557 views | Ozodinukwe Okenwa | April 20, 2021
The former Vice-President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, is an elder statesman whose service to the fatherland is acknowledged in positive and negative manner. Positively, he could be said to have impacted economically in the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo repositioning Nigeria for great economic recovery. During their presidency Nigeria fared better indeed than now. Abubakar understood the need to diversify the economy making money for the government while selling off some government-owned investments. The privatisation and diversification process yielded good money for the government at that time.
Negatively, however, because a whole lot of tales bothering on corruption, money laundering and systemic looting that happened during Abubakar’s Aso Rock years had tended to cast the Adamawa-born veteran politician as deficient in integrity. While he is not a saint from any stretch of imagination Atiku could boast of qualities many a politician dare not brag about: hardwork, efficiency and dedication to duty.
Negatively, too, because his former boss, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, had dismissed him as a glorified ‘crook’ whom he was not ready to recommend for the highest office in the land for obvious reasons of fiscal malfeasance. Though the two had since reconciled their differences OBJ’s bombshell still resonated. Obasanjo, himself far from being a paragon of virtue in and out of office, is known to be a lousy vindictive man who gloats over his ‘achievements’ while taking down others.
So his Atiku bashing could be taken with a pinch of salt given his known self-righteous postulations. If Atiku stole under OBJ as President then both of them are guilty! You cannot be the boss and fail to punish corruption only to inform us belatedly that your subordinate had corruptibly enriched himself. That is irresponsibility taken too far.
Not a few Nigerians believed that if Atiku stole one million Dollars while discharging his duties as Vice-President then Obasanjo himself as President must have stolen a billion Dollars! Now, under Buharism millions (if not billions) of Dollars are still being stolen while poor Nigerians are daily regaled with the war on graft! And how it is yielding dividends. But how does that transform lives and pull millions out of poverty?
Atiku Abubakar was born on 25 November 1946 in Jada, a village which was then under the administration of the British Camerouns – the territory later joined with the Federation of Nigeria in the 1961 British Camerouns referendum. His father, Garba Abubakar was a Fulani trader and farmer, and his mother was Aisha Kande. So it could be argued that when he was born Jada town was under the colonial Cameroun administered by the British.
Abubakar has four wives and twenty eight children! As the only surviving child of his late parents Abubakar argued understandably that he chose to marry more than one wife and make planty children because he never wanted any of his child to feel lonely as he felt while growing up. Besides, his religion forbids no faithful to marry as many women as possible provided there is enough resources to take care of them.
Atiku had worked for two decades in the Nigeria Customs Service where he rose to become the Deputy Director. His record of service indicated mixed profile, one of graft and delivery. He had been accused of fiscal discrepancies while working there. Perhaps the greatest scandal following Atiku around for sometime now happens to be the William Jefferson affair. He was allegedly implicated in an international bribery scandal along with William Jefferson and one of his wives, Jennifer.
While the former U.S. Congressman at the heart of the bribery scandal was tried and sentenced to 13 years in prison in the United States for using his office to corruptly solicit bribes his local agents or complicits were never judged. But Atiku had made it clear that he had nothing to hide following rumours of a pending case in the US and his consequent inability to travel to Uncle Sam. He proved something when he travelled to the US some years ago and returned back home without any problem.
At 74 the Waziri of Adamawa is rumoured to be nursing yet another presidential ambition after his failed bid of 2019 against the incumbent President. It is possible that he could, come 2023, still fly the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s flag for the presidential poll post-Buharism. And perhaps that is what is sending jitters down the spine of the northern cabal hell-bent on destroying the nation. While almost every reasonable Nigerian believes it is time for south-eastern presidency to happen the PDP has thus far refused to zone its candidacy to the south-east for ‘Atiku-lated’ reasons.
But the road to Aso Rock may be ‘mined’ and fraught with all sorts of intrigues. In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 and filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA) the suspicious NGO is praying the court to annul Atiku’s Nigerian citizenship thereby depriving him from seeking the presidency.
The organisation, according to reports online, was asking the court to hold among others, that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the 1999 constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, Atiku could not contest for the top office. While the NGO could be doing the dirty job for the masked cabal for a fee it must be said here that the litigation means more than what has been explained. Why now and not in 2019 or before when the same man sought the highest office in the land?
Only on April 1 (in what looked more like an April fool’s prank) the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had told the Abuja Federal High Court that Atiku was not eligible to run for President in Nigeria because he was a Camerounian! While Malami, despite obvious evidence, had claimed that he did not file any suit challenging Atiku’s citizenship in court the controversial mediocre AGF could be hiding behind the NGO to shut out Atiku.
Atiku’s case as it concerned the place of his birth reminds one of Bakassi penninsula. Before Bakassi was ceded to Cameroun the population living there were legally recognized as Nigerians. But now they are Camerounians. So, does that then means that those born there prior to the change of nationality would now be known as Nigerians or Camerounians? Malami is in a better position to answer that question since he is attributing Camerounian citizenship to a distinguished Nigerian.
Before Minister Malami and his gang ‘deports’ Atiku to Cameroun we must remind them that no one is more Nigerian than the rest of us. Atiku remains a bona-fide Nigerian in the eyes of the law. And it is in his rights to seek the presidency. But if they insist on ‘deporting’ him then they must start with their principal who, as a military dictator in the early 80s, betrayed his Nigerianess by voting for a Nigerien national and against a Nigerian of Igbo extraction at the then OAU summit for the post of the Secretary-Generalship.
They should begin by ‘deporting’ Buhari back to Niger Republic because his parental roots and heritage emanated from there. For showing too much affection and concern for Nigeriens more than Nigerians the embattled President deserves ‘deportation’. Whenever terrorists attacked a community or an inferno was reported in a market somewhere across the border Buhari would be the first to express his solidarity and condolences but that would never the case when such incidents occurred back home.
He had commissioned a rail project linking Maradi to the northern cities yet transportation remains a huge problem for Nigerians. He had named or renamed a popular Boulevard in the Federal Capital Territory after the out-gone President, Mahammadu Issoufou.
Besides, why not start the deportation process with thousands of illegal aliens from neighbouring countries (Fulani herders et al) roaming across the federation with AK-47 and committing all manner of crimes? Now, we cannot distinguish a bona-fide Fulani or Hausa of Nigerian descent from the rest invading our lands with their cattles.
Before they ‘deport’ Atiku to Cameroun let the cabal plotting the sinister move concentrate their efforts on the corruption allegations swirling around the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. Minister Malami must not be President on the expense of a former Vice-President who remains infinitely greater than his entire self.
If the two were to be put on a presidential ballot there is little doubt that Atiku would trounce Malami silly as the late Bashorun Abiola did to Othman Tofa on June 12, 1993. Malami must give us a break and answer to the charges of looting and fraudulent investments (from Birnin-Kebbi to Kano, Abuja to Sokoto) since rising from a charge-and-bail lawyer status to the present position he occupies.
Whoever comes to equity must come with clean hands!