The Problem with Atiku’s Candidature

Sunday Onyemaechi Eze

Sunday Onyemaechi Eze

Efforts geared towards returning to power by all means possible come 2023 was one reason Atiku Abubakar emerged the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  Close to that was Atiku’s well-known desperation to become the president of Nigeria. Since 2003, it is public knowledge that he nurses the ambition. He left no one in doubt where he stands as he works assiduously to achieve his aim. That ambition ruined his relationship with ex-president Obasanjo who he worked with as Vice President from 1999-2007. Since 2007, Atiku has flown the flag of one party or the other to fulfill this lifelong ambition. On three occasions, he had left the PDP in search of greener pastures. But like the prodigal son; he came back to the party which like a father forgives without holding back.

The Peoples Democratic Party has not recovered from its back to back loss to the All Progress Congress (APC) in 2015 and the 2019 elections. Thus, it must strategically position itself to win. The party envisages the emergence of an APC southern presidential candidate. Therefore, fielding Atiku who is from the north was a calculated attempt to capitalise on the good will and huge number of northern electorates to emerge victorious. Atiku they assume has the war chest to contend with any candidate of APC and the incumbent factor. The insistence of some northern establishments like Norther Elders Forum (NEF) represented by Baba Ahmed that power is not leaving the north added an impetus to that choice. The already know penchant and quest to protect the interest of the north by voting for a northern candidate by northerners against candidates of other region was a considered factor.

But PDP has forgotten so soon that it was their leaders and members who partly left the country in this current sorry state. They are simply after retaining power and everything associated with it except putting food on the tables of Nigerians. Who has not had a fair share of the suffering and hardship produced by APC? Who does not know that most APC leaders were once in PDP? We are now very much aware that; politics in Nigeria is using our collective psyche – playing religious and ethnic cards to advance the political interest of a few individuals.

A new set of political order has emerged and must be urgently enthroned. And Nigerians have now come to the realisation that the new order does not require the imprimatur of those who created the problem to become effective. Nigerian people are ready to take back their country from political hawks whose only enterprise is politics and politicking. The consciousness of majority is awaken to the sad reality of our tragedy as a nation. People are paying attention to what contestants brings to the table. The quality of services they intend to render and problem solving initiatives at their disposal.

Sai Baba or vote for me for progress is no longer the ideal political situation. The character of contestants will bear testimony for or against them. So also is the measure of previous representation for any contestant seeking re-election? Their political association with people who kept the nation in comatose and roles politicians play are up against them. The internet is waiting to open the covered pages of every current and previous actions and intendements of politicians and spill them for public consumption. Those who bought their candidacy with $35,000 are in business not for good governance. They will first of all think of recouping before negotiating for the end of ASUU strike. They will pay bank loans with high interest rate before embarking on any meaningful developmental project. Nigerians have to take back Nigeria from political rogues.

The problem with Atiku’s candidature is the greatest undoing of PDP in the next election. One factor working against Atiku is his old age. Like Tinubu, both are spent forces whose ability to govern effectively is called to question. The rightful position for him at the moment is a statesman. Let him allow younger generations to slug it out in the field of politics.The betrayal of south east – a region which stood by PDP through thick and thin but denied at a time it is said to be their turn is a price the party has to pay very dearly for. Except if the election is rigged; the possibility of Atiku winning in south east is slim. If Tinubu eventually emerges the candidate of APC, he is the Jagaban of south west politics.

The eight years tenure of the north will elapse in 2023 and it is inconceivable for another northern president to continue where APC woefully stopped. It amounts to day light robbery of the slot due to the entire south. The alleged case of sleeze leveled against him and the role he played as the chairman of the national council on privatisation in charge of selling government assets still haunts him. Obasanjo’s public declaration of his corrupt tendencies in government will de-market his candidacy.

The widely reported case of monetising the party’s convention and the eventual hand over of the flag to the highest bidder is a minus to the party. The presence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at that convention was a clear indication of some evidences of financial infractions. However, it was a mission in futility as the anti-graft agency had no balls to arrest one person even when it was alleged that buying of delegates was common. One delegate was said to have received as much as N12m from a contestant. Other contestants paid between $10,000 – $15,000 to measure up. The viral joke in the social media about studying “delegate” in our tertiary institutions for quick cash is very interesting but it underscored how low the Nigerian politics has descended.

The PDP presidential primary election has come and gone. It is assumed that the opposition party is now poised to wrestle power from the ruling APC after seven years in the lurch. However, the rancour and animosity that characterised the convention will take so much application of balm to heal. The party’s deliberate refusal to abide by the zoning agreement is one sour point that will affect the performance of the party. The militancy of Wike, his shortsightedness, arrogance and confrontational attitude will take so much PR to launder. The implosion has already begun!

The emerging reality to the 2023 elections showed that Nigerians now look beyond political parties in their desires for a prosperous Nigeria. A leader with brilliant ideas and  practical solutions to our national tragedies will be elected as president. We have had enough!

Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Development Communication Specialist, wrote via and could be reached on 08060901201

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