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Former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar Wants to Run Again for President


Former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar says he will run again for president, especially in 2011. Abubakar, who served as vice president under Olusegun Obasanjo, left the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and became the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC) during the 2007 election.

After losing to current President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Atiku along with former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari sued in the Nigerian High Court citing election fraud. Now, Abubakar, who celebrates his 62nd birthday Tuesday, told VOA he is being urged by friends and supporters to return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

"It is quite correct because they wanted to know my intention and future, and I told the country," he said.

Abubakar was not clear whether he would be running on the ticket of the ruling PDP or the Action Congress party. He said it would depend on the political situation in the country.

"We are expecting, you know, fundamental political reforms to come out. So that would depend on the unfolding political scenario," Abubakar said.

He said his decision to run for president again was made out his patriotic desire and by urging from his supporters.

Atiku Abubakar would not say whether he would challenge current President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua for the PDP leadership.

"Nigeria is supposed to be a democratic country, and I think there is no question of limiting choices for Nigerians," Abubakar said.

He said he is waiting for the ruling of the Nigerian Supreme Court on his challenge to the results of the 2007 election. But Abubakar confirmed he has been asked to withdraw his petition.

"A number of friends and associates within the PDP and some other leaders. But as I said, we have gone beyond that now," he said.

Abubakar said he has always been in support of efforts to re-write Nigeria's constitution, including the latest effort.

"I have been on board with constitutional review because the constitution is a dynamic document, and the country is also dynamic. So I believe there areas that we need to look at the constitution, like the independence of the election commission, we also need to strengthen institutions that will support democracy," he said.

Commenting on this past weekend's attempted coup d'etat against Guinea Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira, Abubakar said he has always been against coup d'etats in Africa.

"Certainly I've never supported coups. I think we have gone beyond the era of military interventions. I think we should try as much as possible so that we can put the issue of military intervention behind us," Atiku Abubakar said.


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