By NBF News

'Atiku as consensus candidate of the North. Jonathan is going into the battle of his life. If he wins, he'll demystify the North PERMANENTLY. If he loses, he'll be crippled PERMANENTLY, politically' — A text message.

The famous Chinese curse is very apt in a moment like this; it simply says 'May you live in interesting times'! And who can deny that these are very interesting times in Nigeria? We are on the verge of one of the most titanic political battles in our history. I have chosen today's title from a re-working of the text I received on Monday night, after the Northern political establishment announced Atiku Abubakar, as their consensus candidate. Stripped of subterfuge, it means that the Northern wing of the PDP has chosen Atiku to do battle with Jonathan Goodluck, for candidacy of the PDP in 2011. It is zoning versus its undertakers; and a lot more besides!

My initial impression was that Atiku was chosen, because the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) deliberately decided that their interest is best served by going for a consummate politician who is also a dogged fighter. And against the backdrop of the approaching battle, Atiku Abubakar fits the bill. The fight for the PDP ticket will be as bloody as any political contestation for hegemonic control, can ever be. In choosing Atiku, the NPLF, went for broke, because not only will they be confronting Jonathan Goodluck, they are in the theatre of war, against a long list of political foes, headed by the old despot, Obasanjo, who tore into shreds the PDP policy of zoning and effectively declared a war on the North, and all it stands for. The Jonathan group has played a stealthy game of manipulating the ethno-religious fault lines as a central element of their campaign strategy and in the weeks ahead that will come into even bolder relief, as the battle heats up.

Jonathan's team deceived themselves when Ima Niboro said they were 'excited by Atiku's selection, because this decision has made the coast even clearer for President Jonathan'. That is an over-effusive outburst of a spokesman, without a grasp of the rough and tumble of politics. In Atiku, they will face a most formidable fighter, as he showed in the many battles against Jonathan's mentor, Olusegun Obasanjo. Jonathan will soon discover that most of those collecting money are only cutting a piece of the lucrative cake but are not really in support of Goodluck. For the first time in his political life, the president chose to battle against the backdrop of bitterness trailing his flouting of PDP's zoning policy. It is instructive that Jonathan has reportedly exhumed a political corpse, Tony Anenih, to help breathe life into a flagging campaign. But nobody should under-rate the power of incumbency too, because Jonathan has unlimited access to our funds and controls the security forces!

Similarly, Atiku Abubakar now has to prove his metier as a fighter with staying power. He has become the fulcrum of the Northern ambition to win power in 2011; that other aspirants gracefully endorsed him became a major victory for the consensus-building tradition of the North. In the weeks ahead, he must keep everybody in line, and still believing his candidacy can rally the North and do Nigeria good. Atiku nevertheless carries much baggage. He won a lot of sympathy in his battles against Obasanjo, but lost goodwill, after the infamous 'dance of witches' secret meeting at Obasanjo's house. Many people will still ask whether he can be trusted. So we have a classic battle on our hands: a political light weight president, Jonathan Goodluck, who entered the fray against the conventions of his party. He must win willy-nilly or become politically crippled forever. On the other hand, Atiku must win to reinforce the myth of Northern political adroitness; otherwise, the North becomes demystified forever! It will be a classic battle!

Steven Orosanye and Amos Adamu:  Good riddance!
The week before the end of his controversial tenure as (unmerited) Head of Service, Steve Orosanye suddenly became a 'must read' on the pages of Nigerian newspapers. It was an elaborate spin that did not achieve its purpose, fortunately for Nigeria. Steve Orosanye reportedly wrote asking an extension of his stay in office, beyond the mandatory period, in order to see through the destructive 'reforms' he inflicted upon Nigeria's bureaucracy.  Orosanye took billions of naira from government to pursue a hare-brained scheme of 'reforms' that worsened the civil service and left in its wake thousands of ill-motivated workers in service. Orosanye was one of the crimes that the despot Obasanjo committed against Nigeria, because it was under his regime that the man was made a permanent secretary, before the late Umaru Yar'adua committed the faux pas of appointing him Head of Service. It was against the best interest of Nigeria. Thankfully, he didn't get the extension he sought and is gone. Good Riddance! In the same manner, that Amos Babatunde Aremu Adamu ended his strangulating bear hug of our sports, in absolute disgrace! The three year ban was not enough, but it ends his huffing and puffing, effectively. He will not get the presidency of CAF that he has been priming for (he organized a honorary doctorate degree at the university in his home town, Ogbomosho, for CAF's Issa Hayatou, as part of his long-term plan to head CAF). He will lose the FIFA position which pays him $150,000 per year to Danny Jordan of South Africa and a new man will become head of WAFU. Some clowns have been lamenting Nigeria's loss, with Adamu's exposure and disgrace; but Adamu was NEVER representing Nigeria but HIMSELF! And if you think there is no retribution in these matters, isn't it interesting, that Ibrahim Galadima has now been nominated as Nigeria's candidate to take Amos Adamu's place at CAF? Ibrahim Galadima was the NFA chairman that Adamu organized a 'coup' against a few years back. Galadima's crime was always that he was not part of the ULTRA CORRUPT cabal that Amos Adamu used to control our football and so could not be trusted: they got rich as our football fortunes worsened! I hope Ibrahim Galadima gets elected to show that for once, a good man can get to the right places. We now have the opportunity to reclaim our football from the bandits of the Amos Adamu School of corruption. Amos Adamu is a goner; long gone! Good riddance!!

What was Tony B-Liar doing in Nigeria?
The characters ruling Nigeria have no sense of history or a modicum of honour; otherwise, the last person they'd be inviting to our country is the war criminal, Tony B-LIAR, erstwhile Prime Minister of Britain and notorious liar and poodle of another war criminal, George Bush! A patriotic leadership would have arrested the war criminal and handed him over to the International Criminal Court to face justice. He has the blood of thousands of Iraqi people and the flesh of Iraqi children hanging on his teeth. We are a people of dignity and we appeal to Goodluck Jonathan to stop receiving criminals in our Presidential Villa.