Atiku, the oasis of Nigerian politics
A great leader takes people where they should be, not necessarily where they want to be. Leadership is a vision coupled with an achievable mission – Anonymous
For some time, the Nigerian political firmament has lacked a constellation of true stars and entrenched gladiators. This dearth of political juggernauts and women of substance leaves politics bland without its usual witty candor and glitzy glamour. So sad.
Gone are the good old days when sitting and aspiring politicians, as well as ordinary people, were treated with eloquent philosophical polemics and pragmatic discourse by the likes of Nigeria’s first civilian President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the great Zik from Africa; or the gold issues of former Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; and not least, the well-researched policies and evergreen essays of former Western Region Premier and legal luminary, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo.
Also in this Middle Belt and now South-South league were scholarly scholars such as Joseph Tarka and Chief Anthony Enahoro (who moved for Nigeria’s independence from colonial masters through a plausible paper presentation in 1957) .
Have we hastily forgotten the flower-power of blacksmith and media delight, former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Chief Kingsley O. Mbadiwe – the phrase-configurator of fame for “political juggernauts, iroko and mahogany”.
Mbadiwe, a stalwart of President Shehu Shagari’s National Party of Nigeria, once described the political merger between the NPN and the NPP (Nigerian People’s Party of Zik) as a “CON-CORDIAL AGREEMENT”.
It was the era of political color, frankness and glamour. Days of deep-rooted sound bites and philosophical thought. Do we still remember the lone voice in the desert and representative of “Politics Without Bitterness”, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim of the GNPP?
He was a convert from Indian Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent struggle for the emancipation of the people. What about the Great Oyi of Oyi, the former Horsetail-bearing Senate Speaker, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo? Or the man with the longest handmade cap and a double white handkerchief, Chief Solomon Lar. And many others who are deceased, fortunately.
Lest I forget the one they vernacularly called Money, Kudi, Owo: Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olambiwoninu Abiola, the presumed winner of the canceled presidential term of 1993. And the godfather of bridge building and national unity, former deputy military head of state and astute politician, retired Lt. Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (older brother of former President Umaru Yar’Adua). Alas, these stars have left our sky. So sad!
In recent times, politicians have become not only half-baked, but also voraciously greedy and pest-like like grasshoppers. Many have left their heads for their stomachs, desiring existence rather than life. In other words, many Nigerian politicians became hasty lords and feudal conquerors with entrenched hegemonic tendencies. Many of them live to eat, not eat to live. They plunder the Commonwealth in a corrupt way by aggrandizing themselves and impoverishing the population. So sad.
It is therefore not uncommon to hear them reveling in the philosophies and coinage of gangsters such as “No shaking”, “Seru ba won” (injecting fear into the people). “Divine mandate”, “cannon salute”, “money power”, “awa la ni” (we own it), etc. act supported the payday biometric card reader machine, to curb election rigging in the Anambra, Ekiti and Osun state elections, respectively. Giving enormous hope to all Nigerians that their votes will eventually count in the general elections scheduled for February 2023.
However, amidst this colossal wasteland of Nigeria’s political desert stands an oasis of hope – a connector of the past to the present and a ‘forecast’ of the future! He is nationalist, patriotic, detribalized and a massive investor in the local Nigerian project.
He is a mercurial entrepreneur, an investor in human capital, a philanthropist par excellence, a popular politician and a great father. Who is this cap suitable for? Of course, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa.
Atiku has had a checkered history. His immense contributions to democracy and democratic struggles have been spelled out in more than a dozen court judgments or Atiku case studies – even as a sitting vice president. These landmark court rulings have done much to reshape and develop the political landscape and constitutional narrative in the country today.
But this great man had a very modest past. His peasant father had to be sent to prison in order to remove the young Atiku from the open field of danger to the comfort of an educational classroom provided by American missionaries. And many still share the memory that little Atiku later bought a mud house to shelter his mother from the bad weather in northern Nigeria when he was 15 years old!
For the record, those who know the great, attentive but taciturn team leader see Atiku as a volume of books that cannot be read or analyzed in a hurry. They also said that his childhood attributes of patience, endurance, bravery and courage, business acumen and problem solving, all set him head above shoulders among his peers.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that it was Atiku as a young customs officer who in 1984 seized, at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, the outrageous 53 so-called ‘naira-laden suitcases smuggled into the country with a royal stamp”, during General Muhammadu Buhari’s first anti-corruption step as head of state.
It is said that the Atiku man stood his ground and refused to be compromised or intimidated. Yet Atiku for some is corrupt; as he left the civil service at 43, and never reached the peak of his career as Director General of Customs and Excise, before voluntarily retiring. Second, no one ever said that Atiku was corrupt or over-ambitious because he paid the government three months’ salary in advance instead of leaving the civil service early.
Having been mentored by the Great Tafida, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, under whose ideology Atiku and others found lodging, and went on to become Vice President for two terms (1999-2007), the Waziri has since become a living legend and most wanted politician in Nigeria. Therefore, it stands like a solid steel for the unification of a nation delicately tied on an existential cliff, while struggling against insecurity, poverty and disunity.
With enormous wealth and a wide range of socio-political ideas, coupled with a vast local and global understanding of events and issues, Atiku remains the dazzling damsel of Nigerian politics that many hate to love, or vice versa! No wonder no political history in Nigeria is complete without Atiku’s touch or angle in three decades. For him, silence is not only golden, but also a story in itself.
For example, those who love Atiku adore and respect him wholesomely while his opponents or detractors see nothing good coming from his Nazareth. Nonetheless, Atiku is a worthwhile friend and an enemy you don’t want to keep. He is a meticulous politician, steeped in planning, research, strategy and clinical execution.
The presidential standard bearer of the PDP is undoubtedly the beautiful wife of Nigerian politics and the epitome of resourceful human capital, administrative creativity and innovative ideas. As a mercurial industrial entrepreneur and a steadfast investor in development education, Atiku, the pragmatic politician, is able to pull Nigeria out of its current steep slope of socio-economic woes, with a strong string of plans and hope. achievable.
Read also: Atiku/Wike: We must close ranks to ensure success in 2023 – Jibrin
At this stage, what is desirable is for the Peoples’ Democratic Party to put its house in order, resolving outstanding conflict situations, cementing strained relations and consolidating its achievements. The task of redeeming and saving our nation from the cold clutches of banditry, robbery, carnage, nationwide blackouts, perennial university closures, hyperinflation, mass unemployment and the state of general desperation must become the top priority of the next government.
For it is evident that the outgoing government of the All Progressives Congress has performed below par on national confidence, equity, unity, poverty reduction and wealth creation, security and development community.
After all, a wise philosopher, Alexander Pope, once postulated that: “For forms of government, let fools argue; what is best administered is best governed”. Let us be guided to do what is necessary during the next presidential elections. Nigerians would welcome a political bridge builder, social fixer, economic scout and nationally proven reformer on liberalism and the expansion of anti-corruption, banking and telecommunications; pioneer of ATM credit cards and GSM phones.
Nigeria deserves the best at this critical time – for good and best are still words where the best is present. Our country can no longer settle for less in the midst of a sea of abundance. Articulate Atiku is the oasis of the Nigerian political desert, ever ready to quench the thirst of the people for good leadership and better administration.
Finally, a truly authentic leader is one who would not leave his people in the messy situation in which he first encountered them. Patriotic Atiku has the fire of desire and the sense of direction to lead our nation to its long-awaited destination of boom and joy, unlike the current unenviable reign of APC.
.Yusuf, international communications strategist and publicist, writing from the UK