“Nigerians should elect a president who has the innate ability to hold the peace and unity of Nigeria in trust and in sanctity and apply political policies for national unity and stability – this is the kind of leadership Atiku brings”
When Turaki Abubakar Atiku offered himself for service to his people as Governor of Adamawa State in 1999, little did he know that the whole nation would find him suitably qualified for the position of Vice-President in that same year, but as fate would have it, the Governor-elect of Adamawa State as he was then known, took oath of office, not as a Governor, but as the Vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As a northerner who is matrimonially connected to the Southwest and the Southeast, Atiku has played an enviable role in stabilizing Nigeria politically since his advent in active politics about twenty years ago. Atiku, It would be recalled, was behind late General Shehu Yar’adua‘s decision to sponsor Nigerians of credible character in the zero party local council elections of 1987. This singular act later snowballed into the late General’s successful political metamorphosis, which Atiku personifies.
Political observers often remember with nostalgia Atiku’s statesmanlike sacrifice to ensure that the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) did not play into the waiting hands of General Babangida’s mischief-making machine. Having come third (closely) behind MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, Atiku was to go into run-off election in the SDP national primaries in Jos, he realized that a clear winner will not emerge from the trio of Abiola, Kingibe and himself, he was also quick to see the imminence of the disintegration of the party in the wake of a stalemated primaries, which of course, would give the military another excuse to extend the handover date, he offered to withdraw from the race, to pave way for the emergence of a clear winner in favor of late MKO Abiola.
The adoption of the Shariah legal system by the Zamfara State Government generated a lot of heat and animosity among Nigerians. Very prominent citizens in and outside Government (in a most unstatemanly manner) pitched tents with their respective religions, without considerations for the interest of Nigeria. Atiku hastened to make a national broadcast through which he reaffirmed and invoked the spirit of unity and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians of all tribes and religions. This gesture doused the tension and ensured the quick return to national stability.
Attempt by the Ghali Na’abba-led House of Representatives to impeach President Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2003 challenged Atiku’s credentials as a political icon and a stabilizer of Nigeria’s democratic order. But the Vice-President moved swiftly to re-assert his image as a reliable antidote to troubled political waters in Nigeria, by putting into action a reconciliation strategy that brought all conflicting parties to reason. While most astute politicians in Atiku’s position would have passively allowed the president to be impeached for them to inherit the presidential office, Atiku preferred to wait for his time.
This brings us to the pressing need to elect a president who has the innate ability to hold the peace and unity of Nigeria in trust and in sanctity.
Our problem as a nation stems from the inadequacy of patriotic political leadership. Most of our leaders since independence have preached the gospel of a united Nigeria without reflecting it in their official action. Some of our past leaders, particularly those of them from the military, have abused the confidence of the people and traumatized the national psyche through their looting of the public treasury.
Rigidity or liberalism does not make an ideal Nigerian leader of today; but the consistent application of socio-economic and political policies for national unity and stability by the leadership is what the country needs.
This is precisely the character and leadership quality that the ‘Waziri Adamawa’ Atiku Abubakar represents.
Atiku for instance, was the prime mover of 13% derivation on oil revenue to oil producing states, which his political mentor, the late general Yar’adua (Rtd) facilitated into the report of the Constitutional Conference of 1995. Atiku believes that no amount of resources is too much to be sacrificed to allay the feelings and fears of maginalization by any group in Nigeria. It is much to his credit also that the 13% derivation principle is enshrined and sustained in the present constitution.
Little wonder therefore, that many Nigerians see Atiku as a leader who will not stick to his guns on matters of public policies while the nation boils. It is even widely believed that the Niger Delta problems shall be history if Atiku becomes president in 2019. Atiku is said to nurture a plan to mobilize enormous resources that is unprecedented in the history of fiscal budgeting in Nigeria, for the development of the Niger Delta region So that the issue of environmental degradation resulting from oil exploration becomes a thing of the past. The approach is said to be novel and independent of all previous arrangements including the NDDC and the derivation principles. The former Vice-president and now President to be has confided in his top aides that the issue of the Niger Delta is very close to his heart, because of its persistent threat to the unity and political stability of the nation.
A closer look at Adamawa state politics will give one the exact impression of what the Waziri Adamawa thinks of Nigeria. Being the first Moslem Fulani politician to champion the emergence of a democratically elected Christian minority Governor in Adamawa State, Atiku came under intense pressure from some hard-line conservatives in Adamawa politics to lend his support to a Fulani majority gubernatorial aspirant in the 2003 elections, but he refused. Because to him, their interest was not further than ethnic bias which should not have a place in the politics of Nigeria, He lent his support to the then governor of the state on the account of performance and fairness to the people of Adamawa State. This is a remarkable milestone considering the fact that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a traditional ambassador of the Fulani ethnic group in his position as the Waziri Adamawa.
Perhaps, no event attested to Atiku’s credibility as a compassionate political leader like the events in Plateau State. Ordinarily, the PDP Presidential aspirant and by the grace of God, President to be should be the most offended by the killings of Fulani Moslems in Yelwan Shandam early 2004. But he decided not to bear grudges against anybody regarding the mass murder of his kinsmen (Fulanis). Rather, he worked tirelessly for the quick return of peace and democracy to Plateau State. Such are the qualities that have endeared him to many in the political landscape.
Suffice it to say, with Atiku as president in 2019, every Nigerian would be a winner. Knowing that individual poverty and collective underdevelopment elicits the feelings and fears of maginalization among the people, he is not likely to leave any stone unturned in ensuring that meaningful development is distributed across the nation without bias or favor to any group in the Federation. The Waziri Adamawa has the pedigree to give every Nigerian a sense of belonging in the governance of the nation.
In 2003, During the PDP primaries, several PDP members of note made known their intentions to contest what analysts described as one of the most competitive ruling party primaries in Nigeria’s history. Similarly, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was under pressure from relevant quarters within the PDP to contest the primaries but he chose not to run against the then president Obasanjo.
Atiku’s decision was premised upon the following reasoning:
(a) That it would amount to personal over-ambition to contest primaries against the president who has successfully presided over the government in which he (Atiku) was the Vice-President, and has implemented every policy with his active collaboration and support for four years.
(b) That such a contest between the incumbent president and his vice shall create a very sharp division in both the party and in government, resulting into the possible collapse of the nation’s nascent democracy.
(c) That the Presidential primary was an opportunity for him (Atiku) to showcase his loyalty and support as Vice-president to president Olusegun Obasanjo and their government.
The Vice-president’s loyalty and support for his boss was broadly acknowledged throughout the party primaries. The president himself was seen leading his vice by the wrist to the podium at Eagle Square Abuja, where he proudly told Nigerians that the vice president has contributed more than any other person to the success and survival of his government and democracy in Nigeria during his first tenure.
Amiable, focused, and patriotic, the man Atiku Abubakar leaves nobody in doubt over his accomplishment as a consummate politician, and as a catalyst of cohesion both in government and in the national politics.
Nigeria has been led into socio-economic and political calamities in the past by some all-assuming and unpatriotic leaders.
Primordial considerations like religion, ethnicity, and geographical proximity to crude oil resources should not be allowed to determine the next Nigeria president. Rather, the ability to provide meaningful development across the Federation through which the fears and feelings of maginalization among different groups can be allayed and put permanently to rest. This is why the PDP flag bearer and Presidential candidate for the 2019 election Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Waziri Adamawa) is the most suitable and eligible man to lead Nigeria to the next level