NOW THAT ALHAJI ABUBAKHAR ATIKU WOULD BE PRESIDENT
BY UBAKA OKOFU
To some persons, concluding that Alhaji Abubakar Atiku is President only waiting to be sworn in, even before winning the 2023 general election would amount to counting ones’ eggs before they are hatched. No doubt, Atiku’s candidacy has thrown the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC into frenzy if not a precarious state. Indeed, PDP’s choice of Atiku has raised the bar higher than the APC had expected. It’s now a matter of urgency that the incumbent All Progressives Congress, APC must find and present a candidate who has almost or the same political sagacity as Atiku, a political veteran of over 30yrs election experiences.
Imperatively, those who possess the political shrewdness which Abubakar Atiku is known and reputed for are either death or retired from active politics. Perhaps, this is the political hubris that has trailed the postponement of the APC primaries to select a flag bearer. Unarguably, Atiku is a deep pocket politician who understood all the nuances of Nigeria politics. He has unprecedented followers stretching the length and breadth of this country. He was once described as a liberal Nigerian. Most of Atiku’s friends and business associates are Christians from the western and southern parts of the country. His wide followership, perhaps was what had put him in the lead and comfortably ahead of the Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike and a few other candidates that made very little impacts at the just concluded primaries of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
Wike’s defeat is quite telling considering the fact that he is a foremost advocate of the next President coming from the Southern part of Nigeria. But, we must at the same time congratulate Wike for his boldness even though most of the Governors from the same South south region see Wike’s Presidential bid as foolish and wasteful. Wike, they believe ought to know that the PDP is desperate to win back power from the ruling APC, and the only means of achieving this is to field a northern candidate the likes of Abubakhar Atiku who has a loaded financial chest. And that in the eyes of the hegemonistic north, the desire to have a Southern President would always end up as a pipe dream.
At the same time, we cannot deny the fact that Atiku has been on collision course with Governor Wike since 2019 when the latter endorsed and stood firmly behind Aminu Tambuwal against Atiku. It’s expedient to state that Wike’s support for Tambuwal in 2019 was genuine even though it ended only as a mere scratch and never lethal to Atiku’s chances of emerging as the flag bearer of the PDP in that election.
Ironically, Tambuwal’s decision to step down for Atiku 4yrs after, knowing that his friend, Nyesom Wike was in the race changed the game for both aspirants. While Wike and a few others who are sympathetic to Wike’s Presidential ambition see Tambuwal’s action as betrayal, I want to believe that Tambuwal did what he did for the North, particularly for the hegemonistic Fulani agenda.
It should be noted that the likes of Atiku would anything to remain relevant politically, and perhaps, he had gone into the recent primaries not only to pay back Wike exactly in his coin but to reaffirm his popularity both in the North as well as in the Southern part of the country.
In fairness, it’s believed that someone from the South should succeed President Muhammadu Buhari who is due to leave office on May 29, 2023. Buhari is on a recorded second term in office and for another Northern to succeed him would pose as a danger to our fragile unity. Also, it would mean grave injustice to the Southern part of the country which turn it is to produce the next President. How Atiku and his PDP would explain away this injustice by the northern politicians against the entire southern region remains to be seen.
Rotational President is equitable and healthy for our nascent democracy. If nothing, it will erase the fear of the minorities, particularly the fear of being marginalized. Let me quickly state here that zoning the Presidency to one region of the country after which it rotates to another region is good politics. It would amount to injustice to allow one region remain in power for too long and under whatever guise.
It would be unfortunate if those from the West, South east and South-south that are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC are brawl beaten into picking a Presidential flag bearer who is from the north. Should a northern flag bearer emerge in APC under the guise that only a candidacy from the north can defeat an Atiku, it would be that the people of South west, South east and South south allow it and would have lost the modicum of honour to cry hue over Islamazition and fulanization of the rest of the country by the northerners. Needless to say those southerners in the PDP had already ceded to a Northern President!
Atiku, as being rumoured is looking in the direction of the South east for a running mate. Not only for him, this would be considered as the first step in the right direction for the PDP to regain power after losing it to the APC 7yrs ago. The South east region has long been denied the Presidency of this country, may be Atiku’s decision to run with someone from that region might guarantee a return of calmness to the region, It’s sad that the south east region has been embroiled in self inflicted carnages. Perhaps, the Atiku Presidency might avail the region the first Igbo President in post 1999 democracy. Atiku is a gentleman, and might just be the precursor of an Igbo President in 2031.
Atiku’s choice of Emeka Ihedioha even though his media team had repeatedly denied it has not raised wild dust more than it should if Peter Obi were still in the PDP. Peter Obi would have been a better choice considering his robust and quintessential popularity among the elites and youths that form a large percentage of voters. The story is however different now. Obi has resigned from the PDP on observing he might not be able to survive the ‘cash and carry’ delegate primary election.
The entire nation is anxious to know who the APC would feed to lock horns with Abubakhar Atiku of the PDP in the forthcoming Presidential election. Like I had earlier noted, the task of picking a flag bearer has become more complex for the APC after Atiku’s victory was announced by the PDP. What APC does with its’ primaries to a large extent would determine its fate in the forthcoming Presidential election.