Perhaps it is not of order to begin this piece by pointing out clearly that this writer has nothing personal against the personality of the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar or the former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Indeed we believe strongly in their administrative capacity and patriotism. That was why we had openly preferred Atiku to the waffling and bumbling incumbent President when the two clashed electorally for Aso Rock presidential residency way back in 2015 and 2019.
Asiwaju Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku remain two good presidential materials despite baggages of corruption trailing their political career. And the issue of old age for which nature must not be blamed is another ‘negativism’. Having endured the many London medical tourism of President Buhari it is inconceivable welcoming another occupant of Aso Rock whose soundness of body and mind is subject to controversy.
Both the Adamawa-born billionaire and the Lagos ‘landlord’ may be irredeemably corrupt (given their antecedents) much like their peers in the political business Nigeriana but their efficiency and strong character cannot be disputed. They are senior citizens, rich and influential, in a poor nation where opulence lives side by side with misery.
Having said the foregoing we must now proceed to the upcoming presidential poll of early next year and how their candidature is not welcome and therefore cannot enjoy our support. Given the extreme circumstances confronting Nigeria from all indications Atiku and Tinubu’s age is a big minus to their ambition.
While Alhaji Atiku is healthy enough, articulate and sound upstairs the same cannot be said of a frail-looking Tinubu whose health profile cannot be vouched for. Rumours are still flying about in the social media concerning his medical forays abroad lately. Recently he was alleged to be suffering from urinary continence leading to him releasing some urine on himself!
Atiku and Tinubu’s generation had failed Nigeria and Nigerians. It is, therefore, high time we sought out a young vibrant Nigerian among us to lead the urgent task of re-positioning Nigeria for greatness. Gerontocracy must be discarded for a positive radical change to occur come 2023.
As permutations mount leading to the general elections next year both Atiku and Tinubu are headlining local news because they are seen generally as the frontliners. The race for the successor of Muhammadu Buhari as President will be rough, tough and tight.
Recently, the big man from Adamawa State (accused wrongly by opponents of being a Camerounian citizen!) had declared controversially that the Nigerian constitution did not recognise zoning the presidency to any region. Of course from constitutional point of view, viewed objectively, Atiku was right but he was being selfish in his declaration. He was logically disingenuous in his egocentric rationalisation.
Zoning may not be constitutional but in the political parties (including Atiku’s PDP) it is generally recognised and practised as a sure way of ensuring justice and equity in a heterogeneous society like ours. Atiku’s desperation to be President must have informed his anti-zoning stance.
Asiwaju Tinubu equally waxed strongly as ethnic champion when he told a Yoruba traditional ruler recently in his royal Palace that some non-Yoruba elements were mounting obstacles to his path to realising his life-long ambition of becoming President come 2023. Tinubu like Atiku is desperate for Aso Villa and we cannot but pity their desperation.
Now that the clamour is getting deafening for the Igbo presidency Atiku and Tinubu are singing discordant tunes, the former the anti-constitutionality of zoning and the latter tribalism.
Nigeria is presently at crossroads. Nothing less than a ‘revolution’ of the mind guaranteed by a radical youthful mind at the helm of affairs would be able to knock sense back into the senseless situation.
Retired Generals (IBB, OBJ, PMB) had all tried and failed to deliver any change. Now a great opportunity presents itself next year for us the change our national narrative.
We are of the opinion that a man from the South-east should succeed Buhari in power next year May. Our position is predicated on the need for national unity, justice and equity. Perhaps with an Igboman in Aso Rock Nigeria would be delivered from her many afflictions.
If Atiku Abubakar and Asiwaju Tinubu want a better Nigeria post-Buharism as they claim then patriotism and responsibility dictate that they throw their heavy weight behind an Igbo consensus candidate for the presidency. If the late Alex Ekwueme, Sylvester Ugoh, Peter Obi and potential others could do it for candidates from other zones by accepting to be their deputies why not return the favour.
As ex-President Obasanjo had rightly said recently the old men of his generation should beat a deserved retirement for the young brilliant generation to pilot our national affairs. Beyond that, the Tinubus and Atikus of the world desperate to preside over our national affairs have a lot of skeletons in their cupboard.
They may not be rapists, murderers or traitors but they are rightly accused of staggering graft in different epochs. The Bourdillon ‘kingmaker’ is associated with bullion van and Alpha Beta scandals in Lagos. And Atiku was once labelled a fetish patroniser and unsuitable for the highest office in the land by none other than his former boss, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Now, since both of them (Tinubu and Atiku) are eminently presumed to be graft-friendly whatever capacities they flaunt or possess as the frontrunners are dwarfed by their history of corruption. Therefore, they should step aside honourably!