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NEWS REVIEW: Atiku’s shift on zoning: A calculated move or genuine party loyalty?



In a recent interview with the BBC Hausa Service, former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, made a surprising declaration.

He stated that if the PDP decides to zone the presidential ticket to the South-East and chooses Peter Obi, he would wholeheartedly support him.

“I have said repeatedly and I even said it before the 2023 general elections that if the PDP decides to zone the presidential ticket to the South or South-East specifically, I won’t contest it. As long as it’s the decision of the party, I will abide by it. But I contested the 2023 presidential ticket because it was thrown open to all members of the party.

“If the party decides that it’s the turn of the South-East and Peter Obi is chosen, I won’t hesitate to support him,” Atiku declared.

This statement marks a significant departure from his previous stance on zoning.

Before the 2023 general elections, Atiku had repeatedly emphasized that he would respect the party’s decision if it chose to zone the presidential ticket to the South or South-East. However, when the party threw the ticket open to all members, he contested and eventually emerged as the PDP’s presidential candidate.

READ ALSO:Omokri analyses why Obi can’t be Nigeria’s president

Atiku’s new position raises questions about his motivations. Is this a genuine demonstration of party loyalty and willingness to put the PDP’s interests above personal ambition? Or is it a calculated move to appease the South-Eastern bloc and maintain his political relevance within the party?

Some political analysts argue that Atiku’s shift on zoning may be a strategic attempt to repair his image in the South-East, where he faced criticism for his decision to contest the presidential ticket despite the region’s claims to the position. By expressing support for Peter Obi, a prominent figure from the South-East, Atiku may be seeking to rebuild bridges and maintain his influence within the PDP.

Others believe that Atiku’s statement reflects a genuine commitment to party unity and the democratic process. By putting the party’s interests above his personal ambitions, he demonstrates a willingness to prioritize the PDP’s success over his own political aspirations.

Hos claim to support Peter Obi, a chieftain of the opposition Labour Party also throws up posers at to whether there are plans to co-opt Obi into the PDP ahead of the 2027 general elections. This is also in light of the recent visit of the LP chieftain to Atiku and some other leaders in the north, most of whom are PDP members.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, Atiku’s declaration will likely have significant implications for the PDP and the 2027 presidential elections. Will his support for Peter Obi translate into tangible political gains for the South-East, or is this merely a tactical move to maintain his position within the party? Only time will tell.

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