|Saturday, October 13, 2018|
he race to 2019 has truly begun. From now till February 2019, when the elections will be conducted in Nigeria, this column will be examining related issues under the above headline (using sub-headlines to indicate any new topic).
Atiku-lation of Nigeria, in 2019, can be possible
On October 7, 2018, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, beat 11 other contestants to clinch the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s presidential nomination. In his acceptance speech, Atiku issued a rallying cry to the party, saying: "We have a wonderful opportunity to return the PDP to power. We've enumerated the challenges faced by the country over and over. What we need to do is to proffer solutions. That is what will make us different from the (present) clueless government."
In what were considered to be the party's most competitive primaries ever, according to African Arguments, the 71-year-old Abubakar (popularly referred to as Atiku) garnered 1,532 of the 3,274 votes from party delegates (around 47%). Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, came a distant second with 693 votes (21%). Senate president, Bukola Saraki, came third with 317 votes (10%).
Atiku Abubakar was not the favorite, prior to the convention, but one thing leading to another, he won. I was informed that the PDP hierarchy, including the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who hosted the convention, and the 5 Generals, who claim to be the owners of PDP and Nigeria, had planned to give the nomination to Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto State, based on the presumption that since he's from Sokoto State, the seat of the Caliphate, that the Sultan will support his candidacy, and will then influence all the northern Emirs and religious leaders to support Tambuwal against Buhari.
Wittingly, the plan to install Tambuwal, as the PDP flag bearer, was scuttled, mainly, by the Igbo states' delegates, who questioned the idea of relying, solely, on a traditional cum religious leader in order to wrestle control of the government away from Buhari - the worst president Nigeria has ever had. Those who gave up on the plan to crown Tambuwal, at the last minute, wondered what will happen if the Sultan refuses to play along, along the line. Then, they decided to look for a candidate who can stand and beat Buhari, on his own strength or capability, without major external influence.
Looking through the "crowd" who contested the PDP primaries, those who voted for Atiku Abubakar saw him as the only man who has the connection, appeal and a big war chest to send Buhari back to his farm in Daura, where he really belongs (Atiku's net worth in Dollars, in 2018, according to Forbes, is $ 1.4 billion). Since Buhari loves cows more than human beings, he should go back to his village to be the president of his cows. One person even said that, normally, when a person dies, a cow might be slaughtered for the burial, but for Buhari and his Fulani herdsmen, when a cow dies, people of some communities must be slaughtered to bury the cow.
Atiku Abubakar is not the best, but, out of the worst PDP presented, at the convention, he remains the best person who can take the party back into Aso Rock. He stood out as the only person, among the contenders, who can give Buhari a run for his money, based on the power of incumbency. If Atiku Abubakar wins the presidential election, know that people did not vote for Atiku, but against Buhari. Many, who would have shunned Atiku and his ambition of ruling Nigeria, are now rooting for him, if not for any other thing else, but to chase the incompetent, lifeless, clueless and heartless Buhari out of office.
The emergence of Atiku Abubakar, as one of the two front-runners, evoked mixed feelings in me. It's still unfathomable that a country with so many qualified youths will be having two major presidential candidates who were born in 1942 and 1946 respectively - we have a lot of younger, healthier, more qualified and vibrant people. The problem is that the best candidates will never be nominated by the major political parties, and Nigerians are not yet politically sophisticated as to vote for the best, irrespective of party affiliation or ethnic background. What Nigerians do is to vote for their mouth or ethnic origin vis-à-vis their conscience or the candidates' ability to deliver.
We have the following Presidential candidates:
Muhammadu Buhari (All Progressives Congress),
Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party),
Donald Duke (Social Democratic Party),
Olusegun Mimiko (Zenith Labour Party),
Omoyele Sowore (African Action Congress),
Kingsley Moghalu (Young Progressives Party),
Fela Durotoye (Alliance for New Nigeria),
Tope Fasua (Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party),
Eunice Atuejide (National Interest Party),
Adesina Fagbenro-Byron (Kowa Party),
Eniola Olajuni (Alliance for Democracy),
Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim (Alliance for People's Trust),
Obadiah Mailafia (African Democratic Congress),
Alistair Soyode (Yes Electorates Solidarity),
Hamza A-Mustapha (People's Party of Nigeria),
Chike Ukaegbu (Advanced Allied Party),
Ahmed Buhari (Sustainable National Party),
Usman Ibrahim Alhaji (National Rescue Movement),
John Ogbor (All Progressives Grand Alliance),
Yabagi Sani (Action Democratic Party),
Moses Ship (All Blending Party),
Peter Nwangwu (We the People of Nigeria),
Edozie Madu (Independent Democrats),
And, Obiageli Ezekwesili (Allied Congress Party of Nigeria).
Twenty-six presidential candidates so far, except anyone has been overlooked in our list. What we know is that this is probably the most demographically diverse presidential contest line-up in Nigerian history - an indication of the people's determination to participate in the country's political process at the highest level". (Reuben Abati)
It's unfortunate that Atiku, just like Buhari in 2015, is a perennial presidential candidate. He has tried four times to get the job without success. I hope he gets it, this time around, so that he will get out of our political way, for good. But, why is it that septuagenarians are now repetends (repeating decimals) as far as presidential elections in Nigeria are concerned? Buhari is 75, Atiku is 71, but we have, as candidates, also, Adesanya Fegbenro-Byron, who's 59; Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, who's 55; Omoyele Sowore, who' s 47; Thomas-Wilson Ikubese, who's 47; Tope Fasua, who's 47; Mathias Tsado, who's 41; Ahmed Buhari, who's 40, Eniola Olajuni, who's 40; Enyinnaya Nnaemeka Nwosu, who's 40; Chike Ukaegbu, who's 35; etc
Any of the above mentioned younger Nigerians (59 years and below) would make a better president than Buhari or Atiku, but I'm afraid they will never get a chance to that office, because of the institutionalized hurdles they will never be able to overcome. None of the two major political parties will ever give them an opportunity to be its presidential flag bearer, at least, not for now, and I doubt if they (the two parties) will do much in the near future.
I sent a video to my good friend and brother, Dr. Wumi Akintide; it was where Obasanjo called Buhari a failure who deserves no re-election. Wumi replied me, and here are few excerpts l lifted from his mail:
"If Obasanjo is so sincere, and if he truly means to help Nigeria survive, he should have been supporting a rainbow coalition of the Youth candidates like Omoyele Sowore, Kingsley Moghalu, Durotoye and Tope Fasua, all of whom are talking the talk and walking the walk with a more viable plan for Nigeria".
"If there are stones and pebbles inside a bowl of cooked beans, it is not the blind man who should alert us about that, because, he lacks the vision to pick out the pebbles. Obasanjo had ruled Nigeria for eleven years and longer than any Nigerian dead or alive. What fine legacies did he leave behind to arrogate to himself the leverage to put his own handpicked men to lead Nigeria again?"
"I would take Obasanjo very seriously if he, as a father figure, completely stays out of partisan politics, or, if he throws his support to the rainbow coalition of the Youths, I have mentioned above, as a more viable alternative to the two tarnished and damaged front-runners. I remain convinced that the PDP and the APC are two sides of the same coin. Neither of them deserves to win, because, they are both derelict and corrupt".
Steve Ogbujah also noted that we need, at least, younger and healthier people to run for offices. Sadly, ours is an environment where youths have a weak political voice for some reasons - Godfatherism/money/status politics; the herd mentality; and corruption.
On the other hand, "if we did not get the best we wanted, let's make the best out of what we got"! Since it will be impossible for any other candidate, except that of the APC or the PDP, to win the presidential election, then, our choice here is limited - we have to choose between Buhari and Atiku. And in that case, any candidate who will push Buhari out of Aso Rock, even if he's a "goat", will have our blessing. Buhari has disappointed, even beyond the imagination of those who opposed his candidacy in 2015, so, getting him out of Aso Rock, through the ballot papers, in 2019, is a task that must be accomplished, no matter who makes that to happen. For now, no one will be best placed to relieve Nigerians of the yoke or curse called Buhari than Atiku, a fellow Fulani, because of the formidable platform he will be contesting from.
Buhari let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down, and he knows it. That was the reason he said, "I will not disappoint you again if you re-elect me". He said this balderdash after being declared as the APC presidential candidate, at the party's National Presidential Convention, on Sunday, October 7, 2018, at the Abuja Eagle Square. Buhari should not get a second chance to put Nigerians through this hell they're going through, again. His gormless government has achieved virtually nothing tangible that would make him deserve a second term. The problem is that Buhari does not understand what being a president means, because, he's not really acting as one, in the sense that all the evidence, so far, demonstrates that he's acting more like an oligarch or an emperor.
Sam Bolaji wrote that "If President Buhari never returned to rule us as a civilian president; we would think that our Messiah was being prevented from ruling us. Now he has, and we have seen that he is no Messiah. What else can our dear President offer?"
As I was putting finishing touches on this article, news came that Atiku Abubakar has inched closer to becoming the next president of Nigeria. Something he has been dreaming about, for a long time, might now be only a heartbeat away, because the man who has helped in denying him that office, all along, has finally dropped his opposition against his candidacy. I'm talking about no other person than Olusegun Obasanjo. He has finally endorsed Atiku as the next president, and if you know what transpired between the two (Obasanjo and Atiku) since 2006, you will understand the weight of this Obasanjo's endorsement.
Atiku was the Vice President under Obasanjo, but in 2006, three years into their second term in office, relations between the duo soured, allegedly, over the former's apparent plan to seek a third mandate - contrary to the constitution. This rift led Atiku to decamp from the PDP, and he started running from pillar to post (from one political party to the other) in order to actualize his dream of ruling Nigeria. Obasanjo has consistently opposed Atiku's candidacy and even had him indicted, in 2007, in order to make sure he never had the chance to vie for the post, but, Atiku had to go to the Courts to have the indictment quashed.
Now, Buhari's incompetent leadership has changed everything for Atiku. According to elombah.com, "Former President Olusegun Obasanjo will be backing Atiku Abubakar, his former deputy, ahead of the 2019 presidential election, having described him as "President-to-be" following a meeting between the two men in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, on Thursday, October 11. Joining Atiku at the meeting were his right-hand man and former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the party."
Also, as I was about posting this article for publication, news came again that Atiku has scored another A by picking Mr. Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra State, as his running mate. Atiku's campaign said that Obi's choice was largely influenced by his youthfulness, vast knowledge of global and local economics as well as being a financial expert, all experience which Nigeria is in great need at this point in time. This ticket will be able to steer our nation back on the path of progress, economic prosperity and unity".
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] candidate for the 2017 Anambra State governorship election, Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze, told us why Mr. Obi should be Atiku's running mate, when he wrote that Peter Obi "meets the critical set - experience, youth, a global worldview, frugality, economic management, acceptability, and limited political baggage. In terms of strategic succession planning, he fits the bill". (elombah)
Mr. Obi, as the running mate is the best thing that can happen to Atiku's campaign, and to Nigeria, because, Mr. Obi is really qualified for the job - his resume and experience are intimidating. Atiku made the right choice here, and this news must be exhilarating to anybody who knows the "miracles" Mr. Obi wrought in Anambra State as a governor. With Mr. Obi, as VP, there will then be hope for a better Nigeria.
This conversation will be continued!
Read, or re-read, Obasanjo's weighty words for Atiku here:
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!