Ogbe Ada Patrick
In a boxing bout, even though two opponents are throwing dangerous punches at each other; certain firm rules guide the contest. For many who are already conversant with the game of boxing; (and for a few others who are not aware of the fact), one of the rules that guide the sport of boxing-no matter how violent, the contest is turning out to be-is the rule that, a boxer, or pugilist-in the boxing ring-must never hit his (or her) opponent, below the belt !!
In my own candid opinion, I think APC- the now ruling party in Nigeria, has hit former vice president of the country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, below the belt, by stating that he is a Cameroonian, and not a Nigerian !!
We mustn’t wash our dirty linens in the public, for all and sundry to see, and then afterwards, glee at us with contempt. The fact remains that, the former, two-term vice president of Nigeria was born in Jada, in northern Nigeria, in an area that was then aligned to the Cameroonian border-when Nigeria was under British, colonial rule. In contemporary times however, Nigeria-as a sovereign nation, has undergone series of metamorphosis of integrations, engrafting, and annexing. We must remember that Nation Nigeria, as an entity, was initially made up of only the Northern and Southern Protectorate, under then British colonial dominion.
Then, from the inception of demarcating Nigeria into regions, geo-political zones, and afterwards states, Nigeria is today made up of the stable 36 states structure, with Abuja being the nation’s FCT. On account of such a peculiar history-and background; I think it would be wrong for any individual, group or party, or association to call any person, that is today a bona-fide citizen of Nigeria, a foreigner, because of decades-old, boundary adjustments, border demarcations, and other such related issues. If a part of Adamawa State, close to a century ago, was annexed to another neighboring West African nation; I don’t see how today, when Nigeria has become a sovereign nation, with a clearly demarcated land space, such a fact should determine Atiku’s political fate, or destiny –or indeed, the fate of any other politician from that state.
Former two term vice president of Nigeria, and incidentally, the Presidential candidate of the PDP in the now “rested”, February, 2019 Presidential elections, may have lost out at the polls, months back. I however do not think that is basis for the now ruling political party in Nigeria, to “tongue-lash” him, the way the former is doing.
Nigeria, as a nation, I think, needs to come to a point of political maturity, citizen’s integration, and flexibility in governance in this country, such that even citizens of Nigeria-by naturalization-can aspire for, and indeed vie for any political position of their choice. Politics, is essentially, all about qualitative representation. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, cannot make it into a political office, at every point in time.
However, if any citizen has something tangible to offer the nation, and has a developmental plan on how to “move Nation Nigeria to the height of enviable greatness, amongst the committee of African nations; I think such a citizen of the country should be allowed to “go ahead and do the job”.
Nigeria, I really think, should take a cue from the most powerful nation on the surface of the earth today, which is the United States of America. The level of political maturity, integration, engrafting, and flexibility in secular governance, that exists in America today, is something that African nations-like Nigeria-should borrow a lead from.
In America today, an individual’s place of birth, paternity, or maternity, hardly matters. As long as such an individual has something cogent to contribute to the uniqueness of the country; America will “make space” for such an individual to contribute his quota towards making the country great. For instance, in modern America, as long as an individual is resident in America, has acquired American citizenship, or has a father, or mother, that is an American citizen; such an individual can vie, virtually, for any political office in America !! Must one, here, begin to roll out the peculiar details, and resume of America’s 44th President, Barack Obama?
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, contested the 2019, Presidential elections with finesse. We all know that he lost out gallantly at the polls. Even though the former two term, vice president has refused to accept the results of the 2019 Presidential elections, and has vowed to seek a redress in court; I don’t think that the antagonistic stance of the nation’s former Vee-Pee towards APC, is reason enough for the ruling party, APC, to “castigate” Atiku, thus bluntly.
APC has won a mandate to remain in power, in Nigeria, for the next four years-2019 to 2023. What I think APC should focus on now, presently, are issues, such as, inauguration preparations for their second tenure, deliberations on pending, imminent, ministerial appointments, cabinet members’ re-shuffling, and how to map out strategies, aimed at tackling existing vices, currently buffeting the nation.
A scenario, where APC is “punching” certain, revered citizens of Nigeria, “below the belt”, while they are treading on the red carpet of their victory, to their inauguration day, I think, does not augur well for us in this country. We mustn’t forget that Nigeria is prime, in the continent of Africa. Africa, is watching us !!
Patrick writes from Lagos