In the last couple of days, Atiku Abubakar factor resonate much attention which appears to be defining new political momentum ahead of 2019 presidential election; and more strikingly elicit debate regarding the choices before Nigerians in next political dispensation. The debate about Atiku and the possibility of his chances of becoming Nigeria’s next president or otherwise was ignited by what ordinarily should have been regarded as personal opinion of a serving minister who publicly asserted preference for the former vice president as the race for 2019 unfolds. It is not surprising that Minister for Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan has come under intense attack for what is regarded as her indiscretion for openly endorsing another aspirant when her principal and head of government was yet to decide whether or not to re-contest in 2019. Nevertheless, it is not unlikely the woman was in fact doing the nation a great service by sending clear signals to Nigerians about the unhealthy scheming already ongoing in the corridor of power as the countdown to post-Buhari’s presidency intensifies.
But since the polity appears to thrive more in denial and hypocrisy, it would be difficult to appreciate that the message the minister was driving home was indeed more than the choice of Atiku Abubakar. While it may be correct to ascribe the minster’s outburst to disloyalty for a sitting president, it reeks of sheer hypocrisy for anyone to be pretending that loyalty amongst the president’s men still carries heavier weight in the light of revelations by the first lady, Aisha Buhari regarding shenanigans that hold sway at the seat of power which are not unconnected with the ill-health of Mr. President that has undeniably affected governance in no positive way. Wither loyalty where hyena and jackals dictate the tunes when the lion king is perpetually on recess! If truly we are not a people who love to live in perpetual denial, it should have been crystal clear by now and beyond any iota of doubt that Mr, President is evidently not a suitable material come 2019 on account of his failing health. But here we are being entertained by self-serving political jesters and pretenders who continue to give the impression that President Buhari is indispensable or irreplaceable by any mortal conceivably in our clime. Even if Buhari is the only sane and incorruptible amongst the rest of the political class; in the exaggerated estimation of some persons that should not in any way foreclose the right to preferences and choices in a democracy.
There are Nigerians who genuinely wish that President Buhari continues beyond the first term in office, the truth however remains that those rooting for the president in 2019 amongst the political class are largely driven by exigencies of pretension and self-serving motivation rather than loyalty. Unlike Minister Alhassan who has boldly and public professed her preference based on objective reality that is too obvious to be discountenanced, those pretending Buhari stands a chance in 2019 are probably not loyal to any cause than hanging on to anything that guarantees their immediate and foreseeable relevance at the corridors of power. While other serving political appointees may not necessarily toe the line of the embattled minister, it would be naive for anyone to pretend President Buhari could still bank on the loyalty of majority of politicians who are presently serving in the government and who may sooner than later pitch tent as the coast becomes clearer!
But beyond this, who says Atiku Abubakar is not an option in 2010; and a serious one at that? Those who are already creating the impression as though the name Atiku Abubakar sounds sacrilegious as an option are free to express their views which may also translate into votes in furtherance of their opposition when the time comes. But what is patently intriguing is the rather momentous and time-serving predilection by all-knowing; arm-chair political commentators who indulge in negative profiling as though democracy is all about professing sanctimony and wild goose search for saints in the murky terrain of politics. It is recalled that as a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar had a running battle with his boss and had to fight a widely publicised legal battle to remain in office. Then, Atiku Abubakar became the ‘face’ of democracy of some sorts as influential actors in the main opposition platform at the time in concert with vociferous and ever available tribe of the civil society rallied round him and urged him on in pursuant of his ambition of succeeding his boss. How time flies!
Ultimately, Nigerians would decide what to do with Abubakar and several other choices before them when the time comes in the months ahead and as the race gathers momentum. Interestingly, from all indications, opposition to Atiku Abubakar’s ambition would probably be led by his estranged principal, former president Olusegun Obasanjo. But would it be enough to tell Nigerians Atiku Abubakar is corrupt without letting the world into the details and gravity of his crimes and why he has not been held to account long before now? The truth remains Nigerians have had enough of poisonous prescriptions from Atiku Abubakar’s traducers and it should be left to the electorate to properly weigh the consequences of their options.