Ms Loretta Onochie, presidential assistant on new media, missed it so much when she insinuated that the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a few days back, was an indication of President Buhari’s free and smooth ride back to Aso Rock, is an hasty reach of vain assumption. President Buhari must address the 4 lives lost in Akwa Ibom State during the APC governorship primary in the State, as the first nationwide elections his administration is conducting at the party level.
Never had people died during political party elections in the past: absolutely zero record – President Buhari is missing it. If people die during political party primary elections, what would be the death toll during a general election? The APC guidelines said the governorship nominations MUST be by “direct primary” but it was not so. More than 58% of members of the party were excluded in Dr Nsima Ekere’s skewed candidacy. Is the APC a Party of fraudsters?
This is an advice to all who desire to see to the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari – that the easiest way out of the presidency for Mr President and members of his team is for them to underrate or underestimate the potentials of the presidential candidacy of Atiku Abubakar on the PDP platform – he had insisted on using the PDP platform. That he is standing for the PDP is a charitable inheritance he deserves, considering the front line role he played in founding the party in 1998. This is very significant traditionally.
All tributes to the late political leader and friend of Atiku Abubakar, the late Tafidan Katsina, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a Pan Nigerian politician who himself led the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), which was pivotal to the establishment of the Social Democratic Party as one of the political agencies of the Ibrahim Babangida administration. It was in furtherance of this most vibrant, formidable political machine that engineered the emergence of the Proplesd Democratic Party (PDP).
Shehu was the principal instrument to the emergence of Moshood Abiola as presidential candidate of the social democratic party, and we all know what the whole story of the June 12 1993 botched presidential election tells, and the fact that it has resulted to what is now the “Abiola Presidency” in retrospect under law. Shehu, as Olusegun Obasanjo calls him, was the fabricator of the outlook of our present political system – as we have been managing with several distortions to the original outlook. He was a good man.
Shehu died fighting for the actualisation of the “June 12 mandate”. He died by poison administered on him by agents of government. And it can be seen how unfair our political leaders have turned out to be: Shehu Musa Yar’Adua deserves the same honour and privileges accorded to Abiola and Kingibe on behalf of the June 12 Mandate, because he set the platform for their political machine ascension and his death was the most sacrificial of all State ordered executions.
Atiku Abubakar was Shehu’s most favorite companion and to him, he, (Shehu), handed his political mantle of leadership to, at the time when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was on self exile, culminating in the founding of the PDP, and in respect to Shehu’s last wish, Olusegun Obasanjo was supported to emerge President in 1999. Today, the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua stands in appreciation of his contributions to the political development of Nigeria.
The vibrance of Shehu’s political ideology can be measured by the political performances of students who sat under his tutorship. Among Shehu’s close political associates is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who himself was primed to emerge Senate President in the imminent Shehu’s government that the Ibrahim Babangida truncated through an “Old Breed” ban – the political exclusion that produced Moshood Abiola for his June 12 heroism.
Atiku Abubakar’s emergence as a presidential candidate – upon any platform – is the hugest threat to the Buhari presidency at this time, and this is not a joke. Following Atiku Abubakar’s politics and the pursuit of his presidential ambition has been a soothing savouring passion. His sound political logic brought about the creation of interventionist agencies of government, and he rightly recruited tested politicians and technocrats for the socioeconomic successes that the first term of the Obasanjo administration engendered between 1999 and 2003. No one can successfully rob or take Atiku’s gains and successes from him.
As a political follower of the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s elder brother and Olusegun Obasanjo’s Chief of Staff when he was Head of State, Atiku Abubakar was principally and essentially the business associate of the politician. Atiku Abubakar remains one of the Nigerians who is well prepared and oiled to govern Nigeria, but there is something about the way and desperation he has constantly shown in his bid for the presidency. His touches on business and plans prosper in every sector he has ventured, and his companies operate basically on universal best practices. He has eyes for details and he is stylish.
The confident demonstrated earlier, above, in asserting that Atiku Abubakar, as presidential candidate on any platform, is a formidable threat to President Buhari, is the same confidence Atiku Abubakar lacks in himself – sorry, this is a personal opinion. Otherwise, as the opinion holds, he would have governed Nigeria in 2011 instead of Goodluck Jonathan. It is a very strong personal persuasion that would not go away quickly and therefore making him (Atiku) unforgivable for being politically intelligent but lacking political vision to see where his bread is best buttered.
This was the departure point for many of his political admirers, especially yours truly, who, at a point in time in 2010, suffered some public twitter bashings when attempting to defend the truth that Atiku Abubakar employs about 50,000 Nigerians in “Intels”, his oil and gas cash cow in Port Harcourt, alone. And he Atiku Abubakar was a part of that conversation. He has an excellent finesse but he is politically scary. Falling for his smoothness can cost the country some prison terms.
Simply put, to easily assess the power of Atiku Abubakar’s governance, take the political capacities, capabilities and economic governance of Nigeria between 1999 and 2004, it would be agreed that that period was the best period of Nigeria’s civil and public governance since independence, in view of the mirades of problems left behind by extensive military rule. There was no political bloodshed at that time, and the nation enjoyed relative peace and stability. There was harmony in the structures of government.
Never had Nigeria and Nigerians enjoyed the cushioning of government in every sector of political ecomomy like it was in the period under review. When the 4th Republic resumed and the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency was inaugurated, it was Atiku Abubakar who hit the ground running, while he sent Olusegun Obasanjo on “exile”.
Throughout the first term of President Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar ensured that his boss was not in office for 1 full month in a roll without travelling out. At that time, there was no country in this world to which Chief Obasanjo did not pay State Visit. Atiku Abubakar took charge and commanded strong following both in the national assembly and among state governors.
It is an open secret that if he was not naive enough to have conceded his presidency to the second term bid of Olusegun Obasanjo, he would have completed his 8 years as president in 2011. He was carried away by Obasanjo “dobale” (obeisance) and he paid dearly for it.
It was Atiku Abubakar who stayed back at home and managed the government at that time. President Buhari once had flu when he attended one of the national council of state meetings during this time, and it was during the period when there was bird flu pandemic in south east Asia, and Chief Obasanjo wondered if he (Buhari) had contacted the flu from China: President Buhari turned to Chief Obasanjo and said “I have not been globe trotting, I am not the ‘Ajala Travel’ here”
Atiku Abubakar set the tempo for the present behaviours of the members of the national assembly, he set the tempo for the present self serving powers state governors weld in their states and against the presidency at times, and he (Atiku) brought the sense of monetizing Nigeria’s democracy.
He instituted the tradition of obscene money spending to compromise every political and economic process. Atiku Abubakar made our politics a very expensive one. This is the major reason Chief Obasanjo resists his being considered for Nigeria’s presidency to the extent of confessing eternal damnation upon himself should he support such bid.
The fear of an Atiku Abubakar presidency stems from his having the capacity to succeed where other politicians have failed in “owning” Nigeria like the late Bob Mugabe “owned” Zimbabwe until an appointed time. In Nigeria today, only Atiku Abubakar has the political capacity to rule this country as a seeming life president because he knows how he can go about it, and he has the capacity to succeed at anything with the kind of irresponsible powers our constitution provides for one man over all.
He knows how to oil his way and remain Nigeria’s president on, and on, until he dies as president. This is the greatest fear political elites have of an Atiku Abubakar’s presidency. It is possible that when Atiku Abubakar gains his way to Nigeria’s presidency, he may change sustained laws, order and structures of the polity without any confrontation from any quarters. He will get there in the picture of the rat at night that eats up the flesh and blows soothing, pleasurable breath upon the wounds it creates.
With Nigeria’s presidency, it is very simple for Atiku Abubakar to become Nigeria’s life President. What the political elite fear is the possible loss of political patronage, as a life president would also maintain life staff and life subordinates. And another issue is their being forced to live in exile.
There was nothing that unveiled this political capacity of Atiku Abubakar than his political naivety in 2009 when he defected from the Action Congress (AC) to the PDP. It is believed that if he had been consistent with and had consistently followed his political partnership with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he would have been the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011 and would have likely won the presidential election that year. After what he went through in the hands of Olusegun Obasanjo, and still suffers, it is seen that it was a bad greed for power and the over estimation of self that lured him to the PDP nominations that year.
So it will be a very big mistake for the presidency to underate or underestimate the powers of Atiku Abubakar to spring big surprises in the forthcoming presidential election. As it seems presently, Atiku Abubakar has appeared like the proverbial “devil that we know” and looking better than President Muhammadu Buhari, who now appears to us as “the angel we did not know”.
The recently fouled and flawed governorship nomination exercise in Akwa Ibom State that threw up Dr Nsima Ekere as APC governorship candidate for the State has thrown up Adams Oshiomole, national chairman of the APC, as a terrible political rascal that shadowed the bad conservative “fruit” he ate in Funtua, as a labour executive, under the cloak of a progressive. Adams Oshiomole must have been a compromised labour leader who hid his weakness for bribes under his loud mouthed talkativeness.
The recently concluded APC governorship nomination in Akwa Ibom State has shown how the Buhari administration has positioned itself to use every other means other than free fair and democratic, to usurp the mandate of Nigerians and seize the presidency by means other than democratic.
Dr Ekere emerged the governorship candidate of the APC in Akwa Ibom upon the lives of 4 members of the party who died for Dr Ekere to emerge, a process which was declared as ” direct primary”, and no one is asking why? It means that the Buhari administration believes in the Machiavellian principle of brute power taking. For him, the end justifies the means. What a great and callous betrayal of a people.
This is the major reason the APC lobbied Godswill Akpabio out of the PDP, it is so that he would use brute force, on President Buhari’s behalf, to take Akwa Ibom State by force for the APC; and truly, any violence that would be witnessed in Akwa Ibom State during the forthcoming general elections should be squarely blamed on President Buhari’s seeming desperation to snatch a second term opportunity at the presidency at all cost.
For the notice of those who have caged President Buhari, making him strange to us, they should be warned against using brute force during the next general election, otherwise, it should be seen how Atiku Abubakar is a formidable competitor who can match whatsoever step President Buhari and his team will take to rob him of a free and fair election. His superior political intelligence and international connections puts him ahead of President Buhari in this regard, save for the power of incumbency which can only be applied in elections retrogressively.
Atiku Abubakar set the foundation for our present political outlook and he knows to apply men and materials and to pay them well as expected by our present crops of voters in Nigeria than President Buhari. He demonstrated this capacity at the PDP convention that produced him as the party’s presidential candidate, taking his PDP back from Governor Nyesom Wike, and he (Atiku) can as well take his “Nigeria” back from President Buhari in 2019 if the injustices of the APC leadership is not addressed and Adams Oshiomole sacked as National Chairman of the party.
If President Buhari can betray the popular trust he enjoys with Nigerians, then it is preferably to hand over the reins of power to the devil we know in Atiku Abubakar and we can be rest assured that Nigeria has become a banana republic. It is good to also test how it is to be citizens in the cage of one eternal dictator than to continue in the stupid “trial and error” of leaders every 8 years.
Let Nigeria sink if it must sink. There are those who will lose much more that ordinary Nigerians, and at this point, it is expedient to call all Nigerians to brace up for the war ahead. It is possible we may not have a united country any more after the 2019 elections because President Buhari appears a pretender to the integrity he projects.
It is clear to us now that the APC claims what it is not, and it is no better than the PDP: what the party stands for is quite disappointing to say the least. Nigeria can go to hell and burn because nobody cares about the common people.
Ini Akpan Morgan is the Convener of the APC Patriots Grouping (APCpg) in Akwa Ibom State and he writes in from Uyo via “email@example.com”