Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said he has not made up his mind to run for presidency in 2019.
Atiku told the Voice of America (Hausa), when he featured on a magazine programme , that Nigerians will know when he eventually takes the bold move.
“For now I have not made up my mind. When I decide, I will let the world know.”
To National Coordinator of The Atiku Rennaisance, Azibola Omekwe, the former VP’s statement is capable of demoralising his supporters, some of whom have already commenced groundwork for his 2019 bid.
Omekwe said Atiku’s 2019 ambition has gained considerable momentum in recent weeks, a ‘moving train’ that would be difficult to reverse.
“Just recently, some people came out to say they will sue the former vice-president if he fails to join the race. That’s how serious some of his supporters have now taken his ambition.”
But, Atiku’s spokesperson, Mazi Paul Ibe is singing a different tune.
Ibe urged Atiku’s supporters to continue with mobilisation on his principal’s behalf. He was emphatic that Atiku will throw his hat in the ring, when the time comes.
Ibe also urged Atiku’s supporters not to be discourage or demoralised by his comments.
“He spoke in the context of his ongoing consultations, but, he’ll eventually make up his mind to run. Those who have started politicking on his behalf should continue.”
Omekwe, a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, acknowledged that the final decision on Atiku’s political choice in 2019 would be the former vice-president’s to make.
“But I’m sure he will ultimately decide to run because he’s the best option to beat President Buhari. We expect him to do this within the first quarter of 2018,” he said.
The last one month saw Atiku resign from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under which he served for eight years as vice president, between 1999 and 2007.
After using his resignation letter to convey his misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku, in an interview thereafter accused the president of incompetence.
He also accused Buhari of stoking ethnic and tribal divisions in the country, saying he will handily ‘defeat’ the president in 2019.
Buhari has not openly exchanged words with Mr. Abubakar, but the Presidency warned the former vice president to stop disparaging the president.
The reprimand followed allegations that Buhari was banned from travelling to the United States of America for 15 years, as a consequence of his religious views.
Atiku used the purported ban to ward off allegations that he is wanted in the US for fraud.
He disclosed that he had applied for a US visa but was denied on administrative grounds.
He, however, failed to present evidence of his claim that Buhari was also banned from the US despite being challenged by the State House to do so.
Ibe reiterated that Atiku will continue to spar with the Buhari administration; ahead of his formal announcement.
“What has been happening in recent weeks is sparring. We expect this to continue, but, it’s not the same as a formal declaration of a presidential run.”