Atiku appoints ex-Aviation Minister, Borishade, campaign director

Mr. Atiku flanked by Mr. Borishade(right) at a recent event attended by chairman, Delta State APC, John Erue (left)

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has named a former Education and Aviation Minister, Babalola Borishade, the campaign director for his 2015 presidential bid.

In a statement Friday, Mr. Abubakar confirmed PREMIUM TIMES’ earlier report that the former vice president will on September 24 formally declare his intention to contest the 2015 presidential poll on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

“This is not about me, it is about our young people. It is about Nigerians. It is their future, not the past. It is about reforming government, securing the people and reconciling the nation,” Mr. Abubakar was quoted by his media office as saying.

The presidential election holds February 14.

Mr. Abubakar is reputed as having one of Nigeria’s most extensive political structures, stretching across the country. He served as vice president between 1999 and 2007 in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

This is the fourth time the former vice president has shown interest in Nigeria’s highest office having first bid for the presidential ticket of the defunct Social Democratic Party [SDP] ahead of the annulled 1993 presidential election. The late multimillionaire businessman and politician, Moshood Abiola, won that primary and eventually the presidential election.

In 2007, Mr. Abubakar was the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress, AC, but lost to the late president, Umaru Yar’Adua, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In 2011, Atiku contested the PDP presidential primaries, but was beaten by the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan. He had returned to the PDP in 2009 and was granted waiver to run for the position.

Mr. Abubakar’s office said the 2015 campaign will be anchored by Mr. Borishade, a professor and longstanding ally of the former vice president whose tenure as aviation minister in the Obasanjo administration turned out one of Nigeria’s most controversial ever.

The Ekiti State-born former minister belonged to the political camp of Shehu Yar’adua, the late brother of former President Yar’adua.

With Mr. Atiku also a key member, Mr. Yar’adua’s political alliance grew into the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, which would later become the forerunner of the ruling People Democratic Party, PDP.

Mr. Borishade was first appointed education minister by Mr. Obasanjo, and was later redeployed to aviation ministry.

Nigeria witnessed multiple air accidents between 2005 and 2006 under Mr. Borishade’s tenure. The minister was replaced with Femi Fani-Kayode, a former presidential aide.

Mr. Borishade’s subsequent nomination as a minister was rejected by the Senate.

Mr. Atiku’s office described  the former “a well-known political strategist who worked for the victory of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and thereafter, late Chief M. K. O. Abiola on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP”.
“Borisade also worked as the strategist for President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003 elections, both of which were won resoundingly,” a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Mr. Atiku’s media adviser, said Friday.

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