A tourist’s guide to 2019 Nigerian general elections:
Two Sides of One Coin: The Atiku-Buhari Campaign Manifesto
There is an interesting dynamic in Nigerian politics especially as it concerns former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) as they lock horns this February.
The first thing to understand is that the two dominating political parties in the country that boasts of itself as the most populous black country on the planet can only produce two septuagenarian gentlemen who have been at the helms of affairs at least once before now. In the broom corner, we have one whose middle name is “integrity” has made it a hobby to be dishonest about his character, educational qualifications and other crucial details. This leads us to question whether his name is what he claims it to be. In the umbrella corner, we have one whose name is the thief, international criminal and one thousand and one profanities.
In recent times, I have been plagued by the questions: “How did we elect someone who was greatly hated as a military head of state to be a civilian head of state?” “How come over 150 million people are stuck recycling the elite class” the second question is crucial because it exposes that while there have been four civilian heads of states since the return of democracy in 1999, there have been two former military heads of states. It also rings true because the second major contender is a one-time vice president of the country.
In my opinion, PMB spent the first two years of his tenure negating his arguments, and this is a cry for help made with resonating pertinence by the Nigerian democracy. I find humorous the argument of Buharists the world over. This is because of the fact that they do not find it difficult or tiresome to have the job of constantly explaining all the actions of one person. They in fact always find new explanations for his actions, inactions and misactions. The most bewildering thing is that they seem to have one common mind where these excuses stem from as they hardly have negating explanations.
PMB has admitted to crimes against humanity when he was a military head of state by explaining to international audiences that when his military administration would often arrest and detain people because they believed detainees to be guilty until proven innocent. It is also shameful to the Nigeria public that it seems like news articles printed in the newspapers shortly after PMBs military administration are the same printed in this present dispensation.
In 2015, many Nigerians expressed, and rightly so, that their fear was the age of a 72-year-old PMB and how he would fare as head of state. This fear was however dismissed since we have seen and heard of many great men leading their country with virility and vigour even in old age. Some of the men in this category are the American incumbent Donald Trump. My fear this time around is not the age of the man but the telltale signs of old age. It seems to me (although not to Buharists anyway) that PMB is beginning to have some symptoms of dementia (or any other mind wakening disease that affects old people). Sonala Olumense of Punch Newspapers agrees to this because he records on20th of January 2019, he argues that it is obvious to the world PMB is “mentally, psychologically and physically fragile, incoherent and discombobulated”
On the other hand, Atiku Abubakar, the younger of the pair, has his hands dirty and a backlog of profanities that would colour his days as sand colours the beach. I will start my argument by drawing attention to the fact that Atiku very articulately (pun intended) stated that he grew up an orphan selling firewood on the streets of Jada meanwhile on page 30 of his autobiography titled My life he stated that his mother died when he was a 38-year-old man.
The man Atiku Abubakar who was a high-ranking customs officer with business acumen showed up as a sudden millionaire who was offered the opportunity to be vice president between 1999 and 2007. The interesting dynamic here is that due to the PDP traditions, he was definitely heir to the throne but due to the rift between him (Atiku) and the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku was unable to forcefully replaced (trust me the level of corruption, high handedness and autocracy in the PDP of that time would blow your mind to bits). This led to Atiku’s years in exile where he watched activities from the corridors of power waiting for his chance.
His chance resurfaced in a very ceremonial reconciliation event with his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, which interestingly involved clerics and other types of pacifists. It smelled of all types of foul play and Obasanjo stated that Atiku offended him, the party and Nigerians and he (Obasanjo) would be the person to receive the apologies and as such, Atiku would be endorsed to run for the Presidency as the ripe young age of 73. Again, foul play.
I think the dynamic doesn’t get more interesting until you think of the fact that one person whom our country produces as a candidate for its most precarious leadership position was declared a wanted criminal by the United States of America (I laugh in phrases that mean deep sadness). In fact, this status was so cramping on his movement and activities that when he did succeed on going to the united states, his campaign teams tried to show it off as an achievement.
During Atiku’s tenure as vice president of the country, the billions of dollars that passed through his office for various programs often showed no signs of progress. Examples include the privatization program which started privatizing the electricity sector up to no avail. As in the case of Buhari’s 1983-1985 tenure compared to his tenure so far from 2015, I would like to scream at the top of my voice “A LEOPARD CAN NOT CHANGE ITS SPOTS”.
There you have it, elections are at the corner and we have really no choice but to wait and watch as time unravels mysteries. We are indeed between and THE EGYPTIAN ARMY and THE RED SEA.
Choose your direction wisely.