By Alex Okiemute Kabba
ACCORDING to the eternal sage, Satayana, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” So is the case with ex Nigerian Vice President and Presidential candidate of the opposition peoples democratic party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar. Atiku, a serial Presidential candidate who had sought the Nigeria’s highest office multiple times on multiple platforms is what the informed will call a political prostitute on account of his fickle devotion and loyalty to any political party or ideology.
It all boils down to Atiku’s vaulting ambition to be President of Nigeria.
It does not matter if the achievement of that seemingly Janus quest has the potential to cripple Nigeria as it’s presently constituted so long as his inordinate ambition is realised on the altar of the country’s ruins, unity be damned! Here are the three historical mistakes that Atiku Abubakar is making which has the real impact of handing Asiwaju Bola Tinubu the Presidency on a platter of gold. The good thing about Atiku’s quest and decisions is that they are now irreversible.
1. OFFERING HIMSELF AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
After eight years of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar has offered himself as a “viable” candidate to succeed the Daura general. Considering the fact that both Buhari and Atiku are from the same geopolitical (North) zone, friends and foes are wondering what Atiku is thinking by allowing his burning ambition to overule common sense in a fragile multi ethnic country like Nigeria that has been playing a delicate unity dance of rotating the Presidency of the country between the North and the South to ensure all citizens have a sense of belonging and remove accusations of domination. This has been a settled precedent since 1999 when democracy returned to Nigeria. Aside from this, even the constitution of the PDP also recognized this fact, of the need for rotation of the presidency. Atiku chose to ignore all these historical facts.
2. MINORITY PICK AS VP CANDIDATE.
THERE is a common saying that the minority has their say, but the majority have their way. That is the way of democracy. Atiku Abubakar chose to jettison this well-established norm by choosing a minority within a minority as his Vice presidential candidate in the person of diminutive and almost mute governor Okowa of my home state of Delta state. Atiku chose Okowa over Wike is the popular refrain in the political discourse. The truth of the matter is that they are both Ibo minorities from different arms of the majority ibo ethnic group. For those who don’t know, the Ika or Anioma (Okowa) and Ikwerre (they added “R” to UMU while replacing the names of their towns in Port Harcourt to distance themselves from the majority Ibo for whatever reason), do not consider themselves as Ibo. So Okowa having been named as VP nominee is now calling himself as Ibo is akin to a modern day rebirth! Go and ask them in Okowa’s town if they will similarly identify themselves as such. So this the second historical mistake of Atiku. Even in Delta state with my Urhobo people majority, Okowa ethnic group, the good people of Anioma are a minority. Atiku should have chosen an Igbo man if he wanted to win with a Southern spread!
SECESSION AND MOOD OF NIGERIA.
FOR the past five years or so, the country has been gripped by secessionist agitation from the South East and the South West of Nigeria, incidentally the two major ethnic groups in the South of the country on account of accusations of marginalization and non inclusion in Federal appointment and not forgetting the deadly activities of local and foreign nomads killing without repercussion. This has threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria and cuts the unity of the country at its seams. Just like in 1999, when the radical, tribal and deadly reign of the ignoble, unmourned dictatorship of Abacha brought Nigeria to a breaking point; we are again facing such a dire situation as a united country.In 1999, we dodge the bullet of disintegration with both the Presidential candidates of the two dominant parties, the PDP and the AD coming from the South (specifically Yoruba) to redress the harm Abacha did to corporate existence of Nigeria.
Today, I am sorry to say, we are back in 1999! The South East wants out of Nigeria! These secessionist movement there are more powerful than all the five governors in the region combined. When the secessionist IPOB calls for sit-at-home, the order is obeyed like a Rear Admiral obeying the Commander-in Chief of The Nigerian armed forces! And the Ibos are one of the three tripods that hold Nigeria. There is also mini secessionist agenda in the South west which has been suppressed for now with exile of Sunday Igboho to Benin Republic. Now the Yoruba are also one of the three tripods.
This is the witches brew of Presidential succession tha Atiku has decided to throw himself because of blind ambition! I have said it before that if APC did not have an ASIDE BOLA TINUBU, they would have had to create one for the survival of Nigeria as one indivisible country. I am not a fool to think that Nigeria can survive where domination, injustice and inequality is the order of the day leading to laughter and mockery once one mention “ONE NIGERIA!”. I don’t want that type of Nigeria. I want a country where everyone has a sense of belonging.
Atiku’s vaulting ambition failed this critical historical factor by not gauging the mood of the country for the Presidency to return to the South in the historical ways it has always been done since 1999. Atiku failed on all three fronts by his ill-advised quest.
Having said that, who stands to benefit from Atiku’s misadventure, I WILL say authoritatively that Asiwaju Tinubu has been handed the Presidency on a platter of gold. Because at the end of the day, even the North does not condone injustice and will be comfortable with a united Nigeria, via an Asiwaju Tinubu presidency. I am unable to see a road for another Southern candidate in the Presidential race.
Even my grassroots mom in Warri doesn’t know who he is, as well as over 70 percent of voters in the North.