2023: Will Atiku take another shot at the presidency?
QUIETLY, there seems to be some political re-alignments and strategizing going on by some politicians angling to contest the 2023 presidential election. While it is an open secret that some politicians are beginning to thinker with the idea of setting up structures across the country, some others are in open consultations, reaching out across the political aisle and setting up outfits. There is no doubt that 2023 will be an interesting year, especially in the All Progressives Congress (APC) where interests from some of the party chieftains from the North, South-East, South-South and South-East promises to shake the party to its foundations with many predicting breakages and dislocation. The APC has performed dismally and abysmally and clearly not provided the ‘change’ it promised Nigerians when it took over the reigns of power in 2015. Whether in the economy, education, health, infrastructure, sports, technology, employment and above all in tackling insecurity, it is one tale of failure after another.
It, therefore, brings the question of credibility and competence as we look up to 2023. Again, the stakes would be high and it will be up to Nigerians to make a decision on the future of the country. Indeed, our political trajectory since 2015 has been all but satisfactory and hence makes that electioneering year a more than passing interest for every concerned Nigerian. While the politicians, especially in the APC, are preparing for an obvious “roforofo”, one name that is being linked for a comeback on the other side of the divide is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa. Since the grapevine have him as getting interested, it is said that it is sending political jitters to folks in power as they continue to chew on the possibility of him contesting, as well as the potentialities and power such ambition will always have. And the fears are for good reasons.
The gift of understanding the complex mix, nature, characteristics, history, agitations and desires of Nigerians is one quality that any candidate for the presidency must possess and do so in equal amount and dose. In this, clearly, the former vice president is way up the ladder amongst his peers and hence the likely reason he would make a successful president if he were to contest and win the 2023 elections. Atiku’s political base and asset is what brings out the managerial expertise in him. He has over the years simply mesmerised others with his gifted and at the same time unique trait of identifying brains across the world and making them household names in Nigeria.
Given the fragile peace in the country at the moment, it is important that an electable candidate is one who does not create suspicion but is seen to be truly nationalistic. Such an individual’s character, antecedents, devotion and values must speak in this direction. The Waziri Adamawa has never engaged in comments which can be laced along ethnic and religious undertones but rather has always been nationalistic in his approach to national issues even when it creates unease at some quarters who are closely related to him. Again, that the Waziri has a grasp of all issues in the country came to the fore in his public discussions at the 2019 presidential election and hence the fear of some of his political opponents who refused to engage in debates, avoiding him like a plague. At those fora, Atiku exhibited class, experience, man management skills, overwhelming candour, deep technical know how and a persona laced with adorable humility. His was a presidential poise that was second to none; a poise that clearly made him the darling and favourite of other world leaders who would rather deal with him. Therefore, if there is any viable candidate ahead of the 2023 elections, it must be candidates in the mould of the Waziri- one lacking in nothing, be it political reach, high urbane mindedness, unbridled experience in local and foreign relations and rare leadership skills. If Nigeria must return to it’s real position and assume its rightful place in the comity of nations come 2023, the electable candidate must have a rare pedigree in both public and private service. He or she must have excellent ability to lead and make hands-on decisions. These, Atiku possesses and simply pontificates.
There comes a time in the history of our country that it must be said we got it right with a political decision we all made as is being said with the leaderships in India, Rwanda, Canada and others that have turned their country’s development curve for good. As regards 2023, therefore, if the Waziri remains the answer to our political, economic and national upheavals both home and abroad, then he is welcome aboard and would get my support if he were to contest. It is time we put a stop to political opportunism and made a straightforward choice between politicians in overdressed robes and those with unwavering competence. It’s left to us, Nigerians, to be on the right side of history with our choice of who will lead us to the promised land. The year 2023 is a major junction for Nigeria, and the turn we take to reset our march towards socio-political and economic rejuvenation will be defining.
- Kachalla, a political commentator, contributed this piece from Abuja.
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