2019: Atiku ver­sus Arewa agenda

Daily Trust - - PHOTO NEWS - By Zubairu Jakara

So just who is Arewa’s most suit­able can­di­date for the 2019 elec­tions? This ques­tion may seem pre­ma­ture or even un­nec­es­sary de­pend­ing on your con­cern for Arewa 2019. But when we ob­serve the alarm­ing level of dis­cord within the re­gion, es­pe­cially since the out­break of Bi­afran bel­liger­ence fu­elled the em­bers of geo-eth­nic in­tol­er­ance across Nige­ria, the prospects for Arewa get­ting a smooth and easy tran­si­tion to a sec­ond ten­ure in 2019 get be­clouded. It is now not so hereti­cal to doubt or even rule out an­other pres­i­den­tial bid by ail­ing Pres­i­dent Buhari, whether the so-called ca­bal­ists like it or not. The com­bi­na­tion of dashed hopes for “change”, pro­gres­sive dis­in­te­gra­tion of the APC and Buhari’s di­min­ish­ing stamina for the stress and rigour of elec­tion­eer­ing is just too for­bid­ding. A change of can­di­date is there­fore be­yond con­tention if Arewa 2019 is to be a re­al­is­tic ven­ture!

An­other nec­es­sary change in Arewa’s agenda for re­tain­ing its se­cured sec­ond term en­ti­tle­ment must be the im­me­di­ate and un­com­pro­mis­ing dump­ing of all “old bri­gades” from con­sid­er­a­tion as po­ten­tial flag-bear­ers. The sen­ti­men­tal ob­ses­sion with “elders” and al­lied po­lit­i­cal pa­trons in the search for pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates has be­come a li­a­bil­ity for Arewa. Even with­out Baba Buhari’s age-in­flicted po­lit­i­cal mishap, the pro­file of post-Sar­dauna Arewa politi­cians in terms of fol­low­ing the lega­cies of self­less­ness, pop­u­lar fa­ther-fig­ure lead­er­ship style and tan­gi­ble de­vel­op­ment strides has been ut­terly re­pelling. Un­for­tu­nately, the dom­i­neer­ing pres­ence of the old brigade politi­cians on the Arewa arena has con­sti­tuted a stum­bling block against younger and more cred­i­ble politi­cians mov­ing onto the na­tional scene. This is a ma­jor is­sue that must be con­fronted and re­solved in the in­ter­est of the re­gion’s fu­ture.

The die-hard pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion of for­mer VP Atiku Abubakar is to­day re­garded as the next li­a­bil­ity for Arewa’s stake in 2019 elec­tions be­cause since 2007 when it was the re­gion’s turn to pro­duce a pres­i­dent un­der the un­of­fi­cial ro­ta­tional ar­range­ment, we have been be­dev­iled by se­ri­ous dilemma linked to the age and health sta­tus of our can­di­dates. Both Yaradua and Buhari have af­flicted Arewa’s leg­endary po­lit­i­cal re­silience in na­tional lead­er­ship with a de­bil­i­tat­ing deficit. While Yaradua’s age was not cause for con­cern def­i­nitely his health sta­tus ef­fec­tively crip­pled the North’s power ex­pectancy with rip­ples of ran­cor across the na­tion trig­gered by the hanky-panky han­dling of his last days. Pres­i­dent Buhari has added to the Arewa bag­gage of bun­gled pres­i­den­cies with his age and health hang-ups, not to men­tion the queer paral­y­sis of power that eclipsed his “tsunami” elec­tion vic­tory.

For the avoid­ance of doubt Atiku will be in the mid-sev­en­ties by 2019 and there is noth­ing else about his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion to mit­i­gate the omi­nous im­pli­ca­tions of this on Arewa’s 2019 se­cured en­ti­tle­ment to a sec­ond ten­ure in Aso Villa. It is worth re­call­ing that Atiku Abubakar him­self never thought of be­ing a pres­i­den­tial politi­cian in the first in­stance, lim­it­ing his hori­zon to the gov­er­nor­ship gam­ble in his na­tive Adamawa State. Even with a for­tu­nate twist of po­lit­i­cal fate, he ended up as a Vice Pres­i­dent in 1999. If that un­ex­pected el­e­va­tion also raised his am­bi­tion level, he was in­ca­pable of tai­lor­ing it to suit the terms of tran­si­tion, es­pe­cially un­der Obasanjo, the fa­ther of pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion. Thus Atiku am­bi­tiously suc­cumbed to the vice of pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics by heed­lessly seek­ing to hound his bene­fac­tor out of the Villa, get­ting his bab­ban­riga burnt in the process.

Not sur­pris­ingly, since then he has been chang­ing his po­lit­i­cal cos­tumes to re­flect the re­silience of his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion as well as the va­ri­eties of guise at his dis­posal, waltz­ing from rightwing con­ser­vatism to “pro­gres­sive” pos­tur­ing with chameleonic chi­canery. Pre­dictably, ev­ery failed bid has fu­elled his am­bi­tion fur­ther, all the while ob­sessed more with his own tor­tu­ous tra­jec­tory than the po­lit­i­cal mis­for­tunes of Arewa. Surely Atiku must be liv­ing un­der the il­lu­sion of thou­sand-year life­span of the days of Prophet Noah, not our70-year ex­pectancy, for him to be se­ri­ously warm­ing up for Nige­ria’s Pres­i­dency, when he should be re­treat­ing into ter­mi­nal thanks­giv­ing for a life well spent in self­ad­vance­ment as Baba Atiku!

When you con­sider the jinx of age and ill-health that has been haunt­ing Arewa’s pres­i­den­tial tenures since 2007 with Atiku Abubakar’s un­com­pro­mis­ing de­ter­mi­na­tion to be the next sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian north­ern Pres­i­dent in 2019, you don’t have to be a sadist to an­tic­i­pate an­other round of na­tional hys­te­ria over el­derly north­ern lead­ers and out­right re­jec­tion of a third en­counter with an ail­ing pres­i­dent, a ca­bal and a “co­or­di­nat­ing” vice-pres­i­dent. Rather than try­ing to dis­suade an un­com­pro­mis­ingly de­ter­mined vet­eran pres­i­den­tial bidder like Atiku Abubakar, it is far more re­al­is­tic for Arewa youths and self­less po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to be proac­tive, prag­matic and per­sis­tent in pro­mot­ing and em­pow­er­ing a new gen­er­a­tion po­lit­i­cal lead­er­like Right Hon­ourable Gov­er­nor Aminu Waziri Tam­buwak- to break the jinx of old age, ill-health and trun­cated tenures that has al­most turned north­ern pres­i­dency into po­lit­i­cal abom­i­na­tion in Nige­ria. Shi ke­nan!

Jakara wrote this piece from Zaria City.

Last week, the pres­i­dent of Pak­istan, Nawar Sharif re­signed af­ter the coun­try’s supreme court de­clared him in­el­i­gi­ble for pub­lic of­fice on ac­count of the in­ex­pli­ca­ble wealth of his chil­dren. Once in Naija, an of­fi­cial ac­cused of abus­ing pub­lic of­fice by al­lo­cat­ing land to his tod­dler and his friends - gave an epic de­fence -his ac­cusers should wait for their chance at pub­lic of­fice, and then al­lo­cate pub­lic re­sources to their en­e­mies!

bus­load of armed sol­diers ar­rived at the premises of The Her­ald news­pa­pers to bring the er­rant re­porter in. My then ed­i­tor, the late Doyin Mah­moud and my news ed­i­tor, Ade­mola Ade­tula han­dled the mat­ter with the stoic calm­ness and diplo­matic candour that was their hall­mark and the af­fair did not de­gen­er­ate. The mil­i­tary were not query­ing the verac­ity of the story, but that the air chief’s ad­dress to his troops was not for pub­lic con­sump­tion and wanted to know how I had heard it.

The siege lasted three days and fi­nally the army gave up the hunt. Stu­dents of jour­nal­ism would re­call other not so peaceful end­ing to sieges, from the Minere Amakiri case through the mur­der of Dele Giwa to the im­pris­on­ment of Nduka Ira­bor and Tunde Thomp­son. Un­der Pres­i­dent Jones, the army way­laid cir­cu­la­tion vans of some news­pa­pers, ac­cused them of gun­run­ning for Boko Haram, then con­fis­cated and burnt their pub­li­ca­tions with­out war­rant or court or­der. We have come a long way and

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