It was a dream that began in February 1993 when the 46-year-old Atiku, a retired customs officer and protégé of the influential ex-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, contested in the presidential primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as one of the youngest aspirants in the country.
Today, however, at 75, he will be contesting as the oldest aspirant in his party after five unsuccessful presidential campaigns spanning almost 30 years. For Nigerian youths – who constitute the largest voting demographic – it seems as if Atiku has been contesting the presidency all their lives.
Despite this, Atiku, who holds the record as the longest unsuccessful perennial presidential aspirant in West Africa, is hoping to turn this failure into a success story similar to that of Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, who lost in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016, before eventually winning the 2021 presidential election at the age of 59.
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