shots who were privy to the details of the gentlemanly agreement with the President. Other political associates close to Atiku were also uncomfortable with the arrangement and expressed misgivings. But Atiku was steadfast, he ensured the failures of the Buhari administration were not made the talking points of the Atiku campaign. The focus was placed on Tinubu instead.
Atiku was solid and beyond doubt that the agreement would deliver the presidency to him. “He had no doubt”. He had confidence in the assurance given to him. To the extent he threw caution to the wind, financially.
“He needed cash and he spent it without fear. He did not see the expenses as a risk. He sold his share in Apple Corporation, he sold some of his prime real estates in Nigeria and even borrowed money from a south east billionaire, Prince Arthur Eze to the tune of $30million”.
The financing of the PDP presidency campaign was provided by the Presidential candidate and the vice-presidential candidate who was alleged to have used the resources of the Delta State government for the campaign.
Against the political terrain roughened by the emergence of the five PDP Governors [G-5] who were anti-Atiku, and the well-financed APC Presidential campaign, Atiku significantly cranked up the campaign spending as November 2022 rolled around to further douse the impact on the campaign, particularly from the G-5 – comprising of the Governors of Enugu, Benue, Oyo, Abia and Rivers State.
While Atiku successfully fluidized the financing of the PDP presidential campaign, the campaigners had their demands. They wanted critical analysis of the Buhari administration and the perceived APC maladministration to be carried out ‘without mercy’ to highlight the corruption under the leadership of Buhari. But Atiku remained resolute, hinting that the “villa is with us”.
“Atiku should have used Buhari’s failures against APC and Tinubu. Bashing Buhari and constantly talking about his failures and that of APC was the way to go. I warned them and they refused. Atiku was played like a kid” said a one of the PDP leaders from the northwest geopolitical zone who added that Buhari had no intentions to support Tinubu. He saw Tinubu as corrupt and unfit for the office. But was pressured into supporting Tinubu through last minute manipulations. Buhari was said to be shocked when it was made known to him the nature of corruption his immediate family – wife and children – were involved in. The discovery, according to the source, led him to step down on his resistance to a Tinubu presidency. “When Buhari discovered the humongous corruption of his family, he decided to play ball”.
However, it did not come easy to get Buhari to turn away from Atiku.
It took a combination of the APC Governors, APC benefactors and Buhari’s immediate family who used blackmail and other forms of cohesion to tame Buhari’s disdain for Tinubu’s presidential ambition. Buhari’s children and wife had knowledge of the backdoor alliance and/or agreement with Atiku. Of which, they were not in support. Buhari’s immediate family supported Bola Tinubu. They had benefited financially from him over the years. According to our source, Aisha would leak to Bola Tinubu the outcomes of the meetings and plans of cabal to Tinubu.
So, as Atiku campaigned across the regions, assured of the pledge from the cabal and President Buhari, he was sure not to breach the agreement, publicly supporting the Naira policy even though it was unpopular, believing the policy was designed to favor him over Tinubu. To the extent, when Tinubu and other APC leaders complained, he called for calm instead.
Unbeknownst to him, the agreement had been undermined by ‘superior’ forces around Buhari. The rest was history.
The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] under the control of Prof Yakubu Mahmood conducted the presidential election of February 25, 2023 to suit the Tinubu campaign.
The outcome pained Atiku. According to political associates of Atiku, Atiku was misled, tricked and letdown. “Waziri is pained”.