Atiku: A tale of a unifier and self-saboteurs

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Atiku Abubakar

The numbers are clear. My preferred candidate, Atiku Abubakar, won’t be coming anymore, at least not through the polls. But I do not regret resolutely supporting him. While I do not consider him a messiah, I strongly believe he would have performed excellently mainly because of his sense of ideological direction and his manifest preparedness, infrangible resolve and unmatched readiness.

He had plans that were clear, concise and detailed. And those plans constituted solutions to the myriad of challenges we are facing including those threatening the very existence of this country as a unified nation. He has not only been consistent, every failure was considered by him as another opportunity to prepare further, update his plans to cater for our most contemporary needs and come back to reassert his resolve to restore Nigeria’s glory.

He could have joined the bandwagon to play the ethnic and religious sentiment game but he never considered it an option. He continued to maintain and reiterate his status as a Nigerian for all Nigerians.

Almost all the politicians that fought him in the guise of advocacy for equity and justice only dealt a heavy blow on not only the ‘equity and justice’ narrative they were supposedly advancing, but the sinister ethnic jingoistic tendencies they veiled under it as well.

Peter Obi, for example, whose candidacy became the final recipe needed to ignite a full blown identity politics campaign in the country, knew he could only go as far as securing the states in the South-south, South-east, one or two states in South-west and North-central and some fraction of votes from Christian-dominated constituencies of the core North. The numbers were clear even before the elections, he was going to lose the elections.

Wike, who frustrated the single most viable attempt at a successful south eastern presidential ticket(which would have assured a predominantly southern presidential race) when Atiku agreed to support the micro-zoning of the PDP presidential ticket to the SE and his cohorts (the disingenuous G-5 Governors) who seem to have exerted same effect on the polity as Peter Obi while staying back in the PDP and disguising themselves as freedom fighters also cost the SE and SS tremendously. Wike ended up working for Asiwaju of the APC and all other members of the G-5 failed.

The irony is, both Peter Obi and Wike (with his cohort) practically enabled Tinubu’s victory. And in doing so, they only succeeded in contributing to the potential alienation of the South-south and South-east from Nigeria’s political scheme of affairs, while rendering the zones incapacitated in the quest to secure the nation’s presidency for the next 16 years.

Except for a massive disruption of the status quo which I don’t envisage at a national scale any time soon, a Tinubu presidency which would likely run for eight years promises a rotation back to the North as per APC’s internal political dynamics. The Northern presidency would then run for another eight years, making it 16 years of presidential exclusivity to the North and South-west.

Do not deceive yourself, the religious and ethnic colourations of the factors that influenced Peter Obi’s relative prominence and gave him a comparative advantage in this election would be same that would mar his chances in future elections. Hardly would he ever get the chance to command protest votes like he did this time around because of APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket. He is basically done! Who else would then fly the South-south or South-east flag? And on which platform?

Kwankwaso, whose ticket would mostly continue to feature a SS or SE VP in subsequent elections, also greatly enabled Tinubu’s victory. His very obvious egoistic and narcissistic dispositions pushed him to break away from the PDP and contest the presidency even while knowing that he could only deliver Kano’s votes, albeit massively. But like Peter Obi, he can never secure the presidency with votes from Kano only. He also would now be looked upon by the people of the North as a person who cost them the presidency by undermining the chances of Atiku Abubakar. But that’s by the way.

The political configuration has been stunted by these people for the foreseeable future, and so has the democratic formation and national cohesion of the country — wounded!

Atiku was on the verge of recalibrating this configuration for the better by offering a chance for the SE and SS sections of the country to have the chance of producing a president within the next 8 years. He represented the images of both a unifier and potential transformational leader driven by the instincts of an unrepentant reformist. Now that chance seems to have been lost, courtesy of the sons of the SE and SS.

Not that I care, but what next then, especially for SE and SS agitations? Will it continue to be tagged as a consequence of Northern political machinations? If I hear!

Ringim writes from Zaria, Kaduna state via [email protected]

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