Atiku Abubakar and the PDP: Time to change the tales – Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
In 2015, Governor Fayose told us about his 74 year old mother and her diapers. He was desperate to paint the picture that a 73-year old would be too frail, too demented, to be president. He bought front pages of some national newspapers. He made Buhari the butt of deathly geriatric jokes. In a few months, he would return to the soap box. Fayose would ( tell people to vote for a 73-year-old Atiku. Atiku would be 73 in 2019. I believe Atiku is fit. But the Fayoses of the PDP would have to repackage their tales.
2019 can’t come too soon. The PDP would have to campaign without mentioning certificates. In 2015, the PDP had a candidate who flaunted a PhD. So they mocked Buhari. They said he didn’t have the required academic qualification to contest for president. They were not persuaded that he had passed the senior officer’s course at the United States War College.
In 2019, the PDP would have to sell Atiku and his certificates. Atiku Abubakar owns a miserable grade 3 WAEC certificate. His certificate was so pale it couldn’t keep him in the Police College where he had been admitted. Atiku Abuabkar had failed O level mathematics. The PDP and Atiku can burnish that diploma from the Kano school of hygiene. They could tell us that the Kano school of hygiene is an ivy league school.
I think Atiku is intelligent. He communicates effectively. He has good business acumen. He is urbane and tolerant. Atiku cannot be sold without a loss of face. That is what pettiness brings. The PDP commissioned documentaries into Buhari’s family life. Buhari was a retired army General. They portrayed him as an unrepentant dictator. Abubakar Atiku is a product of sin soaked Customs Service. The PDP can claim that the Customs is the home of discipline and order. Fortunately, the PDP doesn’t pretend to hate corruption so much.
The PDP likes to say that Buhari is misogynistic. They would like to tell more jokes about some, kitchen and the ‘other room.’ But that could hurt them. It is true polygamy is permitted by Islam. And Atiku has never exceeded four women at a time. But matched against Buhari, it’s not difficult to see who is a better example. Atiku has multiple ‘other rooms’
Sometime ago Fayose and the PDP came loose. The governor picked a microphone and announced that Mrs Aisha Buahri, the president’s wife could not visit America. He said she was wanted by the FBI. PDP supporters were excited. The freedom to enter and leave America became a measure of righteousness. Aisha Buahri entered the United States. Fayose and his media men said the pictures were doctored. Then Aisha held public events in the United States. Gov Fayose, shamelessly, offered no apologies.
That falsehood and the drama that followed it could tell on Atiku. Atiku, it appears is barred from entering the United States. Obasanjo says Atiku has questions to answer in the United States. Atiku has not had the courage to dare Obasanjo. Yes, the denial of entry by some Western countries cannot be disqualifying. But you have to have some sympathy for Atiku. He would be surrounded by people who love to mock anyone who can’t travel to America in peace. Poor Atiku, he claims he is innocent.
In the last two years, the PDP has lived on incendiary and divisive rhetorics. The party lost the 2015 elections and lost its orientation. And receded into dangerous sectional and religious brinksmanship. Yes, acts of political insensitivity by the Federal Government inflamed roiled tempers. But it was that recourse to naked demagoguery that took the nation to the brink. Atiku is Fulani. There are many who hate Buhari because he is Fulani. Many of them are now blowing Atiku’s trumpet. They may have to stop. That way their bigotry would have a little integrity.
Atiku has run for president in the past. This time he would be examined up close and personal. An intrusive standard that has been created in the last two years. Atiku says he can explain his wealth. He set up an Agric business while he was in the lower ranks of the Customs. The business failed. Agric businesses can be a little unsentimental.
There are no government privileges to leverage upon. Then he set top a huge trucking company. Since his father was poor and he inherited little, he may have to tell of his magic, to inspire the youths. He became the Deputy Director and miraculously ran into one Volpi , a foreigner. They hit it off, and set up a multimillion dollar logistics company. Atiku, the Deputy Controller General then, birthed a company to operate in the very ports he supervised. The company ate ‘growth hormones’ and became a giant in no time.
Atiku is a good businessman. But His company, Intels, largely lived on commissions for monies it collected, monopolistically, for the Federal Government. So much for hard work. I don’t know why many think Atiku is not that incorruptible. He is just a man with an eye for opportunities. Could it be a certain lack of discretion about conflict of interest? A certain knowing of rules and knowing the loopholes. While he worked in public service, he came to own companies that full time businessmen could only dream about. He says the law allowed him to own shares and that he was not engaged in day to day running of the outfits. He is right. They all did it.
He is right. At the kirikiri prisons warders own food vending companies run by their wives. These outfits monopolize the sales of foods to inmates. The warders would also say they are not involved in the day to day running of these companies flourishing within the prisons. It’s no use finding out how their ownership of these companies affect the quality of food budgeted by the government for the prison inmates.
Atiku has returned to the PDP. That’s heartwarming. The PDP was disoriented. Atiku is media savvy and resourceful. The prestigious Yaradua school of politics whose doctoral degree he must possess teaches pragmatism and a little ruthlessness. An Atiku came back at the right time. The nation needs a well resourced and ambitious opposition. President Buhari and company need anything that can rattle them out of conceitedness and presumptuousness. The president takes his public acceptance for granted. That is why he has slept comfortably on the Maina scandal, for a whole month.
Culled from Vanguard