WHAT CAN NIGERIANS EXPECT FROM AN ATIKU ABUBAKAR PRESIDENCY?
Quite frankly, Nigerians must expect the same game, but new tricks. Why? Consider this, just last week in Abuja, the Atiku Group 2011 blasphemously declared Atiku Abubkar as the “Nelson Mandela of the struggle to entrench democracy in Nigeria.” The group made the declaration while endorsing the candidacy of Atiku for the 2011 presidential poll.
This blasphemous declaration was followed by a dubious and dull-witted threat from former dictator General Ibrahim Babaginda (Rtd) to the national secretariat of the PDP threatening to quit the party and fracture its solidarity unless it keeps President Jonathan from obtaining the PDP presidential nomination. This last push by IBB to again bring the zoning debate to the forefront comes after IBB himself conceded to defeat after Atiku was selected to represent Mallam Adamu Ciroma’s treasonous Northern Politicians Leadership Forum (NPLF) in next year's presidential election. What Atiku Group 2011, Ciroma, IBB, and other zoning supporters fail to realize is the extent to which these two ill-fated tasteless endorsements of Atiku further shed light on not only the content of Atiku’s character, but how much their sectional endorsement has become an eye opener in the minds of Nigerians as to what they can expect from an Atiku Abubakar Presidency.
So, one has to ask, what can Nigerians expect from a presidency endorsed and driven by individuals whose judgments are so impaired that they see no issue with putting Atiku on the same pedal stool as world renowned activist, leader, and icon Nelson Mandela. If birds of same feather fly together, and one is a reflection of the company one keeps; isn’t Atiku’s association with a group with bad judgment a reflection of his lack of judgment? Thus, how can Nigerians trust a president imbrued in lack of judgment? Perhaps it is no surprise that Atiku’s lack of judgment has led to his direct involvement in a number of on-going allegations and investigations of corruption.
Not long after the Ciroma candidate’s alleged entanglement in a U.S bribery investigation involving U.S Congressman William Jefferson in 2006, Atiku has again found himself in another U.S bribery investigation, this time, involving his wife Jennifer Atiku as U.S authorities are currently investigating Ms. Atiku on allegations of bribery in which Ms. Atiku is suspected to have received bribes of $2.4 million from Siemens, a German multi-national corporation. Even as Atiku once again proclaims his innocence and sheds crocodile tears of political witch hunt against him, Atiku is not yet nominated and his hands are deep in bribery and corruption charges and allegations against him, which he and his wife have not been cleared. Nigerians must ponder these questions.
What new tricks will he have up his sleeve as “potential” President of Nigeria?
How many allegations of corruption will the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have to sweep under the carpet if he becomes president?
Let’s also consider this, IBB is an advent advocator of the zoning issue, and more troubling, he is one of the forbearers of Mallam Adamu Ciroma’s Northern Politicians Leadership Forum (NPLF), which means he is one of the backbones of the Atiku presidential candidacy. Why should an entire nation of over 150 million entrusts its future in the hands individuals whose very wealth, notoriety, and statue had been created on the back and suffering of Nigerians since the country’s inception? Isn’t it this very same Gen. Babaginda that unapologetically plunged Nigeria into a state of despair and chaos from 1985 to 1993, and once again under Gen. Sani Abacha from 1993 to 1998? If Gen. Babaginda has a stake in the Atiku candidacy, doesn’t that eventually buy him insurmountable influence in an Atiku presidency? God fatherism? Can Nigerians tolerate a resurgence of the military approach to governance? Can Nigerians stomach another era of assignations, silencing of oppositions and government critics, backward and ill-advised economic policies?
So, to truly understand how much IBB’s tasteless endorsements of Atiku further sheds light on the content of Atiku’s character and the legitimacy of his presidential contention, Nigerians must also consider the following.
Atiku Group 2011, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, IBB, and other political backbones of Atiku are out of touch and likely to be agents of Nigeria’s past as they once were, if Atiku is nominated and elected. One only needs to look into their visions for the country to see how out of touch they are. While they claim to represent Nigeria and hold the vision for its accelerated progression, they plot new tricks of how to further enrich themselves and their status quo supporters. They claim to fight for the powerless and vulnerable Nigerians, but enjoy a life of privilege and wealth that could never allow them to come down from their Eiffel Tower of wealth and privilege to see firsthand the daily realities of men and women in Nigeria they falsely claim to fight for. In Atiku, Nigerians must ask themselves, how can a man who at any moment notice is able to escape their daily abject realities in Nigeria to enjoy life in the vast mansions he has in the U.S and other parts of the world relate to them? Therefore, if elected, how can Nigerians expect any less of the old from an Atiku Abubakar Presidency?
Miracle Obeta, Director, Nigerian Progressive Group, writes from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA.