Atiku’s controversial antecedents almost make him unelectable, let alone beating Candidate Buhari in the next presidential election.
The appositeness of David Broder’s words is instructive here: “Anybody who wants the Presidency so much that he will spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.” Circumstantially, the germaneness of this evergreen quote is self-explanatory.
Let me make it clear from the outset: there is no question of incumbency edge/factor in the forthcoming presidential contest between Candidates Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar. Why do I declare so? President Buhari, going by his widely-acclaimed sterling pedigree, is not the kind of person who will leverage on the opportunism of his current position, if any. I doubt if there would be any dissenting view on this.
It is apposite also to generally acknowledge the chances of other participants in this race. Everyone stands a chance, but prospects outstandingly differ. In the present circumstance, it is obvious that the competition is mainly between my subjects today. Mechanistic pretentions and futuristic positioning are allowed in political architecture. It will not be uncharitable to assert that the other contestants are essentially enhancing their profiles for anticipatory utility— not for the immediacy of 2019 presidency.
Atiku’s controversial antecedents almost make him unelectable, let alone beating Candidate Buhari in the next presidential election. There is this public perception or misperception that Atiku is suspiciously too desperate for this job. Truly, nobody has come out to categorically elucidate on the alleged conspectus of “sins” of this man, but there is an exponentially permissive belief that he is not the right person for the exalted position on grounds of all manner of suspicions. This does not in any way vitiate the endorsement of his candidacy by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its presidential standard-bearer (not flag-bearer as commonly used) next year.
Without necessarily questioning the choice of the PDP, it would have been better for the party if it had left Atiku and settled for a non-controversial aspirant without any impairment — imaginary or real — who would have given President Buhari a good run for his illuminative encore. As it stands now, the All Progressives Congress (APC) would be very happy with the obvious non-competition. In English Premiership League terminology, it is like pairing Manchester City FC with Cardiff City FC: the lopsidedness is immeasurably unimaginable! (Only football enthusiasts will appreciate this analogy. For non-buffs, MCFC is number one of 20 clubs in England while CCFC interminably fluctuates between the 17th and 20th positions on the premiership log). In summation, it is simply a mismatch for factors to be adduced presently. I have the conviction that the APC would be rejoicing over an anticipatory walk-over for copious reasons.
The question of Atiku having access or not to the United States, for whatever reason, is a non-issue to me. His going to America cannot be one of the evaluative barometres for good leadership in our country. To that extent, the conflicting reports concerning this serial distraction are not germane to Atiku’s electoral fortunes in 2019. What is most critical to Nigerians is what he is bringing to the system if given the opportunity by a majority of the electorate — which I incontrovertibly doubt, by the way!
I read all sorts of pedestrian things on the social media. As powerful and critical as these information technologies are in modern human existentialism, only the few gullible members of the society that could be deceived by most of the preposterous and duplicitous posts. What happens is that in most cases, a group of charlatans use innumerable accounts with different identities to project whatever jaundiced and usually selfish views they have against oppositional forces. I have always maintained that people should exercise discretion and take most of the social media stuff with a shovel (not pinch) of salt. In any case, it is not these mischievous fellows who futilely try to sway ignorant electors that vote at the end of the day. I insist that those ludicrous posts cannot truncate President Buhari’s inevitable second term in office. Overall, there is so much abuse of social media instrumentalities in this part of the world.
Ahead of 2019, Nigerians should exercise circumspection in informational consumption as there would be an avalanche of fake news in the public space. Even the traditional media have already been invaded by despicable agents of those who want to get into governance at all costs, including recent dollarization of delegates and the electorate — when the time comes. If the essence is to serve, there won’t be so much fatalistic desperation and obscene monetization of the electoral process. Let it be underscored that whoever does this will, if successful, clinically recoup his “investments” seven-fold to our collective detriment of course.
Democracy is not about selective endorsements: it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. This descent of gallivanting from one ex-General to another for endorsement by Atiku cannot guarantee him success in next year’s presidential poll. Sectional leaders cannot be used to coerce or sway voters in their purported spheres of influence in favour of a candidate who knows within himself that he is not eminently situated to win even in his state, let alone pan-Nigeria! This country is bigger than states where anointed politicians without any credibility or profound pedigree are irresponsibly foisted on governance. Ultimately, it is voters that will determine who becomes the next president—not serving or ex-soldiers! Other democracies do not indulge in this kind of juvenility.
It is laughable for Atiku to enthuse that the APC is jittery over his candidacy! If anything, as I mentioned earlier, the APC is most delighted with his emergence because it has made the contest simplistic in all ramifications. The ruling party would have lost its sleep if a more credible and competitive candidate was the oppositional standard-bearer. Certainly not the Atiku that we know! By the way, when did running a successful enterprise become a criterion for presidential contest as thoughtlessly posited by Atiku last week? What will define the 2019 presidential election is INTEGRITY. All other critical issues will be tangential to this character charter. It is on this score basically that I subscribe to President Buhari’s victory over Atiku. Moral rectitude preeminently is everything ahead of the upcoming election—not restructuring, infrastructural renewal, anti-corruption crusade and other national challenges that would normally be continually addressed by the President we can trust now and even more on the revalidation of his mandate for consolidation.
Indeed, the only possible element that could alter the narrative is for the other parties to merge and throw up the most qualified candidate who could have the credentials to change the music. It is absurd for the PDP to infer that the APC has failed Nigerians! All the 16 years that the PDP was in power what did its members achieve? Propagandistic campaigns no longer win votes as electors are now wiser. Electioneering should be about issues—not rehashing of moonlight tales. My dear voting public, do not be deceived by any yarn that President Buhari did not achieve anything in the past three years-plus, including the erroneous impression that there have been more job losses than gains. What was the volume of our foreign reserve under the 16 years of the PDP and in the past three years? Have his detractors and other political jobbers evaluated the constructive containment of the Boko Haram insurgency, pockets of occasional vanishing attacks notwithstanding?
On the provision of social infrastructure, I will suffice with the developments in Atiku’s state of Adamawa where President Buhari has restored peace and made habitation conducive after years of terrorism. The entire trunk A roads in the state are undergoing reconstruction or contracts already awarded: Yola to Gombe; Numan to Taraba; Yola to Mubi; Mararaba to Bama, among others. From 33KVA that Adamawa had been previously to 330KVA currently, thanks to President Buhari. Schools and police stations destroyed by insurgents have been rehabilitated. Other states have equally been impacted by the Buhari presidency in varying measures.
I expect anyone picking holes in this government to do so dispassionately and comparatively vis-à-vis PDP’s 16 years of abject leadership and APC’s revolutionary three years-plus. This is not the time for electioneering subjectivity because the presidential poll is not a ward election, please. Anyone thinking that three years would have been enough to correct 16 years of systemic national ruination by the PDP must be an unrealistic fellow. It is easy to make gargantuan electoral promises that will never be fulfilled by a rival presidential candidate who, in any case, assuredly knows he cannot win! Undoubtedly, there are still a few grey areas that President Buhari will address in the months and years ahead—we are not yet in paradise, but we shall get there. It is better to deal with a man you have always trusted. This is not the time for experimentation with a “guy man” whose antecedents are hazy and stymied in exponential suspicions!
As I round off this intervention, I sympathize with all those who affirm that these two candidates do not inspire them. Perhaps, they need the Pope! Both men are eminently qualified, please.