Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Lagos — Former Nigerian vice-president Atiku Abubakar, a potential contender for 2019 presidential elections, quit the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, saying it lacked internal democracy.

The party has put in place "a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced," Abubakar said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. He didn’t say whether he’d join another party or start one of his own, adding that he will take time "to ponder" his future.

"He is prepared" to run in 2019 but hasn’t made his final decision, Abubakar’s spokesperson Paul Ibe said by phone from Yola, in the north-east. "He has the skills, composure and exposure to run."

President Muhammadu Buhari won the presidency of Africa’s biggest oil producer two years ago by building a coalition that included disaffected members of the former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and three other opposition groups. Abubakar was a founding member of the PDP before defecting to the APC in 2014.

"This is a preparatory move to running for president," Olusegun Sotola, senior researcher at Lagos-based Initiative of Public Policy, said by phone. Abubakar is likely to return to the PDP, where structures already exist to effectively challenge the ruling party, he said.

A plunge in revenue caused by lower output and prices for oil, the country’s main export, has seen the economy suffer its worst slump in 25 years and has undermined Buhari’s ability to meet his campaign promises, such as rebuilding infrastructure, revitalising the power industry and creating jobs.

"The party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people," Abubakar said in the statement.

Bloomberg

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