Buhari and Atiku: What counts most in 2019

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - Yakubu Mo­hammed SMS only: 08055001917 email: timayakky@ya­hoo.com

IT is be­com­ing ap­par­ent that Abubakar Atiku’s de­fec­tion from the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress, APC, is not good rid­dance to bad rub­bish af­ter all. Gover­nor

Nasir El Ru­fai and a few APC stal­warts had sought to down­play Atiku’s exit as of no con­se­quence – he is a se­rial con­tester, they said, and a se­rial loser to boot.

And if some­body has been vice pres­i­dent for eight years and he is still am­bi­tious for a po­lit­i­cal of­fice, he can only be eye­ing the next job, the pres­i­dent of the coun­try, not lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­man or coun­cil­lor, or for that mat­ter, gover­nor of Adamawa State which he con­tested for and won in 1999 un­til good for­tune el­e­vated him to the po­si­tion of vice pres­i­dent of the coun­try, sec­ond only to Pres­i­dent Olusegun Obasanjo. You must be kid­ding to say such a man has no fol­low­ers, he is of no con­se­quences. What­ever he con­trib­uted to the for­tunes of APC, and to the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, so they rea­soned, did not amount to any­thing. Haba!

Since Fri­day last week when Atiku called on man and God to come wit­ness his solemn de­par­ture from Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari’s APC, there have been some mixed re­ac­tions, some ob­vi­ously comic and oth­ers, like the one of El Ru­fai, panic en­veloped in de­nial and some bit of ar­ro­gance – what the

Said the gover­nor: “Well, I won’t even say we were in the APC to­gether. Some of us formed the APC, some of them joined be­cause they thought that the APC was a plat­form for which they would con­test the elec­tions, but when they didn’t get the op­por­tu­nity, they started look­ing around.

“I have heard what the former Vice Pres­i­dent said about leav­ing the APC in De­cem­ber but he has left in Novem­ber, which is good be­cause the ear­lier he left for where he be­longed the bet­ter.”

Since then, many peo­ple seek­ing for­tune and suc­cour have turned to the so­cial me­dia for some comic re­lief in the midst of the cur­rent gut wrench­ing poverty and suf­fer­ing. Atiku has be­come the butt of cruel jokes. He is likened to pro­fes­sional foot­ball play­ers who re­cently re­turned to their re­spec­tive clubs; the likes of Rooney (from Ever­ton to Manch­ester United or Man U and back to Ever­ton), Goetze (Dort­mund – Bay­ern –Dort­mund), Pogba (Manu – Juve – Manu and last but the least David Luiz from Chelsea to PSG back to Chelsea.

But Atiku, ob­vi­ously not on loan from PDP, has sim­ply done what his po­lit­i­cally prag­matic mind told him was in his best in­ter­est do - go seek po­lit­i­cal for­tune else­where. He was not the first and he would not be the last to do so.

No Nige­rian politi­cian dead or alive has ever had any qualms in chang­ing par­ties and cross­ing car­pets in search of op­por­tu­ni­ties. Sim­i­larly, po­lit­i­cal job­bers and hang­ers and other as­sorted po­lit­i­cal pros­ti­tutes have never had any sense of guilt when they chop from left and right, traf­fick­ing in ru­mours and fake news from one po­lit­i­cal camp to an­other. They be­long to ev­ery­body and they be­long to no­body in par­tic­u­lar.

They are af­ter money and they see noth- ing wrong in killing for it; they see noth­ing wrong with their con­science be­tray­ing and stab­bing oth­ers to prove loy­alty. It is in the na­ture of Nige­rian pol­i­tics to smile and smile while they carry dag­gers in their smiles. They can de­fame even God for power. And to bite the fin­gers that fed them when it mat­tered.

So what has Atiku done that is in con­flict with loy­alty which, in any case, ought to be re­cip­ro­cal. Atiku said he left APC be­cause he found that his op­ti­mism was mis­placed and he con­fessed his fal­li­bil­ity when he ac­cepted the plea of those who per­suaded him to join the party af­ter he had left the PDP. Wher­ever he chooses to berth his ship is en­tirely his po­lit­i­cal pre­rog­a­tive and a per­sonal choice guar­an­teed by the con­sti­tu­tion in a demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion.

In­stead of mak­ing Atiku the is­sue, El Ru­fai and oth­ers who care for or­der­li­ness and the restora­tion of san­ity in­stead of chaos in the Buhari pres­i­dency, must move fast to stop the rot that is threat­en­ing to rub­bish all the no­ble ef­forts and the good work done so far by the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion.

I don’t have any il­lu­sion if I say that El Ru­fai, like many other men and women of good will, is fully aware of the em­bar­rass­ing scan­dals that keep ooz­ing out of the Buhari gov­ern­ment as if there is a de­lib­er­ate pro­gramme to drive into the mud the im­pec­ca­ble im­age of Buhari as a man of in­tegrity, pro­bity and ac­count­abil­ity.

The Maina scan­dal gets murkier and messier by the day and there seems to be no way out of the rot. As if odd­ity has be­come part of the de­riv­a­tive prin­ci­ple of state pol­icy, two se­cu­rity agen­cies, the DSS and the EFCC, both of them agents of the same Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion, are eter­nally en­gaged in mor­tal strug­gle for supremacy and no­body seems to have the nerves to call them to or­der. As this show of shame con­tin­ues, the na­tion con­tin­ues to be scan­dalised and our im­age in the in­ter­na­tional arena gets more bruised.

In­ex­pli­ca­bly, our pres­i­dent seems hand­i­capped as if he has fallen vic­tim of his new found love for a democ­racy that is not built on any de­cent re­spect for hu­man rights and the rule of law. Some­how it looks like he has been per­suaded to read the wrong rules and the dik­tat of demo­cratic prac­tice and all its nu­ances, a con­sti­tu­tional equiv­a­lent of the Satan­ic­verses.

Truth be told, there is ab­so­lutely noth­ing in the so-called due process ar­chi­tec­ture that al­lows the pres­i­dent’s ap­pointees to scan­dalise his name and bring odium to the pres­i­dency and go scot free. He has the power to hire and to fire. But will he do so?

No. They won’t al­low him to do so. The eas­i­est way to per­suade him not to do so, I can imag­ine, is to re­mind him of the mil­i­tary days of the dra­co­nian de­crees. But those days have gone and an ap­pre­cia­tive na­tion, de­sirous of good gov­er­nance, se­cu­rity of lives and limbs and a sound econ­omy, has since for­given the past and moved on. Need any­body re­mind the Pres­i­dent that the peo­ple voted him into of­fice in 2015 to fix the na­tion and heal the wounds in­flicted by cor­rup­tion.

I want to be­lieve that he re­alises that in 2019, what will count more than most will not be the per­sonal pop­u­lar­ity that brought him to of­fice in 2015 but the con­tent of his per­for­mance and his achieve­ments up to 2019.

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