Atiku and 2015 Presidency: Hogwash, indeeed….
By Hamisu Abubakar
A rather unseen notation by one Churchill Umoren who is said to be an assistant to one of President Goodluck Jonathan's “Otinpkus,” (Igbo word for praise singers) Dr. Doyin Okupe, was so unimportant to Nigerians that they ignored it.
Many do not even know Churchill Umoren beyond the fact that he can be quite uncouth on Face book, without having the capacity to take flaks from others, until the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is notorious for jumping all over the place (or parties) took him on.
Specifically, it was Atiku's “Otinkpu-in-chief,” Garba Shehu, through the Atiku Media Office, that took on Umoren and proceeded to make a mince meat of him, in an half page newspaper advertorial in a few newspapers.
Why would Atiku and his media foot soldiers take on someone like Umoren for such a widely unread matter? It can only mean that they were particularly miffed about the total falsehood, or there was more to that revelation than meets the eye.
But, first, the reaction titled, “Hogwash,” as published: “It has come to our notice that someone who goes by the name Churchill Umoren, an aide to Dr Doyin Okupe, senior special assistant on public affairs posted a material on the social media purporting that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has sealed a deal with leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola, ceding the presidential ticket of APC to the former Vice President. This is not true and nothing can be further from the truth. That libellous and malicious report has since found its way on one of the online newspapers linked to Mr Umoren. And following media enquiries, we are compelled to state as follows:
1.That the publication in question is the handiwork of the Office of Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs acting out the script of his paymaster.
2.That Atiku Abubakar did not sign any deal with Tinubu; asked for no concession from the promoters of the APC and got none in return.
3.That the libellous and malicious publication is meant to cause disaffection among Atiku, Tinubu, Buhari and other leading lights of the APC.
4.That the public is hereby urged to discountenance that libellous and malicious report as it is only a figment of the imagination of hatchet staff linked to the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs.”
Atiku may be right in stating that the publication was meant to cause disaffection among the leading lights of the APC especially Atiku, Tinubu, and Buhari. If it is true that Tinubu has reached an agreement with Atiku to ensure that he got the party ticket over and above Buhari, then it confirms the suspicion every discernible political analyst had that Buhari would get what he bargained for when he collapsed his own party to have a romance with the like of Tinubu.
And if that agreement truly exists, then Tinubu and his ilk should be ready for the wrath of a betrayed General, who has tasted blood, and is of Fulani heritage. Except the treachery sends the overwhelmed General to an early grave, he would definitely not forgive, a trait he has in common with Olusegun Obasanjo and other generals.
The General has openly wept before over getting to the number one position in the country, showing a chink in the wall he has built around himself. It is anyone's guess what he would do if he loses this time to treachery from within. When he lost the presidential election in 2011, fire engulfed the north and effectively destroyed his Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). It is better to shove him aside now than wait for later in the day.
Treachery is not new with politicians, but more so with the APC, which gladly received traitors from the PDP and expects to be a house of honour. There can be no honour in a house built on deceit, with a load of traitors, because it appears everyone wants to capitalise on Buhari's name to gain mileage. It has been widely speculated that chieftains of the APC would never give the ticket to Buhari for fear of what he would do with it, if given and he wins. Other chieftains have said they have the memory of elephants and cannot trust a man who disdains corruption in a house of corrupt men.
Based on this, there have been suggestions that APC chieftains would rather give the ticket to an Atiku than a Buhari; or a Nuhu Ribadu for that matter, since both are known to openly loath corruption, and have not hidden what they can do to corrupt politicians.
Many hint that Buhari may not be as innocent as he makes out because he did the same thing that is being plotted against him. They speak of the internal politics in the CPC shortly before the 2011 election. He was said to have lost in many states in the north because of the way he unilaterally moved against some of his supporters and facilitated the giving out of party tickets to less popular candidates.
This argument is, however, neither here nor there because there is no proof that Buhari did what he was accused of; though it is provable that APC chieftains in the south-west pursued the governorship election in 2011, but allegedly sold out the presidential election to Jonathan.
Going by Ibrahim Shekarau's deconstruction of the APC, it is obvious that deceit is the middle name of the party, but it would be disastrous if this happens to Buhari, though Shekarau was emphatic that the retired general was part of the mess in the party.
He disclosed that Tinubu and Buhari had hijacked the party, alleging that the constitution drafted by an 89-member committee of the legacy parties that make up the APC was fraudulently altered to remove a clause for the interim committee to serve for only six months, preside over congresses and handover.
Also, he added, that both men, acting in concert with Chief Bisi Akande, the party's interim national chairman, worked to remove another clause calling for elections at the unit levels. Shekarau was not done, revealing that the Asiwaju unilaterally awarded membership cards' contract.
At another forum, he wielded the big stick on the APC which he angrily walked out on to join the PDP. His words: “No blackmail, intimidation, no character assassination will change our position. Politics is about responsible association with dignity. We cannot be in a platform where attempts have been made to pocket us. After six months, there is no political structure in place but a caricature of management.
“We challenge them to tell us why, after six months, there are no structures in any of the 36 states. We challenge the leadership of APC to explain why, up till today, the constitution of the party and its manifesto are not in the streets of Nigeria? We challenge them to explain why there is no executive at the ward level. This constitutes political fraud and we cannot be part of the fraud. We suspect, the constitution is not on the streets because some people wanted to pocket the party. We promised Nigerians that the APC will be owned by the people, but they have removed conduct of congresses at the unit level, because they don't want people to own the party.
“We realised that the vision is no longer there, the soul of APC is lost. For six months, the APC had only one elders meeting because of the Anambra governorship election. How do you conduct registration without leadership at any level of the party? This is chaos. We wrote petitions, but the leadership ignored it and we had to take the only available option. People say that evil thrives when people keep quiet. We said we would not keep quiet. Politics is not about seeking elective offices, but service to humanity. We are determined; we are committed to serving the people of Nigeria by joining hands with the PDP.”
With these happenings, it leaves a lot to be pondered over if the South-West chieftains are not up to a game-plan to undo Buhari. If that happens, then that will be an uninterrupted term for Jonathan.
Hamisu Abubakar sent this piece from Abuja via [email protected]