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OPINION: Atiku, Obasanjo and the politics of bitterness and vindictiveness



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Since the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (GCON) as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the 2023 Presidential election, so many elements within the country that are apprehensive of the towering political stature of the Wazirin has been talking and fidgeting. Chiefly among them is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo the former President under whom Atiku served as the Vice-President of the Federation. As is characteristic of him, Obasanjo has been flippant before the PDP primaries to preempt the election of Atiku and ever since the primaries that produced Atiku, all in his futile bid to malign the personality of Atiku. But as expected of a mature public figure that Atiku is, he has maintained his calmness and preferred to concentrate on the task ahead – the task of mobilizing and sensitizing the people to rescue the nation from the throes of inept leadership foisted on the nation by the likes of Obasanjo who has been on the corridors of power since the era of civil war when Atiku was still a youth and who has been at the helm of affairs in the country but has used his position to pursue personal and primordial agenda.

The recent happening in the political scene has shown clearly that Obasanjo is one of those working against the emergence of true leadership in the country because the status quo favors his selfish interests. Obasanjo’s divisive tendencies have worked against the PDP fold and against Nigeria unity as a country. He is one known to speak from both sides of his mouth. After misleading the nation in 2015; promoting his military acolytes and indirectly working for his kinfolks, he is at his game again. Just as he did against Goodluck Jonathan, this time his misguided utterances are directed at the Wazirin of Adamawa with the aim of discrediting him among his teeming supporters and Nigerian electorates who want to vote for Atiku to rescue Nigeria from the brink.

To the uninformed and the gullible mind, Obasanjo may appear patriotic, but to those who knew from close quarters, who knew his antics, he is very mischievous. As one of my colleagues in Diaspora rightly observed, Obasanjo is a mischievous old codger who would climb a ladder and destroy the ladder to prevent another from using the same ladder. Obasanjo used the PDP platform that he never was a founding member and destroyed the party and terrorized the founding members till date. Atiku is a founding member of PDP and was the one that was Obasanjo’s political anchor when his Yoruba people who knew his pedigree rejected him in 1999. We know Obasanjo’s antics and his grouse with Atiku.

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Obasanjo is inconsistent and unreliable and should not be taken seriously. To Obasanjo, Atiku was a reliable partner in 1999 when he Obasanjo, has no political base and needed one desperately at that time. But in 2007 just before the expiration of his two terms, the same Atiku became unreliable to Obasanjo because Atiku chose to be patriotic and loyal to the constitution and to Nigerians, and not to Obasanjo who plotted to perpetuate himself in power. And again, in 2019, the same Atiku whom Obasanjo pummeled and vilified in 2007 was endorsed by the same Obasanjo and today the same Obasanjo has unleashed his attack again on Atiku because he is contesting against Tinubu his tribesman. All these go to portray Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as an unreliable tribal irredentist whom we should not take seriously.

It is unarguable that the likes of Obasanjo are usually afraid of liberal minded people like Atiku who will effect positive changes in the polity. Is it surprise that Atiku is championing the crusade to restructure the nation to engender peaceful and harmonious co-existence? It is an indubitable fact that Obasanjo cannot extricate himself from the problems plaguing the nation at present. Obasanjo wants desperately to maintain the status quo because it favors people like him. He pays lip-service to national unity whereas he works against it in a more subtle ways. He pretends to be a nationalist but in reality he is an ethnic jingoist. Obasanjo has been at the corridors of power since the 1960s. He has been president twice yet we cannot pinpoint what he has done right. Whatever achievement he recorded as the President between 1999 and 2007 has Atiku’s imprint therein. He pretends to be hate corruption but records shows that he is one of the most corrupt Nigeria alive today. In civilized climes where people are held accountable for their actions, the likes of Obasanjo should be cooling off in jail where he rightly belongs like Jacob Zuma.

Obasanjo has exhibited characters that are unbecoming of an elder statesman. Those deserving of the title of elder statesman never talk out of turn. They are never openly partisan in their conduct and utterances. They preach peace and unity at all times. When the likes of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Emeka Anyaoku among others speak, the nation listens because they are patriotic statesmen. Obasanjo utterances has actually demystify him and shown whom he really is – a rabble rouser and a trouble maker. Elder statesmen do not make unsubstantiated allegations neither do they comment on every matter that is in the public domain.

We know that he is angry with Atiku because during their time Atiku knew his constitutional responsibilities and therefore refused to play puppet to Obasanjo who demanded loyalty from everybody like an imperial overlord. Obasanjo should know that Atiku has nothing personal against his person. He should be honest enough to acknowledge Atiku’s courage and patriotism; his courage to take a principled stand on issues bordering on national interest during his time. Rather than being petty and vindictive, he should commend Atiku and recommend him to Nigerians. Nigeria needs a patriotic leader like Atiku who would not play puppet to reactionary forces that think they own Nigeria.

AUTHOR: Hajia Hadiza Mohammed…

Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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