Atiku is a founding father of the PDP, the ACN and the APC. The promiscuity is legendary. If he wasn’t rich enough to dole his way to the heart of things every time he has had to move in with one of his ‘offsprings’, he would quite easily have been the most hated politician in Nigerian politics. It was barely 72 hrs into his PDP return before word spread that he had taken over the campaign expenses of Prince Uche Secondus, a party chairmanship candidate and just over a week later, reports emerged that he had donated $10m to the coffers of the party.
But money has never gotten him anywhere. The only time he managed to cop himself a presidential race ticket was when he formed his own party and he was excluded by INEC from that race in 2007. That was the closest he has ever gotten to his dream and again, he will lick his wounds when all is said and done. These are the reasons why.
1.BUHARI’S SHORTCOMINGS DEFINE HIS VISION
Thanks to the social media, politicians no longer have to issue press releases or arrange interviews before they can get across to us. We are just a click of a button away. Atiku is one of the busiest politicians on twitter, airing his views on one thing or the other. What annoys however, is how he keys into Buhari’s misgivings to ‘sell his market’ rather than draw us clear road maps to economic sustainability, diversification or a vibrant health sector. The desperation is sickening.
If Buhari’s 97%-5% dividend-sharing proclamation is highlighted, Atiku will jump up to paint himself a man of all peoples. When what is popularly referred to as Buhari’s ‘northern agenda’ leads to calls for restructuring, Atiku will strongly align himself with those voices. If the Aso Rock rat invasion is raised again, I bet Atiku will tweet to let us know he and his family are clean people.
The thing is this man was once vice-president of Nigeria. If he spent half as much time enlightening us on his efforts at making Nigeria better instead of degrading a man he helped bring into power, maybe he would score real points and not ones that pass him off as an opportunist.
2.A MEMBER OF THE OLD ESTABLISHMENT
Like he rightly pointed out in his letter to comedian, IGoDye, his generation of leaders have failed us. Atiku was there at the commencement of PDP’s 16 year impunity. Nobody remembers him for criticizing Obasanjo for the Odi and Zaki Biam massacres neither do we remember him for resigning over the trillions taken out of our coffers all in the name of improving power supply.
The only real reason some chill was placed on the ‘recycling same old leaders’ vibe is because most mindsets as regards 2019 tell an ‘anybody over Buhari’ story and Atiku is reaping off that like no man’s business. But wait till he gets some serious competition. We’ll remember how PMB; the very best of the old school turned out the worst president we have ever had.
3.THE PDP RETURN FACTOR
Like a number of people have already pointed out, the APC was a haphazard arrangement set in place with the sole aim of kicking out the PDP and as soon as that goal was reached, that arrangement came back to hunt them. There were Saraki/Buhari and Atiku-Tinubu/Oyegun factions in just over a year as ruling party with no convention to fill up vacant positions in the party exco till date. Atiku would have stood a much better chance if he was moving to the APC than the other way round.
The PDP has proved managing power and the different personalities whom it revolves around is not an easy task.Despite having its own fair share of problems, the PDP is more formidable an entity than the APC.
When the welcome parties end, Atiku will find it hard selling his candidature ahead of loyal members of his new family; the proud lot used to handing over their chaff to the APC. Mark these words: Atiku’s return will prompt a lot of PDP members in due time, to wax righteous about party loyalty and having more pride than the APC. Even those eating everything he offers now. I don’t think dishonour in the PDP would take anyone by surprise.
4.LOSING THE NORTH
This is probably the main reason why Atiku will not be president in 2019. Buhari may have drawn bad blood from other regions for unduly favouring the north but capitalizing on that to curry their support only leaves him exposed where it matters most; the north. The one region whose voting power gurgles up that of other regions combined.
The northern electorate are a very sentimental bunch. Despite performing dismally, PMB still enjoys a lot of love there because the average man on the street has been programmed to see him as not only pro-masses but one with his best interests at heart.
It would have been okay if Atiku had vouched for reconstruction and gone ahead to sell it peacefully but tweets about how dilapidated houses in the north were compared to the east that had survived a civil war doesn’t suggest he fully understands the long run consequences of appearing an enemy.
The entire Atiku machinery at the moment seems geared towards other regions; the very enlightened ones who already understand the need to change the present status quo.The real task lies in selling his candidature to his people and that I doubt he can do.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano. He tweets via @alaye26