Why Not Atiku?

by E. Terfa Ula-Lisa Esq

Some pseudonym had in the media boasted that it was Atiku, IBB, Danjuma and Abubakar that brought Obasanjo to power from his place of imprisonment. While that has not been proven, we know that there was much noise in the press about Obasanjo dishonoring the pact he had entered with the so-called North, so there may be some truth in it. We know that all the persons mentioned above, have been involved in the active misrule of Nigeria. If they packaged Obasanjo to rule according to their dictates, they sure did not expect him to fight corruption or to cut them off from the gravy train. If for instance, PDP won by virtue of Atiku and his group as reported, then, we need to chart a new course, not going back to Atiku for salvation. “Mr Obasanjo’s estranged vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, instrumental in securing past PDP victories, wants to be president, as does Ibrahim Babangida, a former military ruler.The Economist of August 31st 2006 had written. It then means that if the past elections were as flawed as all the local and international monitors made it, the blame lays squarely at the feet of the facilitators, Atiku and his PDM machinery so we need to watch him and the next elections. Some other reasons abound below why Atiku should never be trusted with mantle of Presidency.

As the current Vice-President, he is the # 2 person in the order of hierarchy in Nigeria. It is a collective responsibility, if Obasanjo has failed, he has also failed. If it is true that he introduced OBJ this second time around, and he finds OBJ so abhorrent now, then Atiku must have a poor sense of judgment. He cannot be trusted going forward. If however, OBJ’s Reform policies are on track and need a little tweaking and uniform application to succeed, then Atiku cannot be his successor because Atiku promises change. Atiku makes an indictment of the government which he serves in his own words as follows:

“This election is about change – change not only in our national leadership, but also change in how the rest of the world will see Nigeria from now on. Change not only in our party politics and politicking, but also change in our country itself. As that election approaches, Nigerians have a critical choice to make. They can choose to continue with our frighteningly depressing present or they can choose change. It is clear to me that our people want change, change for reforms that work for the people; change for reforms that create jobs; change that provides adequate electricity, good roads, security of life and property; change for a genuine and sincere fight against corruption; and above all, change for the rule of law, real democracy and greater freedoms for individual Nigerians and the states of the federation. I am the candidate for change.”

Speech by Abubakar Atiku, GCON, Vice-President, on the occasion of his declaration for the presidency of Nigeria in the 2007 election, at the old parade ground, area 10, Garki, Abuja. Saturday, November 25, 2006

My point here is that, except some whistle-blower memo is produced in which Atiku had opposed seriously the policies or application of policy of his government by his boss, he cannot be heard at this time, this eight year, to complain about the policies or performance of his government. To do so would be self-serving, opportunistic and hypocritical; to use some of the adjectives he had used to describe his erstwhile party, PDP from whom he had not resigned while taking the Presidential slot of a rival party.

Lacks Integrity

Every organization has persons who rule it and sometimes the officers fall out and go their separate ways. In all fairness, one does not expect Atiku to agree with the conduct of his boss in everything. Every innocent bystander watching the political developments in Nigeria would come to the inevitable conclusion that Atiku, as Vice-President had fallen out with his boss. Now it does not matter whether the boss was behaving like a wicked step-mother, the proper thing in such circumstances is to hand in the letter of resignation honorably and walk away quietly or go on to head the opposition to repair whatever infractions of the constitution or Due Process that might exist. Atiku lacks integrity by not resigning even after such apparent irreconcilable differences with his boss who had called him to deputize. Integrity refers to the quality of being complete or undivided or being in an unimpaired condition (Webster’s). Atiku could not while still enjoying all the perks and position of the Vice-President in a PDP government in all good conscience also be arrow-head of the opposition. Atiku could not properly contend like he did:

“We are in grave danger of surrendering our country to a cabal of opportunistic, greedy and hypocritical people which hides under the guise of high moral principles to debase our democratic institutions,” and retain his seat under he canopy of the said cabal.

Compromised Candidacy

We know that Nigeria is not the United States but our politicians and representatives are given a modicum of respect by virtue of being leaders of a distinct set of people. A situation where the Potomac home of a sitting Vice-President of Nigeria is searched after due consideration of facts and a judgment call by the diplomatic purview of persons versed in those nuances in regard to ongoing criminal investigations of the FBI should cause that person pause if he seeks to be leader of the most populous black nation on earth. Atiku has by that very search been exposed to suspicion, discredit or mischief. His reputation being compromised, how are we sure that if we have such a person voted in as President, that some foreign party may not use such information or process adversely against the interest of Nigeria? What happens if for instance evidence is brought that bespeaks of his request for a bribe, could he still battle corruption in all good conscience while in the center of an international corruption probe?

What Truth?

The Vice President of Nigeria wrote and signed “As regards NDTV and Mofas, I wish to state categorically that I have no interests, investments or shareholding whatsoever, directly or indirectly, in any of these two companies. I do know Otunba J. O. Fasawe, the Chairman of NDTV and Moffas, respectively, and I count him as one of my friends. He is a long time friend and a prominent member of my political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). I do not, however, have any business dealings whatsoever with him, nor am I involved in any way in or with any of his companies or businesses.

Coincidentally, paragraph 50 of the FBI’s affidavit in the USA where he goes to vacation and seek enforcement of Due Process through his intellectual lobbyists says

“50. In a July 12, 2005 meeting with CW-1, Congressman Jefferson related that the direction of the Nigerian Business deal depended on obtaining assistance from –(dedacted)–. Congressman Jefferson explained he would request the –(dedacted)–to assist with two key issues related to the deploymentof iGate technology to Nigeria:

a) Assistance in extinguishing a $2million debt with NDTV that relates to a previous NDTV procurement of rights to deploy iGate technology in Nigeria

b) Assistance in gaining Nitel’s cooperation for the co-location of iGate technology in Nigeria.”

The Vice President on the other hand, continues in his submission before us:

The EFCC has sought to draw a connection between NDTV and myself by alleging that I contributed the sum of =N=30 million towards the purchase of the head office building of NDTV. Again, in characteristic fashion, the EFCC has arrived at a conclusion not only unsupported by the facts but also in direct conflict with information it has been provided with. The facts as regards this are simply that I Facilitated a loan for a friend, Otun

ba J. O. Fasawe, in his time of need. Otunba Fasawe had indicated to me his desire to secure the purchase of an office complex for a new business venture he was involved in. At the time he told me of this, he indicated that he was significantly out of pocket and requested my assistance in advancing a short term loan to finance the down payment of this purchase. The EFCC’s report indicates that this payment was made on the 7th January 2003″.

Can anyone contribute thirty million Naira (whether as a short term loan or down payment) to a business and say without flinching that “I have no interests, investments or shareholding whatsoever, directly or indirectly”?

Conclusively, and this is just my opinion, nothing personal since I have never met the man; the man is just not presidential material. He says Obasanjo is doing everything wrong – then, tells us that he, Atiku, recruited the Reform team, seeking to take credit for whatever we may concede to this government. That is so classless. Argued, if he did recruit all the professional technocrats, he not being one, it was done at the behest of Obasanjo because as Vice-President, he has no role but one given to him by his boss. The stars of this Reform Team he purportedly recruited besides Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are still serving Obasanjo faithfully. Ribadu has publicly indicted the VP, El-Rufai and others were on the Administrative panel and El-Rufai has reportedly publicly told him to resign if he does not belong. That is the course of action all principled persons who are not afraid of being stripped of their immunity do. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resigned when she disagreed irreparably with her boss. Nigeria does not need at this time such a person to lead them. There are much more qualified persons without the taint and baggage of Abubakar Atiku. The man does not have passion for any programs, nor does he have even a clue regarding the Due Process mantra which he is using to hoodwink Nigerians and the International Community.

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tennis55_2@hotmail.com January 27, 2007 - 8:49 pm

Personally, the word "democracy," is frightening. Nigeria has adopted a dangerious concept from the west. The word—democracy is the very concept that will continue to criple generations to come. I am not surprised with the U.S. prediction on Nigeria. I am very powerless to stop democracy in Nigeria.

Reading much about Atiku's past and present, the future does not look bright for Nigeria.The man Atiku is very dangrious for Nigerians. Atiku does not even posses quality of a lunatic, his quality is much deeper than that of a lunatic. When I saw him shaking hands recently with a U.S. Senator, on his recent vocation, it remains me of Saddam Hussein who despite the U.S. backing, they finally kill him. What shall be for Atiku? Again, I am scare and felt sorry should Atiku become the next Nigerian President. Atiku will sell Nigeria for a fraction of purchasing humburger. The man Atiku is not serious for Nigeria. I wish that he did not even had a chance to contest this so called democracy come April 2007. I cry for Nigeria.

Excellent Piece!

Ebenezer January 27, 2007 - 5:04 pm

Terfa, You have hit the nail precisely on the head. Your objectivity is commendable. One may not like everything about Obasanjo but Atiku more than any aspirant lacks the capacity to perform. He has both by omission and commission shown his lack of depth. Obasanjo has his frailties but he has moved the country forward ( even if for a few steps). We need leaders who will come and keeping improving on the past and I am afraid that Atiku is to say the least, below par.


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