In 2010, the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) met and constituted a committee chaired by a former finance Minister, Adamu Ciroma. The committee had, in its terms of reference, the responsibility of selecting a single candidate out of the contestants then, as a way of charting a formidable political direction for the North.
The contestants were General Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and fomer Governor Bukola Saraki. The candidate so selected would contest against Goodluck Jonathan at the PDP primaries. Atiku emerged as the consensus candidate. They couldn‘t have been more correct because Atiku is a patriarch and his pedigree stands him out as a true democrat.
Despite this consensus choice and the confidence exuded by his followers, the circumstances and the events that played out from Aso Rock and the king makers in PDP frustrated his well oiled political machine. The democratic structures he built with friends and colleagues in the business of politics were hijacked and confiscated leaving him prostrate with only his ardent followers.
At this juncture, it is germane to respect his resilience spirit to continue to participate in our fluid democratic presentations. His signature in the Nigerian project cannot be wished away because history and posterity will hold us accountable. He was the consensus choice then and still the consensus choice today and hopefully for 2015.The list of those wanting to be president in 2015 is growing by the day especially in the North which is getting restive with the idea of power rotation or zoning. Atiku is a political gladiator with decades of experience that dates back to the military era.
He has a political outreach well greased over the years with standing monuments in the Nigerian democratic. If the North wants to be taken seriously they should invoke the consensus agreement reached in 2010 which settled for Atiku preparatory to the 2011 general elections. It should be assumed that the consensus understanding still subsists until the mandate is realised. The purpose for that consensus idea has not been realised and we all know how impossible it was to realise it because of the do-or-die politics that prevailed at that time. All the processes were compromised!
Atiku‘s mandate is more marketable than some of the names featuring today. He stands out towering in our political landscape better than most of these fair weather politicians navigating our shores . Leaving Atiku now for a new choice in our presently unpredictable polarised political terrain is a luxury that we should not contemplate because it is like taking a nap beside a tranquilised lion.
The eminent persons in the North should go to the drawing table immediately to map out strategies to garner support for Atiku as the consensus choice. This mandate should be presented to the South immediately as a way of assuring the South that there is no hidden agenda in their quest for power rotation which is meant to foster unity and engender equity. This is the only way they can erase all the distrust and acrimony pervading our country today. He should not be perceived as a northern choice but a Nigeria people’s choice.
The recent romance between Obasanjo and Atiku is a welcome development. If there is anyone that should wholeheartedly support Atiku, it should be his former boss, Baba Iyabo. And it is very timely for him to throw his weight behind his former deputy because it will send the right signals. This rapport with Baba Iyabo is a further testament that Atiku is still the preferred choice because nothing seems to have changed.
The Atiku Campaign Organisation should get to work immediately setting up structures and mobilising aggressively for the challenges ahead.