Atiku Abubakar: The Chickens Coming Home To Roost
Babayola M. Toungo
Mr. Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s sitting Vice President by the grace of INEC and the Courts, is going through what may best be described as the most harrowing experience of his political life since his resignation from the Nigerian Customs Service and joining politics. His supporters were sacked from the party National Executive Council (NEC); they were booted out from the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He was publicly called a liar; he was called a thief and threatened with a date with the dreaded Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was harassed and intimidated by Obasanjo’s minions and to cap it all his house in Maryland was searched by the American FBI like any ordinary felon.
At the inception of this democratic dispensation in 1999, it was presumed, rightly or wrongly, that Atiku Abubakar was firmly in control of the ‘Yar Adua political machine that was then the most powerful political tendency among the various tendencies that coalesced to form the PDP. It was believed that this, more than anything was responsible for his emergence as Obasanjo’s running mate in 1999, despite winning the gubernatorial election in Adamawa State. The conventional wisdom then was that since Obasanjo lacked a political “constituency”, the PDM, 'Yar Adua’s political machine will adopt the then political orphan; therefore he needed the PDM’s leader to help enhance his electoral chances. Atiku thereafter became one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful Vice President Nigeria ever had. The management of the nation’s economy was effectively handed over to him to do as he wished. All government companies and parastatals sold in the first wave of privatization done under this government were done under Atiku’s supervision.
At the height of his powers, Atiku Abubakar was ready to battle anyone who challenges his hegemony. The first group he battled with were his former comrades in the PDM. He ensured then that none of them was appointed into any high profile political office – political gladiators like Ango Abdullahi, Yomi Edu were appointed into innocuous offices just to give them a feeling of being taken along for the ride. People like Stanley Mecebuh, Patrick Dele Cole were consumed in the first wave of Obasanjo’s gale. Atiku felt very comfortable to have these intellectuals thrown to the political wilderness for reasons best known to him. And while Obasanjo was decimating the ranks of the PDM, Atiku was sitting by the sidelines and clapping.
Now that Obasanjo has gone through the ranks of all notable PDM big-wigs with a sharp knife to their guts and with no other victim nearby, his attention is turned to Atiku. Unfortunately for the Turakin Adamawa, there is no one left standing to fight for his cause except for few old war horses like Lawal Kaita and Iro Dan Musa. To make matters worse, Atiku was the first person to make nonsense of the intellectuals that made the ‘Yar Adua political machine the formidable force that it was. Men like Farouq Abdulazeez, Dapo Sarumi, Ango Abdullahi, Yomi Edu and many more like them have disappeared from the political landscape in the past six years. It is my opinion that Atiku was scared of competition from such accomplished men, so therefore it was his believe that the political landscape was too small for all them to operate. Now that Obasanjo has turned the heat on him, there is no one left to stand with him against the all conquering emperor. He must therefore be prepared to bear his cross.
In 1999, it was Obasanjo that hasn’t a constituency to call his own. Atiku was the politician with a direct line to any political ‘timber’ worth his salt in the country. It was the PDM platform that Obasanjo used to ride to the Aso Villa. Today the shoe is on the other foot. Atiku succeeded in antagonising almost every single one of his supporters in his first year in office bar sycophants. Atiku’s first line of defence would have ideally being the people of Adamawa State, but these will be the first to hang him given the chance. The governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna who was Atiku’s running mate in the 1999 gubernatorial elections has messed up everybody and his alibi has always been that Atiku doesn’t allow him the leeway to perform. It is alleged that the Federation Allocation for Adamawa State is shared right down the middle between Adamawa State government and ABTI Ventures, owners of ABTI Academy and ABTI American University.
The people of Adamawa State will readily hang Atiku with glee for the fact that under the watch of his dogsbody, while there has not been one public project worth N50 million that has being executed by the state or federal government, there are personal projects worth billions already executed or under construction. The ABTI Academy could be described as the best Academy of its kind in Nigeria in terms of infrastructural development without fear of contradiction. The mammoth construction giant Julius Berger work round the clock to ensure the completion on time of the “world class” ABTI American University while the whole state cannot boast of a “regional class” secondary school to serve as a feeder to the University, though to be fair to Atiku, the owner of the ABTI University and Academy, he never had the poor at heart while conceiving these institutions.
If today Atiku is bearing the brunt of presidential sadism, it only serves him right as it is a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Many lives were destroyed by Atiku; so much theft was committed through his office and person; monies meant for the welfare of the people have been diverted continuously to personal use with impunity; public infrastructures were left to rot while public money is used to prop-up private ventures. At the height of his political drunkenness, Atiku was ready to take on all and sundry that dare cross his path. Today the same people he fought and/ or destroyed are the ones he fervently wishes to come out in his support. He has forgotten the plethora of animus he deliberately cultivated, is now back to haunt. I am no sadist, but honest to God, I will not lose a minute’s sleep if Atiku Abubakar is to be arraigned before a court for corruption and other related offences.
The Turaki and his associates have destroyed so many lives that pitying whatever predicament they happen to fall into will be tantamount to sacrilege. This is my opinion and may the good Lord save us from such leaders, amen.
Babayola M. Toungo
61, Dogon Dawa Close
Unguwan Sarki – Kaduna.