Atiku Abubakar’s choice of Mr. Peter Obi as his presidential running mate is a laudable decision. It is a political masterstroke that can bolster his chances of winning the 2019 presidential election.
Chiedu Uche Okoye
It’s sad that political ideologues of the first republic, who evinced and manifested the traits of philosopher-kings, couldn’t entrench national unity in Nigeria as they placed primordial and ethnic interests and their personal aspirations above our collective good. So, they caused the failure of the first republic soon after Nigeria had become a politically independent country. As a consequence, Nigeria slipped into a fratricidal civil war, which nearly caused her dismemberment.
The Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which raged for three years, heralded the entrance of the Jackboots and brass hats into our politics. And they would tell us that their military regimes were corrective governments. But, the sad fact as well as the harsh reality is this: they caused the depredation and ruination of our economy, hindered the evolutionary growth of democratic governance in Nigeria, and violated our inalienable fundamental human rights.
Happily, now, Nigeria has been enjoying uninterrupted civilian administration since 1999. And PDP had chalked up sixteen years of the nineteen years of our current political dispensation, although it did not achieve much given our oil-wealth. So when the APC tsunami swept the incompetent PDP out of power with its slogan of change, Nigerians from diverse ethnic backgrounds heaved a sigh of relief, and expected that things would change for the better in the country.
Expectedly, Muhammadu Buhari’s accession to the zenith of political power in Nigeria was greeted and received with jubilation and optimism as we believed him to possess probity, ascetic nature, leadership qualities, zeal for political leadership, and zero tolerance for corruption. However, his occupation of the most exalted political office in the land has led to his demystification. More than three years into his first term in office, he has failed to transform Nigeria economically and technologically, fix our infrastructural rot, combat insurgency in the northeast, and tackle the vexed issue of youth unemployment. His political administration is marred and marked by ethnic bigotry, nepotistic employment of people into our top security architecture, tardiness, and nauseating cluelessness.
So, now, millions of angry and hungry Nigerians, who are unemployed, are disenchanted with his political administration. And many Nigerians living below the breadline are seething. Yet, President Buhari has put himself forward for the 2019 presidential election. But many odds are heavily stacked against his candidature. His actions have portrayed him as an ethnic chauvinist and religious bigot. And his poor performance in office, so far, is obvious. So, his media team’s white-washing of his inept leadership of Nigeria has failed to wash. Nigerians are not suckers; and the APC’s bumbling leadership of Nigeria is not lost on them.
That’s why Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s emergence as the PDP Presidential candidate has instilled fear into members of the ruling APC. Atiku has been on the political scene for a long while. And he has been angling to become the President of Nigeria for over two decades. A core member of PDM, which transformed to PDP, he has a large following in Nigeria. More so, he has immense financial wherewithal and political sagacity, which he can deploy to prosecute the electoral battle.
So, APC members’ fears of suffering defeat in the 2019 presidential election are not unfounded. And more importantly, Atiku Abubakar has articulated and formulated policies he will execute for the betterment of Nigeria if he wins the Presidential race. He has been religiously advocating the restructuring of Nigeria as a panacea for our national ills. His views and postulations on the restructuring of Nigeria are pragmatic, clear-cut, and germane to the development and survival of our country. That is a proof of his high level of preparedness for the occupation of the presidential seat.
But, the Buharists or ardent supporters of Buhari have gone for broke and berserk; so, they’ve tarred Atiku Abubakar with the brush of corruption. Has anybody caught him with his fingers in our financial till? And he hasn’t been arraigned and found guilty of financial misdemeanors in courts in Nigeria.
If anything, Atiku Abubakar has got leadership experience, which he can deploy in solving our hydra-headed and multifaceted problems if he becomes our President in 2019. He was the Vice President of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007. Before then, he worked in customs and rose to the top. There is no gainsaying the fact that he is familiar with Nigeria’s peculiar national challenges.
And Atiku Abubakar’s choice of Mr. Peter Obi as his presidential running mate is a laudable and politically judicious decision. It is a political masterstroke that can bolster his chances of winning the 2019 presidential election. An astute manager of men and resources, Obi revamped the comatose educational system in Anambra State. And he embarked on the rapid industrialization of the state. Mr. Obi is an asset to Atiku Abubakar’s political candidature.
Mr. Peter Obi can use his clout and connection in the South East to secure massive votes for the PDP in the presidential battle. And Atiku’s choosing of Mr. Peter Obi as his presidential running mate will allay the fears of many Igbo people, who think that the Igbo people have been reduced to second-class citizens in Nigeria. Integrating the Igbo into Nigeria’s political mainstream can put to an end the endless and violent agitation for the creation of the state of Biafra by the Igbo youths.
Atiku Abubakar stands a chance of besting President Buhari in the presidential contest owing to the fact that millions of Nigerians are disenchanted with his leadership of Nigeria. And Alhaji Atiku Abubakar can become our political Messiah if he shows the political will to do things right and conscientiously when he wins the electoral battle.
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Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State