The choice of Obi, a man of many parts, a practical administrator and financial expert, has boosted the Atiku presidential ticket.
Let us be clear from the outset. Nigerians, generally speaking, are applauding the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its choice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate for the 2019 general election. But they are applauding Atiku the more for his choice of the former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, as his running mate. This is despite the howl from a tiny segment of the Igbo political elite on the choice of Obi. No serious-minded Igbo is distracted by the feeble objection of those who feel that they should have been consulted on the matter. The people know that it is within the right of anybody, including the naysayers in this matter, to differ from others. But they also recognise the fact that the matter we have on our hands is too serious to admit of frivolous interjections such as the one wafting out from the aforementioned quarters. That notwithstanding, I believe that their transgressions have been forgiven. Obi’s nomination has come to stay. We can only enjoin all men and women of goodwill to join the winning team.
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If there is anything somebody cannot wish away in this matter,itisthefactthatthe emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the PDP has been exciting to many. His selling point has largely been his handy experience as former Vice President of the country. Many believe there is so much in that to take away. Atiku is also being looked up to with high expectations owing to his financial muscle. It is taken for granted in several quarters that no political gladiator or rival that we know of today can outspend Atiku. Since politics in Nigeria rests largely on the fatness of one’s pocket, Atiku is easily tipped as one politician whose aspiration or vision cannot be hampered by money. Indeed, we do not need to look too far to discover who Atiku is. We already know him. The man has so much going for him. He is believed to be one of the most formidable among the lot that filed out in the contest for the PDP ticket. That is why analysts have no difficulty in reaching the conclusion that PDP made a good choice in him.
As a matter of fact, Nigerians were yet to begin a comparative analysis of Atiku and President Muhammadu Buhari when he (Atiku) presented us with Peter Obi as his running mate. Anybody who is part of the current trend in the polity will readily agree that Obi’s choice has been a knockout since it was announced. It has been well received by Nigerians. The choice of Obi, a man of many parts, a practical administrator and financial expert, has boosted the Atiku presidential ticket. A combination of Atiku and Obi promises to provide Nigeria with a breakthrough. Nigerians are looking forward to the promises of a new day.
The overriding impression out there is that Atiku’s choice of Obi was very well considered. That Atiku made the choice without prevarication is an indication that he knows what he wants. He did not create room for too many opinions. He did not allow lobbyists to spoil the broth before he delivered on the delicacy. The swiftness of the decision presents Atiku as his own man; a clear-headed servant-leader who will not be overwhelmed by the motley crowd that populate the political space.
Now, let us take a cursory look at the arrowheads of the APC and PDP, namely, Buhari and Atiku. There is, if truth be told, no basis for comparison between the two men. Buhari has no expertise that commends him for governance. When it appeared in 2015 that Nigerians preferred him to Jonathan, the only thing they were passionate about was the fable that Buhari was not corrupt. That he would fight corruption. Nearly four years after, Nigerians have seen through him. They know now that they were wrong. The country has been badly bruised under the Buhari presidency. The anti-corruption battle has gone awry. Its selectiveness is too obvious for anybody not to notice. Nigerians have also come to appreciate the fact that anti-corruption posturing is not a credential. It does not qualify anyone for public office. The only thing Buhari has going for him today is that his party, the APC, is uncomfortable with the prospect of losing power after only four years in the saddle. The party is, therefore, fighting hard to see if it can cling to any straw to sail through in the 2019 general election. This is Buhari’s only staying power.
But Atiku is not weighed down by the Buhari hangups. As Vice President for eight years, Atiku has been long enough in the public domain. Nigerians are not complaining about his role in the governance of the country. Out of office, Atiku has demonstrated high level patriotism in national discourse. He has taken a position on the most-talked-about national issue of our time, namely, restructuring. Here, Atiku has pitched tent with the progressives who want Nigeria to develop and prosper. He is a proponent of a restructured Nigeria and the patriots of the land are looking forward to an Atiku presidency, which promises to usher in a new beginning in Nigeria.
Significantly, he will be thoroughly complemented by his choice of Peter Obi.
As governor, Obi brought sanity to Anambra State. After the tumultuous reign of Chris Ngige as governor of Anambra, the state had the notoriety of being passed off as the home of anarchy. Everyone in the state carved an empire around himself. But all of that changed under Peter Obi. He used to tell us while he was in office that he has proven that it is possible to govern Anambra State without being a mad man. He bequeathed a sane and purified Anambra to his successor.
To demonstrate that he is a man of his convictions, Obi has not rested since he left office more than four years ago. You can say without any fear of contradiction that he is the most visible of all the former public office holders in this country. He is everywhere attending one public function or the other. His philanthropy is unceasing. He never runs out of goodwill. In public discourse, he is one of the most engaging that we know in Nigeria of today. His knowledge of the economy, as acknowledged and noted by Atiku, is vast. He is very much at home with economic discourses, and he does this with near effortless ease and engaging expertise. You cannot but admire him, if you have a smattering knowledge of global economic issues. You can call him a roving expert on global financial markets.
He knows the trends and he moves with the times. As a matter of fact, Anambra was lucky to have had him as governor since most men and women of intellect do not easily break into political barriers to demonstrate the stuff they are made of. Obi rose above this malady. And today, the country is the better for it.
Given this solid background of Obi, a combination of him and Atiku promises so much for Nigeria. Atiku will have in Obi a seasoned manager of our national resource. With him, our economy will be brought on the front burner and positioned for optimal performance.