by Diana-Abasi Udoh
The Presidential elections is closing in and after the ruling PDP has endorsed Mr. President as the sole candidate for the party all eyes is on the nation’s major opposition party the APC on who will fly its Presidential flag. Amongst the main gladiators are former Head of State General Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and some minor names likes Leadership founder Sam Nda-Isaiah, ABU Zaria Professor of Business Education Mr. Mahmood Aliyu.
Of major focus is the former Vice President Atiku who appears to be the only candidate with a comprehensive blueprint on how to run Nigeria. This blueprint was presented to the public and was categorized under 7 key policy areas. However, curiously the major point explicitly missing is corruption which happens to be the major point the opposition party is campaigning upon to take over the Presidency from Jonathan and his PDP.
For the starter minds, corruption happens to be the nation’s main problem where the common wealth of the nation is trickling into the pockets of a few cable. Therefore how Atiku and his handlers missed this massive campaign point beats ones imagination. If Atiku’s antecedents are to be vetted, his major and preceding fall out with his former boss Obasanjo was because of that word corruption. Even a week ago when major backers of the opposition party led by Bola Tinubu went on consultation to Ota to seek the former President’s inputs on the names about to contest for the ticket, it was well reported in the media that Obasanjo singled out Atiku and cautioned the opposition party leaders not to present an unclean vessel to Nigerians. In reaction Atiku retorted that Obasanjo has every right to endorse whosoever he wants but Nigerians will decide who will be President.
There is no doubt whatsoever that it is Nigerians who will decide who will be President come next year as Atiku has rightly observed. But as for Atiku in particular and his candidacy the one important endorsement he must fight to secure is that of his former boss because this corruption noose has hanged for too long over his neck. Atiku might be constitutionally qualified to seek the nation’s top position but he must justify his candidature morally too. The question still remains to be answered: “Is Atiku morally qualified to be President?”. The answer still seems to lay with one man, his former boss Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Of course Obasanjo has just one vote to cast next year out of the millions of Nigerians that will vote next year. But that one vote of endorsement from OBJ to Atiku which has repeatedly refused to come despite numerous trips embarked upon by Atiku personally to Ota to seek for Obj’s forgiveness and approval for the job has refused to come.
It will be definitely hard for most Nigerians to queue behind Atiku if his previous employer(boss) has explicitly refused to endorse him for the position and rather call him an unclean vessel. The moral weight of that one vote, one endorsement from Obsanjo is too huge to be swept under the carpet as Atiku attempted to do last week when he feigned that Obasanjo’s endorsement can go to whomever as he didn’t care, as some of us truly care. It is for a reason that references are sought from previous employers (boss) as an important criteria for a new position.
It will be rather wise Atiku drops his campaigns to millions who still harbor the impression that he is a corrupt Nigerian and campaigns vigorously to one man, one vote Obasanjo. And if he can convince Obasanjo then he can convince millions indirectly because some still believe there wasn’t no smoke without fire when Obasanjo sought to excuse his then Deputy from his administration when the corruption stain came up.
Atiku parading his clearance obtained from the courts that he isn’t corrupt can never be a solid endorsement enough as we all know that the courts in this country also endorsed former Delta State Governor James Ibori as having no case to answer. But in far-away United Kingdom the verdict turned up differently and the courts even labelled Mr. Ibori who is a political associate of Atiku as a common thief. A word as they claim is enough for the wise.
Diana-Abasi Udoh is a writer, politician, public affairs analyist, lecturer, and agronomist. He tweets from @dian4real.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.