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Presidential Contenders Who May Succeed Buhari (7): Abubakar Malami (SAN)

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In politics, actions speak louder than words. While Nigeria’s current Attorney-General and Minister of Justice might not be making clear comments anywhere about harbouring the ambition to become a candidate during the next presidential elections, various actions and movements around him and his office point towards a man focused on relocating to Aso rock in 2023.

Some analysts and observers have noticed this. A few have been bold enough to outline in clear steps that Malami is emerging as a master strategist poised to bulldoze his way to the presidency.

His long drown battle with former EFCC Chairman, Chief Ibrahim Magu; the unearthing of Tinubu’s forgotten case with Code of Conduct Bureau; and the battle to brand Atiku as a Cameroonian by Malami’s office, are key pointers analysts present as the tip of the iceberg behind the attorney-general’s massive plan to swoop on the presidential ticket.

It is gathered that if there are two individuals that can stand against Malami’s advancement politically, they are Tinubu and Atiku. Malami would thus make every effort to use his influence to neutralise their relevance.

Read Also: Presidential Contenders Who May Succeed Buhari: Yahaya Bello (Part 5)

There are indications that he is also making strong attempts to change the permutations in the All Progressives Congress or even look for another party as cover to pursue his ambition as a last option.

Initially, Malami’s focus was the governorship ticket of Kebbi state. Lately, he is reported to have massively upgraded to a presidential campaign because he feels he is too big to contest for governor.

Recently, Olusegun Bamgbose, National Coordinator, Concerned Advocates for Good Governance, CAGG, has claimed that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is plotting to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023.

Malami, according to Bamgbose, has taken over the leadership of the cabal in Aso Rock and just like Abba Kyari, he is also eyeing the Presidential Villa.

To achieve this, Bamgbose, a senior lawyer and a 2023 presidential hopeful as well, claims that Malami, is leaving no stone unturned and has made the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu his first target, with Atiku coming second.

In Bamgbose’s words; “the cabals will want to ensure that power will be retained by the North come 2023. Malami as a lawyer by profession is leaving no stones unturned to actualize his Presidential ambition. Tinubu is his first target.

“The game is really becoming interesting. Tinubu is equally calculating to beat down Malami. This might not be an easy task anyway for the two of them”.

Bangbose revealed that Malami is an adherent of the philosophy of Machiavelli that says: “if an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

He is said to be making efforts to sufficiently injure political rivals using the EFCC in such a way that the victim will be too weak to fight back. The coast will now be clear for him ( Malami) to cruise to victory seamlessly.

A political analyst, Dr. Tola Agunbiade opines that “Malami will eventually fall victim of his political traps. It would be very difficult for a Northerner to convince Nigerians and succeed Buhari. No matter his schemes, Malami cannot succeed because the reality of the geopolitical configuration of the country will checkmate him.”

Born on 17 April 1967 in Birnin Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi State, Northern Nigeria, Abubakar Malami’s early formal education began at Nassarawa Primary School, Birnin Kebbi before he completed his secondary school education at College of Arts and Arabic Studies.

In 1991, he graduated from Usmanu Danfodiyo University where he studied Law and was called to the bar in 1992. He is an alumnus of the University of Maiduguri where he obtained his master’s degree in Public Administration in 1994.

After graduating, he became a legal practitioner, serving in various capacities, including being a counsel and magistrate in Kebbi State, Nigeria.

Early in his political career, Malami was the National Legal Adviser of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change. He was actively involved in the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013 as the resource person to the Manifesto Drafting Sub-Committee of Inter Joint Party Merger Committees between the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

In 2014, Abubakar contested for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress in Kebbi State but lost the primaries to Atiku Bugudu. On 11 November 2015, Abubakar was appointed as Minister for Justice and Attorney-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria thus making him the youngest minister in Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.

He was re-appointed as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation by President Muhammadu Buhari on 21 August 2019.

Read Also: Presidential Contenders Who May Succeed Buhari: Atiku Abubakar (Part 6)

It is the view of many observers that when Abba Kyari died, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, took over as the head of a reconfigured Aso Rock cabal. Although pundits believe he is as determined as Kyari who had planned to ruthlessly stop Tinubu’s presidential ambition as well as that of Atiku Abubakar and others, he isn’t nearly as cold-bloodedly shrewd as Kyari.

Besides, Malami has no control over APC’s fissiparous factions. Although he controls the dominant faction of the party, he is challenged by the Fayemi/el-Rufai faction and Tinubu’s faction.

However, can Malami succeed in scheming his way to the presidency? It will depend on a lot of things. He must outsmart Tinubu, Atiku, and others. He must equally convince Nigerians why another Northerner should continue in power after Buhari. But one thing is certain: the race for the presidency will be long-drawn and rugged, where the winner will need to fire from all cylinders without taking casualties.

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