A thorough inspection of Atiku’s persona would easily reveal a man of principled integrity, detribalized, broad-minded, entrepreneurially shrewd
At this point in the political evolution of our country, Nigerians are searching for a broad-minded leader who can restructure the system and redress the perennial feelings of injustice and marginalization pervading the polity. The resultant effect of this pervasive feeling on the psyche of the average Nigerian has been constant recourse to and identification with the caprices of one’s ethnic agenda rather than a sense of patriotism in which a common national interest is advanced and cherished above anything else. The burning social, political and economic issues of the day hinge on agitations for structural reengineering of the polity. And yet certain centrifugal forces are working at cross purposes with the interests of Nigerians, intent on scuttling the process of enthroning true federalism in the system. This subsisting injustice has now been brought to tragic proportions.
The Nigerian federal system requires a major restructuring in order to avert continued incidences of violence, mutual mistrust, economic instability and mounting ethnic tensions. Atiku Abubakar has promised to create ‘an inspiring vision of the future’ by his willingness to restructure the Nigerian state. Considering the hypocrisies that have characterized governance in Nigeria, it will only that a very courageous and insightful leader, with a clear vision and the ability to create sustainable value to talk about restructuring the country. Atiku seems to possess all the qualities needed in a transformational leader. He is self-actualized, firm, decisive, focused and not easily disoriented. He radiates an aura of universal acceptability from all strata of the Nigerian society in all its hues and colorations.
The Atiku’s persona remains consistent, without a shade of capriciousness. Nigerians are familiar with his antecedents and not worried about character transformation and metamorphosis as was the case when the issue of Buhari’s ‘personality change’ was a source of great concerns to most Nigerians. However, a thorough inspection of Atiku’s persona would easily reveal a man of principled integrity, detribalized, broad-minded, entrepreneurially shrewd, a human capacity builder, politically sagacious, distinguished achiever, focused, proactive in his endeavors and passionate about reengineering the Nigerian state where equity, fairness and justice would be extended to all irrespective of ethnic and religious cleavages or inclinations.
Atiku’s sense of propriety and rational judgment remains intact nearly thirty years after, when as a senior Customs officer, he insisted on the moral promptings of his duty to search and question the ownership of the ‘sacred’ untouchable 53 Suitcases belonging to one of the most powerful personalities in Nigeria. He displayed remarkable courage and firmness of purpose by refusing to be cowed by ‘instructions from above’. It is this firmness, resolve and practical approach to duty that has seen him excelling in virtually everything he sets his mind to accomplish.
He displayed this character trait soon after he won the PDP Presidential ticket. Without waiting for political jobbers to heat up the polity with internal wrangling and controversies about who would be chosen as his running mate, he decisively made his choice with clinical incisiveness and promptness that took everyone unawares. Of course, his action was a clear indication of the stuff he is made of. As a true patriot, sincere and honest in his intentions, Atiku has been insisting that, ‘political decentralization will help to deepen and strengthen our democracy as it will encourage accountability… true federalism will encourage states to compete to attract investments and skilled workers rather than merely waiting for monthly revenue allocation from Abuja’.
Atiku is imbued with a remarkable capacity for level-headedness in the midst of precariously challenging trials and even of tribulations. Perhaps more than any other prominent contemporary Nigerian politician he has borne more the ‘ignominy’ of electoral defeat. And yet, at each point, he had accepted defeat with uncommon equanimity of heart and resignation to the will of the people. Unlike those who vowed to ‘spill the blood of dogs and baboons’, he has never threatened to rock the boat in the event of failure or sought to constitute a clog in the wheel of progress of those who defeated him.
He is not given to fiery criticisms, inciting remarks and threats. He treads the political terrain with measured steps, strategizing and re-strategizing his political options with consummate skills and panache. He has never been caught grandstanding, double-speaking, equivocating or uttering ambiguities and playing to the gallery on burning, socio-economic and political issues of the day.
We are confident that after Atiku’s electoral victory, he would not waste six good months before appointing his lieutenants and ministers to different portfolios of government. He will not be held captive by those who may claim to have sponsored and promoted his Presidency because there would no such unscrupulous personalities around him, except his key supporters and admirers.
We know that his government would not be run by a cabal who are only interested in advancing their self-enlightened interests, usually at cross-purposes with the overall interests of Nigerian citizens. We know that, as a detribalized Nigerian, Atiku would not fold his hands while Fulani herdsmen maul and wreak havoc on farmers all over the country, massacring them in their thousands. Ethnic tension would be reduced to the barest minimum and might even become entirely non-existent unlike what is currently obtainable.
We know that Atiku would respect the federal character principles and shall not appoint only men and women from his ethnic group into key positions of influence and authority, while treating other tribes with disdain and ignominy. We know that under Atiku’s government, the Nigerian state would be restructured to pave way for equity, fairness and justice. We are fully persuaded that under Atiku’s government, there will no longer be any selective justice in which the ruling government keeps mauling the opposition while shielding corrupt men and women of their political Party extraction.
We are convinced without any shred of doubts that under Atiku’s leadership, true democracy will flourish once again and the era of impunity and flagrant disregard for the rule of law will be a thing of the past while true federalism will be enthroned in our political structure and arrangement. With the practice of true federalism, the change mantra which remains amorphous under Buhari’s Presidency will begin to find its true definition, in practical terms. This indeed would be one great, noble and lofty legacy the Atiku Abubakar government is certain to bequeath to the Nigerian state.
Nonyelum writes via [email protected]