“Does Atiku intend to make good things happen in Nigeria or make corruption happen?”
Nigerians especially young intellects and professionals seriously question the former Vice President’s ability, capacity and intention to truly make good things happen in the economy.
“Make good things happen? This was the political slogan of former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar during his 2011 Presidential campaign on the platform of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when he was endorsed by a section of northern elders as the so-called Northern Consensus candidate. Today Atiku is still vying for the nation’s top job on the platform of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku is yet to adopt an official campaign slogan for next year’s Presidential elections but as Nigerians especially the youth whom Atiku has promised to create jobs for and revamp the nation’s economy troop to Obasanjo’s Presidential Library, Abeokuta on Monday the 27th of October, 2014 the question on their lips and minds should include practical illustrations on how Atiku intends to create these jobs and make good things happen. Atiku has strongly hinged his Presidential campaign on his ability to create jobs due to his proven credentials in the private industry. He prides himself on experience and his sagacity to turn around the economy of Nigeria towards progress and all routes to El Dorado seemingly lead to Atiku, at least according to him.
Although the former Vice President is busy on the campaign train to secure his party’s endorsement to fly its Presidential flag, a cross section of Nigerians strongly see Atiku as a dirty chip from the old block that has absolutely nothing to offer Nigerians than continue in his hungry quest for power. Speaking recently, Atiku had claimed that President Jonathan lacked the experienced to lead Nigeria and that he rather has the experience and capacity to make Nigeria move forward than Jonathan.
The Adamawa State born politician in a recent interview with French news agency, AFP on 19th September 2014 was quoted as blaming the current spate of insurgency and violence in parts of the North East of the country on President Jonathan. He said “this insurgency shouldn’t have lasted even six months. Within weeks, we (Obasanjo and I) crushed it because we did not neglect military training and, of course, we did not lack the leadership or capacity to take decisions”. He continued in the interview saying “of course, I’m more experienced than he is. I believe my capacity cannot be compared with his, in all respect” he said.
Well if political analysts vested in the workings of the Presidential system of government are correct then it shouldn’t be hard writing off Atiku’s claim as self-serving as the administration he is referring to and also taking credit for the decisions taken or would have been taken as at then was an Obasanjo’s Presidency. Even a primary school pupil of basic Social Studies knows perfectly well that a Vice President is a spare tire in a boot that will remain there for the entire lap of the journey unless call upon due to a tire bust. So therefore, how Atiku who has never ruled or managed Nigerian economy for even a single night happens to be more experienced in ruling a country than President Jonathan who has ruled and managed Nigeria for over four years and still counting beats the mind and imaginations of most political scientists and logicians. To further pour cold water on Atiku’s claim is the fact that the administration which he draws his experience from cannot even endorse him to take over the decision making chair. Now who is fooling who?
Another place which scratches Atiku’s claim to better manage Nigeria’s economy can be found in his autobiography titled “My Life”. Reading through the book, one can easily spot how he intends to make these good things happen in Nigeria through his voodoo business strategies. For all intents and purposes, Atiku labored in vain to explain how he came about his stupendous wealth. Quoting from his book in Chapter 6 which he titled “Making money”, he wrote “I recognized very early in life that I have a good nose for business. In 1974 I applied for and obtained a Federal Staff Housing Loan. The loan, which amounted to 31,000 Naira, was the equivalent of my salary for five years. I was granted a plot of land by the Gongola State Government at Yola Government Reserved Area (GRA). I hired a foreman and began building my first home. With close personal supervision, the bungalow was completed on time and to my taste. I rented it out immediately. The rent I collected in advance on the plot was substantial enough for me to purchase a second plot. I built my second house there and rented it out. I continued to plow back the rent into the building of new houses and within a few years I had built eight houses in choice areas of Yola”…..
A man who’s only visible source of income before coming into political office had been as a Customs officer now claiming he legitimately built an empire worth in excess of billions of naira spanning oil and gas, maritime, agriculture, private university education institution, banking etc. is fit for the Guinness Book of world record and his strategy is unprecedented in history and beats the business acumens minds of Harvard trained business professionals and top business executives, and Nigerian youths should please as a matter of necessity organize a business seminar where Atiku should be invited as the guest speaker so he can pass on his entrepreneurial strategies and experience to young Nigerians. But one can bet Atiku with all certainty that his business voodoo miracle to wealth beats all sensible business reasons and is completely dubious. It is even more heart wrenching to hear Atiku repeatedly speak in public fora that someone with experience of managing business like him should be elected not GEJ. I wonder if his dubious business style which most will hurriedly conclude as corruption is what he intends to bequeath on Nigerians and our future generations. Atiku’s sudden route to fame can only point to one direction which is corruption and this is the reason Atiku is still fighting to occupy exalted public offices.
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.