As we head for the polls, let Nigerians not opt for an endorsement of the status quo because they feel the two gladiators are Morton’s fork!
A fresh opportunity presents itself for Nigerians to make another CHANGE (definitely not the kind promised Nigerians last time out) come February 2019. However, the people are presently disenchanted, disillusioned and completely frustrated. So much so they wish they never left Egypt on an imaginary migration to the land of ‘milk and honey.’ They are confused! Stranded! Majority are ready and willing to return to Pharaoh in Egypt – at least they are assured of ‘a pot of porridge’. So they feel.
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This is the story of Nigeria and Nigerians as we speak. They are exasperated by the obvious perfidy of an irritant administration. They are willing to return to the Peoples Democratic Party – the rejected flock in 2015 – for succour.
The PDP would be fielding Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (AAA), GCON as its candidate for the presidential contest. A lot have been put out there in the public space about the person of the former vice president. Some palatable; some unpalatable. Some cooked up; some rather raw and too hard to ‘chew’. But is the Turaki of Adamawa the best man for the highest job in the land? Not a few people have advocated not only a generational shift, but also a class shift in our politics. The argument is that it is time to put a stop to the old order.
Besides, a few other presidential hopefuls have unimpeachably shown that they have something to offer – if given the opportunity. The likes of Oby Ezekwesili and Kingsley Moghalu have actually got not a few Nigerians on the edge of their seats each time they have had the opportunity of addressing their countrymen. Ezekwesili has shown that she has an arrow in the quiver. Her eloquence go beyond mere rhetorics and political intuition. Same can be said about Moghalu. The former CBN top brass has also shown that he’s as bright as a button; morning, noon and night.
The question then is: Is Nigeria ready for these breed of ‘reformers’ – wouldn’t want to tag them as politicians, that appellation, carries with it, some smear, symptomatic of this clime. We live in a country where it is almost a ’sin’ to put our first eleven out in a contest. To put it rather succinctly, Nigeria’s Team A in the political turf will barely fit in as ball boys (never mind the bench) in saner societies.
The politics of Africa’s, and indeed the world’s most populous black country is ethnic; religious; treacherous; sentimental and corruptible. It is devoid of decorum and altruism. And so, the likes of Ezekwesili, Moghalu and a few others can’t thrive here. No, not in our present socio-political colouration. At least, not in Nigeria of today.
Thus, Atiku Abubakar appears to be just about the only candidate strong enough to disrupt the status quo. He appeals to the sentiments of the Nigerian electorates.
Most importantly, Atiku appears to be the most vocal proponent of ‘Restructuring’ – a word that appears to threaten the very existence of the country. Restructuring connotes different things to different people. Some would rather not talk about it. Many choose to avoid it like cancer. But the truth remains that it is the basis for the continued existence of this experiment called Nigeria. In his “Getting Nigeria Working Again” document, the ex-VP clearly stated that ‘Nigeria needs a unity that is transparently and collectively negotiated and agreed upon.’ This is a statement of fact. And Nigerians can hold him accountable to this document if he makes it to Aso Rock. The situation of ‘the president never promised that…’ can never arise. The document is not just mere manifesto. This is what Atiku stands for.
Atiku can boast of thriving business concerns spread all over the country. Thus, he’s tested and trusted in the business of business management. Business management entails managing men and materials. The incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari obviously doesn’t tick the box in this regard (as in several others). Little wonder the country is up the creek without a paddle. Atiku seems familiar with this terrain; and thus, more equipped and prepared to navigate us out of the present socio-political, ethno-religious and, most significantly, economic quagmire we find ourselves today. He can do it!
Atiku belongs to the flock of politicians who have failed Nigeria in the past. He’s aware of this fact. He was a founding member of the PDP – the party that had subjected Nigerians to excruciating pains in the last 16 years. Almost to a point of asphyxiation – until the APC came and proved that the last 16 years fell into the realm of ‘the good old days.’ He understands the feelings of the people at this time. President Jonathan was voted out when he was adjudged to have ‘messed’ up. If Buhari is voted out, the reasons may not be too far from that of Jonathan; so Atiku will be out for just one thing – PERFORMANCE. He understands the dynamics. And the fact that the Turaki of Adamawa also picked Peter Obi as his running mate is a vivid illumination of his desire to get the job done. Obi’s credentials, pedigree and track records are impeccable. What a tag team! Little wonder the ruling party already have ants in their pants as we speak.
As we go into the polls in the next two months, Nigerians should remember one thing – the worst thing that can never happen to a man is when he wakes up in the morning, and realizes the day will be just as bad (or worse) as yesterday. But waking up with hope and anticipation is worth living for. A vote for Atiku Abubakar will certainly be a breath of fresh air. A vote for Buhari will definitely not usher in hope. It will just be much of muchness. Same old dark days. Can we afford that? As we head for the polls, let Nigerians not opt for an endorsement of the status quo because they feel the two gladiators are Morton’s fork!
Atuma, a social commentator, writes from Lagos via [email protected]