It is no more news that Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari will be the two front-running gladiators for the soul of Nigeria in next February’s presidential elections.

This past weekend, Atiku clinched the People’s Democratic Party ticket at their convention in Port Harcourt while Buhari as the sole runner, was confirmed by the All Progressives Congress in Abuja.

So, the stage is set for a battle royale with huge expectations, not just by the two parties but from the more than 180 million Nigerians in the East, North, South and West of the country, as well as Nigerians in diaspora and the international community.

Of course there are presidential candidates reprenting other parties like Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party, Kingsley Moghalu of the Young People’s Party, Chris Okorie who’s the permanent candidate of Fresh Party from election to election and other names like Fela Durotoye of Alliance for a New Nigeria. Oby Ezekwesili’s name has also been touted and be sure that groups like Labour Party, KOWA, PRO and others will field candidates.

However, what is sure is that the main bout is between the PDP and APC candidates who are not new to each other and both have seen the top floor of Nigeria’s political landscape. Buhari has been military Head of State and elected President at different times while Atiku has been a two-term Vice-President to Olusegun Obasanjo.

The two gladiators were aspirants to the APC presidential candidacy during the party’s primary of 10th December 2014. Buhari won that presidential primary election of the APC by polling 3,430 votes to get the ticket, beating then Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwanso and Atiku who got 974 and 954 votes respectively.

Buhari got more party votes than Atiku in 2014. Does that put him ahead? Our friends in the beer parlours and barber shops on Sunday admit that that was then; this is now. They are now both on a level ground to slug it out.

When you point out the incumbency factor as a Buhari advantage, they will point to Goodluck Jonathan and 2015.

When you tell them that Atiku must also be considered strong having taken the scalp of some tough cookies like Bukola Saraki, Tambuwal, David Mark and Maikarfi in the PDP primaries, they tell you there were also top APC names who couldn’t even contest with Buhari and threw in the towel before the fight started.

What of campaign funding? Our analysts believe both men will be equally matched, and that in spite of the government machinery at the disposal of Buhari, Atiku seems to have a war chest that can match dollar to dollar.

How about free and fair election since INEC is a baby of the current government? They will quickly chip in that Jonathan also appointed Prof. Jega as INEC chairman and he couldn’t win.

What next? Rigging? Well, if one side can rig, so can the other. So the best thing, they say, is to let PVC do the talking.

Police and military might of the executive nko? Another GEJ reference again!

You just can’t beat these beer parlour and barber shop analysts.



  1. We are still in the doldrums if these two are the best we can present for elections. Just like a nation of more than 150 million cannot build a world class football team, is it any surprise when the same nation cannot present a veritable, knowledgeable and dynamic candidate for elections?

  2. Very interesting Buhari 75 & Atiku 73 are from North let se their political power.Atiku have nothing good for this country as I am consigned.

  3. Given the present situation in Nigeria anyone other than Buhari is good for the job
    Saraki would have done a better job but lacks the northern advantage and may not be supported by core north faithfuls
    Another advantage Atiku may have over saraki in the north is his position as a patron in the maiyeti Allah
    In the East surely an average Igbo will prefer Atiku to Buhari judging from the fact that Atiku is married to an Igbo lady. Atiku is a true nationalist and never a religious bigot like Buhari. I first met Atiku in my village back in days when he had a good romance with one of our big aunties who’s late now.
    Atiku has a record of impressive philanthropy and well educated to represent Nigeria in the international community compared to Buhari.

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