2019: Does Atiku Stand A Chance?

Race For 2019 And Youths Indifference - By Jerome-Mario Utomi 
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There is no doubt that former Vice-President and Wazirin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has shown in the past few months through his wide consultations that presidency is his destination in 2019, leaving many asking whether the Adamawa born political tactician has a chance this time around. Ochiaka Ugwu examines the intrigues that may shape the contest.

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The Nigerian constitution does allow for citizens to choose a president in every four years. It relies solely on a simple majority unlike the American system where it is based on Electoral College and United Kingdom where few men and women who were elected to the parliament elect the Prime-Minister. This has made it imperative for any aspirant for presidency to reach out extensively and consult widely given the fact that he will need the support of every section of the country to emerge victorious. This reality was further confirmed by section 133, (b) of the 1999 constitution which states that the candidate for presidency must have not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of, at least two-thirds of, all the States in the Federation and FCT”.
As election year draws near, there are indications that some politicians have already started consultations and horse trading by stopping at nothing to get what they want – and prominent among them is Atiku Abubakar.
Penultimate week, it was a gathering of egg heads in the media palace at the NUJ-FCT temporary secretariat at Utako. The arena was full with pen-professionals who have come to share their views on the state of the nation. The scenario reached a crescendo when the old hands came to dissect the situation at hand. The present met the past and the discussion was on who clinches the 2019 presidency. With a general consensus that the polity needs repositioning in all ramifications, the gathering resolved that at this material time, we need a president that will have the support of all and capable of providing real solution to our recent challenges.
Before now, most of them have always been coy about revealing names of their choice for the presidency to maintain objectivity as media professionals, but it seems “situation at hand” have blurred in the face of economic hardship, rising agitation, insecurity and reported influence of some selfish cabals holding the Nigerian people hostage on state matters.
To them, the system needs total overhauling by a deep and cerebral politician who will restore the trust of citizens in the country. Atiku Abubakar featured prominently in the possible contenders that will turn the tide for good. He virtually dominated the discussion on who is most favoured to occupy Aso Rock Villa in 2019 based on the fact that he is considered to have the widest reach and acceptability among the likely contenders.
Most of them opined that while Atiku has for a long time been a strong, credible contender, he could be considered a “comeback guy” because after losing the APC primaries in 2015, Atiku gave the party the needed support to defeat an incumbent which is uncommon in our political sphere.
Continuing, they stated that Atiku’s show of magnanimity and sportsmanship in the face of defeat, as witnessed in the APC presidential primary by collapsing his political structure in favour of Buhari, has endeared him to many including his detractors as a statesman and loyal party man. Wazirin Adamawa seems to be a well-connected politician who may use this influence to garner support if he decides to put his hand up for the exalted position, a profile most of them do not fit.
However, coming back to the fore is his penchant for unity and oneness, Atiku who faded into the background after the APC’s victory has reason to work underground to make it succeed in the face of destruction caused by PDP’s 16 years in the saddle. An inside source narrated how Atiku in humility articulated a blueprint on economic retooling which was to be handed over to Buhari, but was thrown away by political hawks who don’t want him anywhere close to presidency.
Opinion molders were quick to point out that Atiku’s greatest albatross may be the former president and his erstwhile boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who is not likely to back a potential Atiku presidency. Obasanjo, though a member of Redeemed Church and a graduate of Theology has refused to be redeemed as he hardly forgives wrongdoing and forgoes revenge. This they said may stand between Atiku and the presidency in 2019.
In countering this, political pundits who are well informed in explaining the Nigerian presidency and voters’ behavior noted that voters’ approach has shifted over time. They held that Buhari’s presidency has opened the eyes of Nigerians on choosing their leaders without any influence from any powerful individual or group. They predicted that 2019 election will be surprising as people will vote according their conscience and personal knowledge of a particular candidate.
They viewed the 2019 contest through the lens of the individual who is contesting the position, arguing that presidential candidate’s success at poll will heavily depend on the person’s action, proven track records and leadership abilities, such as personal style, political skill and communication abilities which will work for Atiku should he decide to run, an attribute many don’t have. They stated that candidates’ personalities will be critical predictor of voters’ behavior.
According them, energetic and proactive individuals with positive outlook will prove to be the most successful candidates. Those who lack these traits will inherently be flawed and have frustrating, or even disastrous outing.
Moreover, political analysts have agreed that there are many reasons why Atiku won’t be president and there also some validity to most of these. Atiku is a multi-millionaire, but his source of wealth has been questioned by many and this is supposed to be his other drawback. That can’t be a real disadvantage, though, can it? Atiku was said to have got his start in business through hard work and economic empowerment through government patronage. With this, Atiku could be said to be a product of the system just like most Nigerians.
To this, political experts maintained, there is nothing wrong with that, because he made a success of his business ventures. “Good for him. At least we all know he can run a big business, a talent that we don’t know if other presidential contenders have. Again, he is not the only multi-millionaire that once served his fatherland in top leadership” an expert noted.
“Although, his opponents did use this to discredit him most of the time, they however fail to apologize to him and commend him for investing the money in Nigeria, unlike many that have their own outside the shores of this country. He should be commended if not for anything, for providing jobs for unemployed youth who always pray for him for giving them lifeline” he said.
Atiku has also been accused of being power drunk which they said made him to part ways with Obasanjo. This is considered to be the biggest albatross around his neck. But this cannot hold water given the fact that he has proved to be a good party man – not even once – in the face of daunting challenges. It is on record that Atiku obeyed the Late Shehu Yar’Adua when he asked him to step down for the late Chief MKO Abiola when he stood every chance to clinch the ticket in 1993 Jos convention. Against all odds, Atiku stood behind Obasanjo in 2003 when he was approached by most PDP governors and stalwarts to contest against his boss. These strongly count in Atiku’s favour, coupled with that fact that he hadn’t been convicted of any financial corruption and that his personal life is above reproach. Not many Nigerians in the statues of Atiku can be described as this.
It was reported recently that Atiku’s big problem was that he was perceived as being endorsed by “Northern establishment” and their big businessmen; and that this was rendering him “suspect” in the eyes of the Talakawa who have not stopped blaming the elite for their pitiful state. It was stated that his recent elevation from Turaki to Waziri of Adamawa is not unconnected to the endorsement. This is certainly too crude to be relevant as Atiku has championed the cause of ordinary Nigerians by giving scholarships and empowering people at the bottom of the ladder. It is also time to remind ourselves that the new president will be elected by every Nigerian through their vote and not by those who choose to hate Atiku for no justified reason.
Consequently, many have this view that the electorate that will decide 2019 contest know what they have in Atiku. They know he’s got more charisma and skills in dealing with people than anyone else that may be interested in the race. He is more presidential than anyone else. They know he’s a Grassroots mobilizer and brilliant tactician. They know he’ll be the opposite of what we have today and will be respected and admired by Nigerians and the rest of the world.
Perhaps, they may be wrong, but then tell me: how will the future presidency be wrenched from Atiku’s hands after his stewardship and statesmanship stance in the last few years and the years to come? It seems for the first time since 1999 the nation will have another real leader.



Source: http://www.peoplesdailyng.com/2019-does-atiku-stand-a-chance/


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