ATIKU: RUNNING FROM PILLAR TO POST
When Olusegun Obasanjo wrote the 18-page epistle to President Goodluck Jonathan, many politicians who stood to score some points from the crack in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership- which is what it symbolized-urged Nigerians to take the message and not bother about the messenger.
Nigerians rejected this call because it was self-contradictory; no good message can come from a discredited messenger.
Like Obasanjo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is disgruntled with the PDP and is similarly making efforts to portray it in the worst possible light.
Atiku, who recently left the party to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) made three weighty allegations against it.
He alleged that he was unfairly treated by the party, that the PDP has departed from the path laid by its founding fathers and that the party has become irredeemable.
The issues raised by Atiku would have elicited more critical appraisals-especially his final comment that the party has become irredeemable- but for his antecedents.
The man who has become the political version of a rolling stone, has, since the defection bug bit him in 2007, lost whatever is left of his reputation.
For a man who is on the downward slide, Atiku is offering all sorts of excuses for his despicable acts of political prostitution, and would want to pull the PDP down in the process.
It is understandable since he is already campaigning to pick the APC presidential ticket as the consensus (again?) candidate of the North, ahead of the like of Muhammadu Buhari, Nuhu Ribadu and others who have toiled for the party over the years.
If the allegations he leveled against the PDP can be considered at all, Atiku's integrity as a politician and the questions surrounding his democratic credentials must necessarily be interrogated.
Atiku's allegations against the PDP fly in the face of reason.
He is simply being ungrateful to the party on which platform he was elected Vice President in 1999, and took a shot at the presidency in 2011.
His decision to dump the PDP was not the first time, but this latest move makes nonsense of his integrity as a political leader.
He will never say so, but every discerning political analyst knows that his actions are driven by his desperation to occupy the highest office in the land.
It was this ambition that drove him to jump ship from the PDP to the Action Congress (AC) on which platform he contested the presidency in 2007.
Following his loss to Umaru Yar'adua of the PDP, he had headed to court to challenge the elections.
Having lost in the courts, it was a question of time before he would pack his bag in search of another greener pasture.
He did not have any qualms scampering back, first to Obasanjo whom he had so bitterly disparaged, then into the PDP which he had for 3 years attacked so virulently.
The PDP leadership may now be full of regrets for forgiving Atiku for that rebellion and readmitting him to the PDP.
Once granted a waiver for him to gain eligibility to seek any election on the party platform in 2011, he unleashed on it, a vicious and very divisive campaign to have his inordinate presidential ambition satisfied on the basis of a regional consensus agitation.
Atiku Abubakar loves to give the impression that he is committed to democratic ideals.
His 2011 campaign organisation even ran adverts saying his legal struggles against President Obasanjo and against the election of Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, have helped to deepen democracy.
Far from it! Behind that façade of struggles to enthrone democracy lies a belligerent politician obsessed with his personal ambition.
Obstinate as ever, Atiku has failed to see the paradox in the action of jumping in and out of political parties as his desperate ambition dictates from time to time.
When he claims he was unfairly treated by the PDP, he forgot that the same party he abandoned, granted him a waiver that allowed him go head to head with incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan at the party's primaries in 2011.
And if we may ask, why did he abandon the AC in 2010 after he had used it as platform for the 2007 presidential elections? Besides, is his new party, the APC, not peopled by the same AC politicians he had abandoned midway in 2010? If morality or principle does not make sense to Atiku, the huge baggage of negative perception associated with him has become a source of worry.
For the most part of his tenure as Vice President from 1999 and 2007 and after, his attitude and financial dealings have seriously come into question and his name continues to be mentioned in many high profile graft cases within the country and abroad.
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) scandal which blew open early in 2007, as well as his reported indictment by the US Congress and the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) over allegation of fraud and money laundering, are just but a few.
He may have mastered the art of wriggling out of legal nooses each time they dangle above him, but in the perception of many Nigerians, he carries a heavy tag with corruption boldly written on it.
In the heat of the 2011 campaigns, the National Coalition for Greater Nigeria (NCGN), Coalition for Political Awareness and Change (CPAC) and the National Vanguard for Democracy and Development (NVDD) had declared him unfit to represent the PDP, let alone rule the country.
It is obvious now, as it was then, that no decent party will pander to the whims of the Turakin Adamawa.
Therefore, it was not the party that lost its bearing; it was one of its supposed leaders that was blinded by ambition.
What really is Atiku taking into the APC? The famed Turakin political structure, once touted as his strength, has virtually collapsed.
The years of prevarication and unprincipled rebellion have evidently taken their toll and Atiku has lost hold of most of his support base including his home state, Adamawa.
All what remains now is a political voyager desperate to rule, even if he has to compromise on principles.
Why would Atiku believe he can drink clean water from a well into which he has been urinating? It is clear that Atiku has become so desperate for the office of president, and in pursuing that ambition, nothing appears to be sacrosanct anymore.
His attempt to discredit the PDP is a hard sell considering that he lacks the moral ground for that.
Rather than the PDP, it is actually the Turakin Adamawa that has become irredeemable.
It is sad.
Written By Matthew Adejoh