Atiku Abubakar and His Nigerian Leadership Project

by Chinedu Vincent Akuta

Atiku Abubakar has made some serious allegations against the People’s Democratic Party government of Yar’Adua. Firstly he said that the Yar’Adua government has failed, since nothing positive is happening in the country. Atiku went further and said that, “I have no business with this government, the only thing I know is that nothing works, no electricity, how many towns and cities in this country that have pipe borne water? There are no roads, nothing is going on”. This comment was reported by the Guardian newspapers of Sunday, November 23 2008, online version.

Atiku Abubakar has also repeated his allegation that there is near absence of governance in the country and he alleged that the PDP lacked the capacity to drive the electoral process. He said that he will continue to speak out against the visionless and unpopular PDP government in Nigeria.

‘Am so surprised at the criticism of PDP by Atiku Abubakar. Atiku himself lacks the credibility to criticize PDP because he Atiku was among the founders of PDP. He won Adamawa state governorship elections under the banner of PDP before he was appointed the vice president under the same PDP. Atiku remained the vice president for eight years, only for him to decamp to Action Congress when PDP declined to give him the presidential ticket. Despite decamping to Action Congress party, Atiku remained more of PDP than AC.

Atiku had the sympathy of Nigerians when it was rumoured that he helped to stop the third term ambition of his former boss (Olusegun Obasanjo). The sympathy continued during the Obasanjo/Atiku face off which resulted in PDP denying Atiku their presidential ticket. Left alone Obasanjo didn’t want Atiku to contest elections at all, the Supreme Court judgement made it possible for Atiku. The former vice president later went to court against the irregularities of 2007 presidential elections which was conducted by his estranged boss. The entire 2007 elections have been described as the worst election in the history of Nigeria.

Nigerians thought it was all over between Atiku and PDP, only for the former vice president to visit Obasanjo on the 19th of January 2009 at his residence in Abeokuta. By the end of January 2009, preparations were being put in place for Atiku to return to PDP. Atiku had also met with some PDP governors. Trouble started when some elements within the PDP started preparing Yar’Adua for 2011 presidential elections, meaning that there will be no chance for Atiku.

Atiku’s comments about PDP’s inability to drive electoral reforms are right. But because Atiku himself is more PDP than AC, I strongly doubt if Atiku could have done any thing different if he was the president. Atiku should have also criticized the 1999 and 2003 elections which he was part off. Nigerians are aware of the shortfalls of the 1999/2003 presidential elections. By his actions, Nigerians will only take the message and leave the messenger. Political activities of this sort make me to believe that politicians play politics in a dirty way. Politics is not a dirty game, but politicians play it dirty, more especially Nigerian politicians.

There are a lot of ways Atiku can serve Nigeria other than being the president, except he has other motives for aspiring to be the president of Nigeria. Former vice president of America Al gore, who served under Bill Clinton for two terms, contested the American presidential elections in 2000 with George Bush. He lost and told Americans than he will never contest elections again. Al gore took up a project towards finding solutions to the threats of global warming. He has won several awards since taking up this project. This project will touch more lives in America and all over the globe. Till date Al gore remains relevant in the world. Atiku can do similar thing in Nigeria and beyond, this can make him a better statesman.

Alternatively Atiku can use his influences at the national assembly to influence policies that will better the Nigerian masses. He can be the leader of opposition parties in Nigeria which we desperately need at this point in our polity. Atiku should remember that people are looking up to him. Whether he likes it or not, he is a role model to many Nigerians. Therefore he should try inspiring Nigerians in a positive manner. Dearest Atiku kindly use all your political knowhow to support the clamour for transparency in our electoral system. Use all your political strategies to make sure transparency is established in our electoral process. Please remember that history will judge whatever action you take. May God bless Nigeria.

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