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Atiku hints on Obi’s planned return to PDP, Labour Party merger

Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has hinted on Peter Obi’s planned return to the party.

Obi, who was Atiku’s running mate in 2019, had decamped to the Labour Party ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

The former Anambra State governor finished third behind Atiku in the February 23 presidential election, which was won by Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Atiku blamed Obi’s departure from the PDP for his loss to Tinubu.

Similarly, analysts argued that Atiku’s 6,984,520 votes combined with Obi’s 6,101,533 votes could have secured a win against Tinubu, who received 8,794,726 votes.

The duo recently met in Abuja sparking rumors of a possible merger.

But responding to questions on their meeting on Friday, Atiku declared that if the PDP decides that it is the South-East’s turn and selects Obi as its candidate, he will readily offer his support.

“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,” Atiku said.

“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 told the BBC Hausa.

He added that a merger between the PDP and Labour Party is possible.

Atiku added that members of the party would decide his fate in the 2027 general elections.

The former vice president mentioned that his recent meeting with Obi might indicate a possible alliance leading up to the 2027 general elections.

Responding to questions about the meeting with Obi, Atiku said, “It’s just a normal friendly meeting that we often have, particularly among us in the opposition parties. Such meetings are healthy for Nigeria’s democracy and in the country’s interest.”

On whether this will bring about a merger, he said, “Yes, it’s very much possible. We can merge to achieve a common goal. So, it’s possible, and nothing can stop it if we wish to achieve that.”

The former Vice President, who denied that the choice of presidential candidate might frustrate the merger discussion, said, “That’s not true. That challenge will not arise. I can tell you that the choice of who will fly the flag of the party won’t be an issue.”

On why he’s still in active politics, Atiku said, “Yes, we can’t keep quiet and watch things go wrong. People are suffering and we are committed to making Nigeria a better place.

“It means you are not tired of politics of Nigeria? Not at all. I am still in active politics in Nigeria, at least, as long as God permits.

“My age doesn’t stop the young ones from testing their fate. Everybody, irrespective of age, is allowed to aspire to be anybody in the society, politically or otherwise.”

Regarding his 2027 Presidential ambition, the former Vice President said “That would depend on the decision of my party. I can’t make any categorical statement on that. It’s the duty of the party to decide on the way to go in the next election.

“Until that time comes. Let’s just wait and see how it will turn out.

“It must not be interpreted like that. I must not be eyeing elections to have meetings with political friends and associates. Currently, we are practising democracy in this country which we fought for with our blood.”

The article was originally published on Politics Nigeria.

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