Atiku Abubakar’s Desperation and His Politics of Entitlement

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(Codewit World News)The reported events of Thursday 16th day of November, 2010, highlighted what Nigerians knew all along. For starters, a group known as Coalition of Atiku Northern Supporters (CANSU) who are staunch supporters of the former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was reported to have issued a statement. In their statement, they alluded to the fact that crisis would engulf Nigeria if the Atiku who is the candidate for the North did not get the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination. They stated that the crisis they would cause would be much greater in proportion to the Boko Haram massacres! In their own words:

“This is no threat. Boko Haram will be a child’s play compared to the actions our members can take. We have been patient enough. And enough, they said is enough. The presidency is our right. The fact that we bowed to allow a southerner, Chief Obasanjo, who has now turned to be a betrayer and a disgrace to us to become president in 1999 does not mean we do not know what to do to reclaim our right. We are happy that Turaki has now seen reason with us that what Nigeria needs is a violent change and not a peaceful one.

“We wish to state equivocally, without any ambiguity, that we, the Atiku supporters, are prepared for any eventuality should our patron be refused the ticket he has worked for. Our position remains: Atiku Presidency ‘Za mu iso waje ko wace irin hali’ (We will get there by whatever means) may Allah, the Almighty not CANSU, cancel Nigeria….”

When the above statement was made, I was thinking that they were bunch of fanatics that are getting restive that their candidate was about to lose the nomination and they now resort to threat to intimidate the country. However, to my greatest surprise, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, not only endorsed their statement but also rationalized it! In a statement by his Campaign Organization, he quoted Late President John F. Kennedy saying “those who make peaceful resolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable”. Instead of the former president disowning the group’s statement, he poured fuels into the already volatile situation. It could now be seen that the group is being sponsored by Atiku himself. That little bird dancing fearlessly in the street has a drummer by the bush side urging it on.

It is most unfortunate that the person aspiring to lead the country would sanction violence to achieve his selfish ambition of being president. In my place, we have a proverb which says that it is when the wind blows that we see everything hidden under the chicken’s ‘underwear’. The nomination battle has exposed Atiku Abubakar for what he is. He believes that power belongs to the north and that they only leased it to the south and now wants to take back what belongs to them. To him and some people from the north that have same mentality, Nigeria is their birthright and only they could decide what they would do with it. Whoever denies them of their birthright would be dealt with. To them it does not matter what any part of the country thinks, they owned Nigeria! This means, if you are from any other section from the country, or even other major ethnic groups, good luck to you. To him, the north holds the yam and the knife, whoever the north gives a piece of the yam, would eat it.

Out of Nigeria’s 50 years of independence, the north has ruled for 38 years leaving the south with only 12 years. In fact, out of the 12 leaders Nigerian has produced since independence, the north accounted for 9! On the south’s side, Gen J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Olusegun Obasanjo shared the 9 years among themselves. As John Adams would say, “facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence”. This is our history and they are undisputable. Many people from the north including Atiku want to maintain that status quo. Left for Atiku, anyone else can go to hell! Where is Atiku’s sense of justice? He is touting justice and fair play as slogan without understanding what it means or so blinded by his ambition.

That arrogance and the air of entitlement is what the problem is. The north and even some people from the south believe that no one can smell any federal appointment let alone the presidency unless they leak the north’s behind. Most northerners grew up with the same ‘born to rule’ mentality. Do you blame them? Since they were born, every president comes from the north whether military or civilian, so the attitude would be that it is theirs for the asking. So if anyone from the south becomes president, it would just be like the person is holding it in trust for them, or they just wanted to take a little break. Now that the shoe is on the other feet, it seems like the heavens is about to fall on top of the earth. There is a wise saying, “let the Chairman take the place of the Provost, so as to see what it feels like to be on your feet during meetings”. How about the South East and many ethnic minorities that have never smelled the presidency? Have they lost hope in the union called Nigeria? Of course, they are still alive even if their hope is wavering.

This reminds me of the event in the Holy book, the Bible, where the Israelites were about to be delivered from Egypt. The heart of Pharoah and his servants were turned against his people and they said “why we have done this that we have let Israel go from serving us”. The action of Atiku and some of his northern supporters reminds me also of the actions of the supporters of Senator John McCain. When their candidate was roundly defeated by Barack Obama on the November 4th, 2008 United States Presidential election, at the concession speech of Senator McCain, you could observe lots of his supporters that are bitter, not because their candidate lost the election, but because he lost to a blackman! Most of them were crying ‘how could this happen? How can this black man rule ‘our’ America’? To them America belongs to the white man, period. It was after that incident that the slogan “we want to take our country back” started making waves. To the racist whites, it was desecration of the White House to allow a black man to occupy it. This is what Atiku and his supporters are implying.

Article 7.2 of the PDP constitution that made for the rotational presidency is not superior to the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria. Section 1 of our constitution provides that our constitution is supreme to any other law. In other words, any law made by any group in violation of the Nigeria’s constitution, to the extent of that violation is void. Our constitution gives every citizen right to vote and be voted for in elections. This means that every Nigerian has a right to aspire for any elective post in Nigeria including that of the presidency. I believe that when PDP added that Article 7.2 in their constitution, they were thinking ‘north’ instead of thinking Nigeria. In fact their thinking is that PDP is superior to Nigeria.

Now we know how desperate Atiku could be. Instead of counting delegates, he appears to have seen the handwriting on the wall. He could already smell defeat. Before, he thought that having manipulated the Northern Elders Forum to pick him as the Northern candidate, that being the candidate for the old order is the only thing he needs in order to get the nomination. Also he thought that every northern politician would line up behind him just for the asking. But they got news for him; it is not going to work. Not this time. People are beginning to be wise. What has he done for Nigeria? In fact, what has he done for his northern brothers? How many outside his immediate family has he sent to school? What developmental stride has he attracted to his constituency? Their age long strategy is to keep the poor masses in the north in the dark to better exploit them. The cabals do not want to liberate their own people so that they would keep the power for themselves. They know that liberation of the north and Nigeria is coming and they want to stop it. You cannot stop a moving train without being consumed by its fury! He is touting himself as fighting against the status quo. Who is the status quo?

His song of violence is a sign that things are not going well in the Atiku Camp. I don’t think that he understands what he wishes for. I hope he understands the consequences of his call for arms or his drumming for war. He was on the safe side during the Nigerian/Biafran War so he does not fully understand that war is about life and death. I hope he is ready to match his war rhetoric with action. If he believes in violent revolution, he must bring his family including his retinue of wives and concubines back from their comfort in Dubai, London and United States. Let him lead the charge. He should not use other people’s kids to fight his selfish and irrational battle. It has always been the modus of these privileged fat cats to use the poor and the uneducated ones to fight their battles only for them to be dumped if they are even lucky to be alive.

His statement threatens national security and also threatens the corporate existence of Nigeria. Nigeria fought a bitter war to keep the country one. Nigeria must quell any threat to its national security. Any reasonable government would not stand by and watch politicians inciting the public to resort to violence to hold the country to ransom.  The PDP primary is not the general election. As they would say, it is their family affair. Winning the PDP presidential primary does not automatically mean winning the presidency, just as being the choice candidate of the north does not guarantee PDP nomination.

Atiku or even former dictator Ibrahim Babangida must be made to understand that no individual or even group of individuals is bigger than Nigeria. No one is above the law of the land. They have milked the country dry, what else do they want from the country that has bled for their stupendous wealth? Nigerians are watching and Nigerians are waiting.

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