danger zone

Nigeria 2023: Northern hopes rise as Atiku’s ex-campaign manager emerges PDP chair

By Akin Irede

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Posted on October 18, 2021 11:49

Former Vice-President and People’s Democratic Party candidate in upcoming presidential election Atiku Abubakar attends the party’s emergency meeting in Abuja
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar attends the PDP’s emergency meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The decision of Nigeria’s main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to keep its presidential ticket open means former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and other northern presidential hopefuls can emerge as the party’s candidate next year. But will southern elements allow this to happen?

Iyorchia Ayu, a former Senate President, was nominated last week as the consensus candidate of the North as Chairman of the PDP. Ayu is expected to be affirmed at the PDP’s national convention at the end of the month, a mere formality.

Although he has stayed away from the public for some time, the incoming PDP chairman is not new to Nigerian politics.

  • He served as Senate President between 1992 and 1993 during the short-lived Third Republic.
  • When General Sani Abacha seized power in November 1993, Ayu was made minister of education.
  • After Nigeria’s return to democratic rule, Ayu served as minister of internal affairs under President Olusegun Obasanjo and later became the minister of environment before he was removed by Obasanjo in 2005.

Relationship with Atiku

One permanent feature in Ayu’s political career is former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Their relationship has spanned at least

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