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Nigerian ex-VP Atiku says 'power-drunk' Buhari wants to cling on to power

Nigerian ex-VP Atiku says 'power-drunk' Buhari wants to cling on to power


Nigeria’s former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, has described president Muhammadu Buhari as ‘power-drunk’, saying he fears for the country’s election next year.

Atiku announced his presidential bid in July, is canvassing support to be nominated as the presidential flag-bearer for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he rejoined earlier this year.

“We are dealing now with a retired general (Buhari), very uncompromising, also power-drunk who will not be ready to leave power without a fight, or at least those are some of my fears for the current elections,” he said Monday evening.

Abubakar, 71, was vice-president under president Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999, when civilian rule was restored in Nigeria, and 2007.

A second term for Buhari?

Buhari, who has also declared his intentions to seek a second term, has repeatedly vowed that he will organise free and fair elections.

The 75-year old former army general who headed a military government in the 1980s, ran a campaign four years ago calling himself a “converted democrat”.

Buhari has been accused of ignoring the rule of law and using security services to silence perceived political opponents, as well as targeting opposition figures as part of his high-profile anti-corruption drive.

Questions have also been raised about whether he is well enough to run for a second term at the February election, after he spent months undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness in London last year.

Election issues

Security will be a major issue, with Boko Haram Islamists still not defeated in the remote northeast, despite Buhari’s promises to end the nine-year insurgency that has killed at least 20,000 and displaced more than two million.

More than 1,500 people have also been killed since September last year in renewed clashes between farmers and herders in central states.

Atiku did not disclose how he would tackle Boko Haram, but his home state of Adamawa has been among the three most-affected by the violence and the humanitarian aftermath.

But he declared that “there must be something wrong somewhere” and vowed to investigate further.

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