Their Consensus, their choice
The self branded elders of the north have spoken by the choice of Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar as their consensus candidate for the presidential primary of the ruling PDP. The southern based press as usual, with their little knowledge of the political atmosphere in the geographical location called northern Nigeria are beginning to create the impression that the man ÔÇô Atiku Abubarkar is a political strategist with gifted political masterstrokes. This is ironic, to say the least, while not forgetting that this man(Atiku Abubakar) suffered a humiliating defeat some three years back in the hands of little known Umar Yar'adua. Confidently without sounding immodest, I am of the opinion that President Goodluck Jonathan can now go to sleep if Atiku is his archrival for the race for PDP presidential ticket.
The present politics of Nigeria is far more predictable than in the past; illogical conclusions like there could be last minutes surprises, been articulated by some public/political analysts beats ones imagination. How will the last minutes change of mind emerge? What would sway the decisive minds of the long suffering ÔÇśwould be' delegates of the PDP who can accurately tell falsehood from reality, at the last minute? Which persuasive tones or discordant messages would change the mindsets of a people in dire need of a fresh breathe? Little wonder Obasanjo could only laugh when asked to comment on Atiku's prospect in the primary election.
Highlighting ethnic or regional sentiments in politics, at a period our country is in dire need of pragmatic and progressive drive to greatness, is appalling. Anyone who align with this school of thought has no business in national leadership. It will be easy to predict the stance of such individual if given position of national importance; such position will obviously be abuse by that individual, just to please the region, on whose platform he got to power. This should not be allowed in this twenty first century Nigeria.
Out of the four so called northern candidates that agreed to subject themselves to the screening and selection of Ciroma's elders council, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar is the least qualified in term of intelligent quotient. While rendering my apology if I sounded disrespectful, I believe the truth should be told. Bukola Saraki is a trained Medical Doctor, Lt. Gen Aliyu Gusau (rtd) in spite of being a trained officer of Nigerian Army, also undertook various courses on military intelligence at home and abroad. Same with Babangida who was also an internationally exposed and well trained Infantry/Artillery officer. But in the case of Atiku Abubarkar, is an acknowledge fact that he only has a diploma in Law from Ahmadu Bello University, coupled with some in house trainings in the custom service. Today, happily in Custom and excise service, no one attain the position of deputy Controller General of custom, the position Atiku Abubarkar retired, without at least a first degree from a recognised university. This only give credence to the fact that Alhaji Atiku was ill-equipped educationally for the position at the time he held sway in custom service.
Giving Atiku Abubarkar, some air of invisibility in Nigeria political scene, is to show that one is a lazy political pundit. Take an unbiased trip across Nigeria, particularly around Ciroma's self defined north, and see the low rating of Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar among the populace. He is not even reckon with as a political force in Adamawa, his own state. He lost the state convincingly to the PDP in 2007; equally the governorship rerun in the state cleared any doubts of doubting Thomas about Atiku's diminished political status among his own people. Political heavy weights in Adamawa state like the Bamanga Tukurs, the Muritala Nyakos, the Zwinginas, the Buba Marwas, and Jubrin Aminus have shown in clear language that they are not predispose to an Atiku's presidency; I wonder where his votes will come from, during the PDP primary if he cannot guarantee those of Adamawa delegates.
There are questions begging for answers on Atiku's quest to rule Nigeria. What are Atiku's philosophy in politics? What are his practical solutions to the myriad of economic woes facing Nigeria and how much of Nigeria's problems is he aware of? How did he made his fortunes? What are his investments in Nigeria, since he acknowledge that he is wealthy? Is it true he has investments in Dubai and United state of America? What's new that he is bringing to government that he couldn't give when he was vice president for eight uninterrupted years?
The project called Nigeria is our collective responsibility; what should concern Nigerians should be how to get out of our present quagmire, by having leadership that is both responsive and responsible. We have been crawling in the last fifty years, we cannot afford another four years of purposeless leadership and movement; except we are prepare to go our separate ways.
Judging from media reports, Atiku's political gift to the Igbos is to have one of them as his running mate; with a promise of relinquishing power after four years. We must first understand that for any candidate seeking the presidency of Nigeria to claim he or she wants to rule for only a term, simply means such individual lacks any extensive and viable plans and solutions for the progressive development of Nigeria. It also points to the fact that such individual only wants to rule just for self aggrandisement and nothing more. Beside the Igbos are no longer interested in playing second fiddle to the likes of Atiku Abubarkar. Would it not be to Igbo eternal shame to have a university trained lawyer like Ken Nnamani or a Professor of Economics like Charles Soludo as Atiku's deputy, when the reverse should have been the case?
Maybe Saraki and Gusau have accepted their fates and have moved on; but would a IBB, who is seriously bent on ruling Nigeria again, knowing 2011 is his last chance, accept the humiliation of losing the ÔÇśnorthern consensus ticket' to Atiku, without unleashing any of his mischief? Only time will tell. If the recent remarks of Ibb's supporters are anything to go by, then Atiku is only counting on IBB's support at his own peril. With some degree of insight, I know IBB can never work for an Atiku Abubakar's presidency. Forget the folly, that in politics northerners are their brothers' keepers.
The trouble with Atiku Abubakar and his lieutenants in politics, is that they do not understand when the music has stopped. They still live under the paradigm that political power is their birthrights. Just like Ciroma's group have shown IBB the bitter reality, PDP delegates must collectively foreclose another Atiku's disaster in our nation's political sphere. God bless Nigeria.
By Olurotimi Adeola