I am familiar with the Atiku story. It is one I had wished to tell long time ago in support of my desire to see a Nigeria that is strong, united and productive.
The story of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the kind of story we ought to be telling very often. It is a story that is rich in lessons from various perspectives. If you tell it from individual perspective, there is something to learn about the triumph of the individual will. Taken from the economic angle, that is where you get the best. The Atiku narrative would give practical meaning to the teaching that a man with value is the one that is productive. The Atiku story validates the point that consumers suffer as individuals and also cause societies to remain stagnated. From the political side, the story is just wonderful; from the Atiku foray you can see all that is wrong with our political culture.
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Atiku is pure and pure a democrat, he believes in the principles of hold your vision and expectation, be ready to dialogue, negotiate during which you may disagree, fight and later agree. He is a consensus builder and a believer in agreement. That is politics. True politics should be about competing aspirations. Sometimes there could be a clash but what takes away the steam of bitter conflict is the window of dialogue and its possibility to attend to each interest on the basis of necessity, equity and justice. This is where the story of Atiku stands out and provides us with very pertinent lessons. This is the kind of story, as I said earlier, we should be telling but which we are not telling for the simple reason that some persons in our midst have succeeded in taking over the stage and have substituted positive values with vices.
The destruction of our core value has left us with a disorderly society. It is causing us great pains and leaving deaths in its trail but the harbingers of this crude system don’t care; in fact they carry on as if everything is normal. Many benefit from the high level of disorganization and like the law of self-preservation would postulate, it is about self first before any other thing. The other thing does not include a challenge to the existing decadent order. Any light they see from afar off coming towards the darkened atmosphere they have created is accosted with every rigour at their disposal. This is why they have continued to twist the Atiku story, but they forget that any good story is a seed, the more you bury the more they sprout up from the soil, raising new trees and bearing plenty of fruits. Over the years many have tried to bury or swallow the Atiku story and in each of the instances it either grew up from the soil or got stuck in their throats.
I am familiar with the Atiku story. It is one I had wished to tell long time ago in support of my desire to see a Nigeria that is strong, united and productive. In Lagos where I started work as a journalist, my beat was politics. It was always the delight of every political correspondent to have unfettered access to those we considered bigwigs in the society. My colleague and I found one in Atiku who was at that time a businessman. I found him a special person. He was accessible, kind and very accommodating, at a time ethnic and religious bigotry were at an all time high, I found Atiku very refreshing. He didn’t speak or relate to us based on those factors. I saw a Nigerian who was humane and committed to the development of his country. Each time we met him we found his company very interesting and rewarding.
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Atiku’s politics has rich lessons for us. He worked himself up before talking about public service and before he ventured in he knew the importance of mentorship. He also knew that democratic politics is about people and processes, so working with his mentor, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, they put together a formidable political platform known as the Peoples Front. This movement became valuable in our quest to play down religion and ethnicity as factors in our politics. Today many citizens are feasting on Abiola and June 12 and leaving the real actors to suffer various kinds of indignity. If truth be told, without Yar’adua and Atiku there wouldn’t have been the political Abiola and the now celebrated June 12 and if not for the personal sacrifices of Atiku, power change from the North to the South would have remained what it has always been, a mere wish.
We have not been fair to the man. Various negative acts have been perpetrated against him and some of them enough to make him kiss untimely death but somehow he has managed to survive. The truth is that most of us kept quite while negative forces went after him. As Vice President he stood against tenure elongation when staying calm and supportive would have benefited him. The hammer came on him and instead of the citizens coming to his defence they rather joined forces with the oppressor group. They told us Atiku is inconsistent because he moved from one party to another but nobody says it was wrong for the then president to make attempt to stop him from taking his democratic right. They say he is ambitious and I ask myself, what is the crime in being dedicated and persistent in pursuit of what you believe in? They say he is corrupt and I wonder who are the accusers, where are the cases and the convictions? They say he can’t go to America and I ask must we go to foreign countries before we are validated. This particular allegation is a proof we have lost our sovereignty long ago.
It is true I want to see young men take up responsibility but I am not enamored by it, an old man can be a revolutionary or a transformer. What is important is vision, competence and of course, experience. If there is one politician that has prepared for office in this country, that person is Atiku. He sure knows the importance of a blueprint and intangible factors like bonding a people together, he could do well as a president, but whether his programmes can bring far reaching change, is what I can’t bet on, the reason being that Atiku is a comprador capitalist who still believes or subscribes to interventions from imperialistic nations and their institutions. Leaders from developed nations who listen to them take two steps forward and nine steps backward. They tell them increase wages, raise petroleum prices and remove government contributions in critical sectors like health and education, they would never tell you build a productive economy, which is where the problem begins. This is exactly one of the key reasons successive leaders have failed and I see Atiku walking into it except there is a unique intervention in the form of drastic turnaround in vision conceptualization and processing.