Eighteen days to the presidential election some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have put former Vice President Atiku Abubakar under intense pressure to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) and back the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Also, Atiku’s supporters, who feel shortchanged in APC are urging him to throw his weight behind the President, since he did not realise his ambition of being the standard bearer of the opposition party.
Daily Sun gathered that those making overtures to Atiku believe that having lost the APC ticket, owning to the support governors and National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu gave to General Muhammadu Buhari, the former vice president should be aggrieved.
Those working to get Atiku to support Jonathan believed that since he has not been participating actively in the campaigns of the APC, he may be nursing a grudge against leaders of the party and therefore, could accept to return to PDP. Details of the offer to the former vice president were not revealed, but sources say that it may not be far from the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP.
While Atiku is reportedly noncommittal yet to the overtures from the President’s camp, he is said not to have kicked against the planned defection of his supporters, who feel cheated in the APC.
Such supporters, especially in the South-West, who have indicated interest to join the PDP, it was gathered, are also mounting serious pressure on Atiku, saying they have no stake in the APC with the loss of the presidential ticket.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the APC leadership is worried about Atiku’s non-involvement in the campaign of Buhari. Daily Sun learnt that the South-West arm of the Atiku Campaign Organisation may, short of declaring support for Jonathan, come out in the next few days to condemn the treatment of their principal in the APC.
Sources revealed that the party recently sent the Director-General of Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Campaign Organisation and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, to seek a rapprochement.
At the meeting, it was gathered, the Atiku camp told Governor Amaechi that his failure to attend the rallies was because the former vice president is only notified of venues of the campaign, without getting him involved in the planning.
Also, the APC’s effort to get funding from the Atiku camp failed, as the party was told that the former vice president spent hugely on mobilisation and advertisement towards the party’s primary election, which he eventually lost.