The recent political display by the erstwhile Vice president, Atiku Abubakar has left many of his followers dotted all over states of the federation speculating on his next political dance step. It has in the same manner resonated his name on the nation’s political wavelength but this time around with divergent meanings. To the political gladiator without recourse to political divides, the name Atiku has become an anthem of the sort while the common man on the street sees Atiku as a song taken from a familiar hymn book
After listening to differing opinions as conversed within this period on this topical issue and considering our nation’s political platform where switching of tent is part of the game, one can safely situate that he committed no offence. What made the development become newsworthy is that the frequency of his (Atiku) political decampment has become perennial coupled with the fact that he stated in 2015 that APC will be his last bus stop. This to my mind accounted for the ripple reactions that greeted his recent action
However, to the keen political watchers, the above remains a non – issue as our nation’s political space has become a perfect market characterized by free entry and free exit as well a platform where promises are not kept and words not honoured as we have seen people demonstrate in recent times. May be, Atiku is banking on these precedence as our nation’s political history is littered with a long list of politicians who in the time past could not keep to their words;
A typical example of such includes but not limited to Olusegun Obasanjo, who shortly after the demise of General Sani Abacha and his subsequent release from prison in 1998 told the world that he was not interested in leading the nation again , asking how many presidents Nigeria wants to make out of him. But this same man later emerged and served as our president for eight whole years.
On his part, Peter Obi stated in the time past that he will never leave All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) but today he is a full- fledged member of the Peoples Democratic Party. Even our dear incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari announced shortly after the 2011 presidential election that he will no longer contest for the presidency. But today, he is our president and chances are that he may go for the second term.
Another key point is that Atiku as a political veteran is well aware that in war,’ whoever that arrives first and take position is at ease while he that arrives late labours. This fact to my mind must have informed his decision for early departure which in my opinion I viewed as normal. After all, he is still entitled to the freedom of association as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
The only worrying aspect of this narrative is the feeling from some quarters that makes the whole episode looks as if his departure has tore the APC flag or certificate. From my objective understanding, what led to these inter, counter and cross opinions is Atiku’s decision to officially hand in his resignation letter. To many, such is not necessary as they believe that our political climate is neither hot nor cold and as a result, one can be anywhere at any particular point in time.
Atiku as a political strategist that is driven by personal ambition to become the Nigerian president someday, must have realized that APC as it is currently positioned is an encamped ground where he cannot do political battle and win, i.e. if PMB is seeking re-election, hence his decision to jump the boat. But as the waiting game for his next political moves continues, it is my humble submission that the hour has come for the Waziri of Adamawa to recognize that ‘hearing the sound of thunder does translate to a keen ear’
To illustrate the above, it is my conviction that he may not be aware that the greatest assert he has is the people’s support. And as result, should have kept his words as stated in 2015 that APC is his final bus stop. Now, with his sudden decision to move beyond the final bus stop, can he still be trusted by his supporters? It is equally instructive that Atiku understand that what binds every follower to their leaders is unwavering fate built on trust.
He did not remember that as a leader, in whatever you do ,’you are watched closely during crisis, noting every move you make in such times. your subordinate learns a great deal about you and what you really believe as opposed to what you say’ This time is both trying and defining moment for Atiku Abubarka political voyage as he has by this act demonstrated some level of inconsistency that is needed in lives of a leader.
Still on the negative, while this waiting games continues, it is very imperative for the former VP to remember that switching of political tent shares sorrowful characteristics with borrowing of money in the sense that once you starts, it becomes your character. Based on this fact, chances are that we may see more political movements coming from his quarter in the nearest future. Another fact is that in borrowing, your ice of reputation depletes. Invariably, in the estimation of Nigerians, this switching of political camps must have depleted the hard earned reputation of the onetime vice president.
In the same manner, it is pertinent that Atiku be aware that switching is not the major solution to becoming the president as he has other stumbling factors to contend with. One of such is the ‘’I dey laf’’ phenomenon as loosely used by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in one of his remarks when he (Obasanjo) was commenting on the Atiku’s nomination as the census candidate of the the Northerners during the build up to the 2011 election. It will be a practical demonstration of wisdom on the part of Atiku to use this moment to unravel what prompted that laughter in first instance going a step further to turn that laughter to a welcoming smiles.
While we are still waiting, it will also not be out of place if the Turaki Adamawa can tell us the progrmmes he has in stock for the youths as that is what the youths are waiting to hear. This is pivotal because not having any useful programme for the Nigeria was one of the reason he gave for opting out of APC. The youths are anxiously waiting. In all these, one thing I must say that I observed is that this epigram as put by the Waziri Adamawa stands as a wakeup call to all that 2019 is around the corner.
*JEROME MARIO UTOMI is an Asaba-based journalist