In pursuit of Nigeria of our dream

In about two years from now, it will be time for Nigerians to decide clearly who should move into the Presidential Villa as the next president. To say that the stakes would be high, given the performances so far of the All Progressives Congress (APC) since assuming power in 2015, is to state the obvious.

Indeed, for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the opportunity to win the elections and regain power come 2023 has never been this golden. But how strategic and acceptable its choice of presidential candidate will be the turning point, the game changer and the masterstroke as it will make or break its chances at the poll. The PDP must not be in a rush to support a candidate but embark on an intensive, sophisticated selection process that Nigerians can rally round and see as ‘Project 2023’ in terms of execution.

In this permutation and foresight comes the Atiku Abubakar candidacy. While it is still believed that Atiku, the Waziri Adamawa, won the 2019 presidential election in many quarters, the otherwise Supreme Court’s decision necessitates that Nigerians look forward.

To posit that, in contemporary times, no politician like Atiku has been groomed and manifestly exhibited capacity, competence, resilience, acceptability and overwhelming presence to push this project, is to drive home a hard fact that the PDP power brokers must explore ahead of the elections.

One issue that will become a subject of debate in 2023 will be power shift. While this will be seriously contested, it is however, a fact that the Waziri Adamawa possesses the persona, appeal, humility, charisma, political and urbane nature to not only heal the nation of its divisions and strife, but given his antecedents to rally all Nigerians in a fair, just and equitable society where every Nigerian is proud to be a stakeholder in the Nigeria of our dream. With Atiku, the North, South, East and West are at home.

Indeed, given his sacrifice for the democracy to thrive and his accomplishment as the vice president of Nigeria, as well as the entrepreneurial expertise he commands in running his vast business empire, Atiku’s history with Nigeria is clearly one garnished with hard work, resourcefulness, candour, resilience, strength and rare leadership skills which, over the years, has set him apart from other politicians, especially with his highly cosmopolitan nature. He radiates, extols and, indeed, lives these shining qualities and disposition.

His knack for tapping into resourcefulness also accentuates his leadership skills as the vice president during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was credited with assembling super technocrats who contributed in no small way towards making the Obasanjo administration a success.

That Atiku will hit the ground running from day one if he gets the presidency is a fait accompli, and the reasons are not far-fetched. Having sat as the head of Nigeria’s economic team as well privatisation process, there is hardly any economic issue that the former vice-president does not have his hands on. His various economic blueprint, which has always been publicised as an alternative to government policies, clearly showcases a man with a grasp on issues bothering us as a country and collectively as a people. There is no doubt that he will revamp and restructure the economy and make it truly the biggest in Africa and highly competitive among world economies.

On restructuring, which is arguably a highly contentious issue in the polity, the Waziri Adamawa has for long sided with its proponents, noting that it remains the way to bell the cat or pull the nation from some of its economic woes. He has presented different ideas to support such arguments in different fora. Not shying away from the issue of restructuring, Atiku, who has never engaged in double-speak on this subject matter, believes that it will empower even our local communities and that in the long run, the entire nation will be better off for it.

Then comes the issue of acceptability, politics and followership. Till date, it remains to be seen which Nigerian politician is blessed with friends across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria like the Waziri Adamawa is. There is hardly any community or local government that Atiku has no party chieftain readily available to work with him. Such is the gift of his nature and mien.

At the last 2019 elections, it was clear who the youths and women entrusted with their votes. Given a free and fair election, Atiku will always emerge victorious because of the wide acceptability he enjoys among Nigerians irrespective of creed, tribe or religious persuasions.

Therefore, as 2023 inches closer, the PDP must know that, given the failure of the APC over the past years in governing the nation, the opportunity to reclaim Aso Rock is real. However, it must go beyond internal squabbles and political sophistry to ensure that a truly wanted and qualified candidate is presented to the people.

There is no harm in pursuing the Nigeria of our dream till it is realised and, just like William Shakespeare said, “Not all the waters in the rough rude sea can wash off the balm of an anointed King,” the PDP must realise it is blessed with Atiku Abubakar.

Balogun, a political analyst, writes from Ibadan





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