In Friday’s announcement of his withdrawal from the APC, Atiku Abubakar said he was still pondering his next political move. But if he ends up returning to the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party as he is widely expected to do, it will be the third time that Mr. Abubakar will be returning to the party after defecting to other parties.
He was a founding member of the PDP in 1998.
Mr. Abubakar was elected governor of his home state, Adamawa, in 1999 on the PDP ticket.
Before he could be sworn in as governor, he was picked as running mate by Olusegun Obasanjo who secured the PDP presidential ticket. The ticket proceeded to win the presidency, with Mr. Abubakar becoming Vice President from May 29, 1999 and for a second term in 2003.
Before the end of their second term, however, Mr. Abubakar left the PDP for the first time in 2006 and joined Action Congress, AC, after years of internal battle with Mr. Obasanjo.
The influence of Mr. Atiku in the PDP was systematically eroded through fresh membership registration that saw most of his supporters pushed out of the party, all in a bid by Mr. Obasanjo to ensure that he was not nominated as his successor.
Mr. Abubakar thus defected to pick the AC ticket to run for president in the 2007 election.
He was in AC from 2006 to 2009. Following disagreements with one of the leaders of the AC and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, the former vice president dumped the AC and returned to the PDP in 2009.
Mr. Abubakar ran for the PDP presidential ticket in the 2011 election and lost to incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
Following the success of the PDP in 2011 and the appointment of Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman of the PDP, the party was engulfed in a serious crisis.
Mr. Abubakar alongside seven governors eventually staged a walk out of a PDP national convention in August 2013, accusing the leadership of the party and then President Jonathan of impunity.
They eventually formed the ‘new PDP.’
After efforts to reconcile with the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP failed and their push to stop Mr. Jonathan from running for election also failed, Mr. Abubakar and five of the governors and others announced in November 2013 defected to the APC.
Mr. Abubakar and a former Kano State governor who was also in the ‘new PDP’, Rabiu Kwankwaso, ran for APC presidential ticket and lost to Muhammadu Buhari who eventually won the 2015 election.
Mr. Abubakar remained in the APC but has been consistently absent in many of the party’s activities at the national level.
The former vice president had complained that Mr. Buhari and the party had been side-lining him.
Mr. Abubakar eventually defected from the APC on Thursday, November 24. Reports suggest that he has done so because he has received commitment of the PDP to give him its platform to again run for president in 2019.
The former vice president has, however, not formally declared for the PDP, nor has he declared he would run for the 2019 presidency although he is expected to do both.
Whether he will remain in PDP or his new party for long remains to be seen, given that he had announced on September 2014 that “As for me, as far as I am concerned, APC is my last bus stop.”
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