Weep Not for Atiku
For me, any form of pity for Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in his recent tango with his boss is misplaced. I think Atiku, as the architect of his own woes and as the progenitor of our present problems, got it coming. Rather than sympathise with him, Nigerians who believe that the vice-president is being punished for humiliating President Olusegun Obasanjo in the run up to the 2003 polls should literally pour water on the sand and drink there from in jubilation. Because the man who weaved the whip with which they are being lashed now tastes the rough side of the same whip! We must not have any soft centre for such a person.
Before I make my point, let me clearly say that I am not holding brief for Obasanjo in this fight. I am also not a sadist who enjoys the pains being inflicted on Atiku just for the fun of it. No. To be sure, I don’t admire the president’s face, and that is exactly why I clap as he lampoons his vice. I will always be thrifty with my sympathy with the vice-president because he single-handedly plunged us into the present quagmire of having to contend with a sadistic president who doesn’t want to go despite widespread indignation against him.
My quarrel with Atiku is that even though he knew well enough that Obasanjo had inflicted enough grave wounds on Nigeria and Nigerians by the end of their first term, and despite the fact that he could stop him by the wave of the hand, the vice-president rallied round his political machinery to return the president in 2003. We don’t need to go far in our history books to remember that Atiku was instrumental to Obasanjo’s re-election in 2003. Reports had it that Obasanjo kneeled before and begged Atiku to get his support. We Nigerians on the other hand shouted ourselves hoarse in unison to anybody who could do it to help us get rid of the president. But Atiku clogged his ears against our deafening cries that the president must go so that our suffering would end.
In fact, shortly before the PDP convention in which Atiku strenuously worked to convince his political associates to back Obasanjo, the president was facing an array of charges of gross misconduct by the National Assembly. But for the unwarranted intervention of some misfits, the man would have been impeached. Coming out from the impeachment imbroglio, Obasanjo was the hardest sell you could display in any market. During the convention, he was facing heavy weights like former vice-president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who could have run the president down and give us some good governance. Atiku said it himself on the eve of the PDP primaries that he could defeat the president or pair up with Ekwueme to rout him. But notwithstanding the resentment of Nigerians against the prevailing misrule, Atiku chose to go with the president, simply because he thought he could bank on the president’s support in 2007. May be Atiku did some rough calculation and found that he would better off that way because he would be in the presidency for 16 years, that is eight years as Obasanjo’s vice and eight years as president. Now the president has made it clear even to a blind that Atiku would never succeed him. He has also ruined the country further and is devising ways to transmute in to an emperor, in spite of not only Atiku but the nation as a whole!
Had Atiku done the right thing, which was to jettison Obasanjo, Nigerians would have been paying less than N30 for a litre of petrol, because I can’t see any other president, be it Ekwueme or even Atiku, increasing the price of what we are the sixth world’s largest exporter notwithstanding the soaring international prices. That we are paying through our noses and even eyes to fuel our vehicles alone should make us think twice before shedding our tears for Atiku! I need not recap the ills being perpetrated by Obasanjo to make my reader appreciate the level devastation Atiku brought to this country by virtue of his role in returning the president. They are glaring for all of us!
Many of these politicians crying foul as Obasanjo cuts Atiku to size are merely shouting because their man is on the losing side. They are not crying for Nigerians or for democracy. When people like former political adviser to Atiku, Dr. Usman Bugaje talk about democracy, I laugh. This is a man put up for the race into the House of Representatives just for the single purpose of becoming the speaker. He benefited from the PDP’s rigging machine and ‘won’ an election that was far from free or fair. It was not even free from fear! His Jibia/Kaita federal constituency of Katsina state was among those with the highest record of thuggery in the state during thie 2003 elections. Since he lost his speakership race to another man whose election was no less dubious, Bugaje consistently criticises Obasanjo for being an intolerant despot. If the Bugajes are truly for Nigerians why did they allow Atiku to run with Obasanjo in 2003 since by that time they knew quite well that the president was not a democrat?
In my opinion we should not weep for Atiku. Let us leave such task for Bugaje and co. Ordinary Nigerians should all remind the vice-president that he is not only the mason of his travails but also a huge investor in our collective troubles inflicted by this government. The honourable way out for such a man is for him to divest from this project. It is never too late to seek for redemption.
Aliyu writes from Buhari Housing Estate, Gombe