In the year of our lord 2010, while the late president Umaru ‘Yar Adu’a was fighting for his life, the late Dora Akunyili moved that he be declared permanently incapacitated and therefore not capable of continuing as the president of Nigeria. And so was it moved. This paved the way for the Senate to invoke what came to be known as the “doctrine of necessity” which in turn catapulted the then dovish Goodluck Jonathan to the office of president as acting president. The late Akunyili was then a Minister in ‘Yar Adu’a’s cabinet. History, in a different form is repeating itself right in front of our eyes. Jonathan and his supporters played the ‘victim’ card and Nigerians fell for the scam and we are still paying the price. Lest I be misunderstood, making Jonathan the acting president was the only legal thing to do. What I wasn’t (and still isn’t) comfortable with is the ‘victim’ angle.
Going through the Daily Trust newspaper of September 7th, 2017 I came across a reincarnation of the ‘victim’ angle where former vice president Atiku Abubakar alleged in an interview with the Voice of America Hausa Service that he is sidelined in the APC. The interview came at about the same time a video clip of one of Buhari’s cabinet members, the Minister of Women affairs, Hajiya Jummai Alhassan was seen telling Atiku “…our president 2019..”, went viral. I wondered aloud to a friend, could it be coincidental or is it that we are seeing a remake of the Akunyili – Jonathan episode? The storyline may just have been tweaked to change the characters but the goal appears to be the same. Buhari is to be presented as a sick, old man who may not be in a position to lead anymore. By this Buhari, will be presented as senile and if for any reason he may be entertaining the thought of contesting in 2019, he should perish the thought. I am yet to know of Buhari’s plan beyond 2019 so why are people who are supposedly close to him jumping the gun? To force his hands, of course.
With his ‘I have been sidelined’ interview, Atiku is trying to play on our collective intelligence. If my memory serves me right, Atiku has never been “in-line” in the APC. He hedged his bets and lost. Their nocturnal meeting with Jonathan in the heat of the 2015 campaign is still fresh in our minds. That was when his company, INTELS was given the exclusive rights on oil and gas cargo in all our seaports. Now that the Nigeria Ports Authority is reviewing this patently lopsided concession, Atiku is sidelined. Again if my memory serves me right, I cannot remember seeing Atiku throughout the campaign period and as a matter of fact he granted an interview to the BBC the morning after the Jonathan visit telling the world that no one invited him for a campaign. Meanwhile, he forgot that as the campaign coordinator for the north, he was the one to have issued invitations. At that time, he thought he could run with the hares and hunt with the dogs. Playing the victim paid off for Jonathan because he was the sitting vice president and constitutionally in line to take over from ‘Yar Adu’a. Nigerians will not succumb to the same scam twice. This promissory note has expired.
I am sure most people remember Tinubu’s ubiquitousness throughout the duration of the struggle. Tinubu’s plane was the vehicle used by candidate Buhari to crisscross the country; whatever your views on Tinubu, you cannot take away the fact that he is the lord of the political manor. Tinubu’s political machine in the west and Buhari’s unparalleled popularity in the north made it possible for the APC to dislodge Jonathan and his eastern block plus his sprinkling of supporters in the north like Jerry Gana, Atiku Abubakar, Ameh Ebute et al. Which money and contacts is Atiku talking about when he claimed that his contacts and money was what made it possible for Buhari to win the elections. I want to give two instances of the depth of Atiku’s contacts and money in today’s Nigeria. Right in his political backyard – Adamawa – Atiku presented a candidate twice for gubernatorial primaries, and twice the candidate was rejected. And lest you forget, Kwankwaso, former governor of provincial Kano state at the APC presidential primaries, trounced Atiku. I say provincial Kano state just to emphasise how down the ladder Atiku is in terms of contacts. Despite the large amount of money expended by the ex vice president, and despite his supposed exposure at the national level as vice president, Kwankwaso floored him. So which contacts is he talking about?
My advice to the former vice president is to concentrate on his new traditional title of Waziri Adamawa. His political fortune went up in flames long ago since 2003; whatever value he thinks he still has in politics cannot be heavier than one ballot box.
As for Hajiya Alhassan, she will be well advised to resign her appointment and go be the campaign director general to Atiku. There is no shame in that. Just bear in mind how Akunyili was treated the moment Jonathan was effectively in charge – she was shoved aside for the likes of Diezeni. President Buhari is too much of a gentleman to sack you for such trivial outing. It appears you are deliberately goading the hawks around the president to cause for her sack. My appeal to them is to be mature enough to disregard her puerile rant. Please don’t make her a heroine.