The die is cast. The stage is set. History beckons. Nigerians are about to witness the fiercest political royal rumble in the annals of our political punditry come 2019. The primary election of former vice president Waziri Atiku Abubakar as formidable presidential candidate of the PDP has practically altered the entire political permutations cum matrix, as far as next year’s presidential election is concerned. It’s a different ballgame now. Atiku’s historic crowning as the PDP candidate—in an election adjudged as the most freest, transparent and rancor-less presidential primary recorded—even by his co-aspirants, has sent whirlwind of jitters into the camp of the APC; by extension Buhari’s presidency.
There has been uneasy calm in the ruling the APC since Atiku emerged. They’re fidgeting and sweating profusely not because a candidate was thrown up by a credible process alone, but the electoral consequences of facing a political war veteran and master-strategist; who is about to erupt political volcanoes in the nation’s political hemisphere. The palpable fear amongst Buhari’s hardliners, is that political colossus called Atiku Abubakar has the virile and entrenched machinery to dismantle sophisticated rigging armory aimed at stopping his election as next president of Nigeria.
His vast and formidable political structures across the six geo-political zones of the Nigeria, is what the APC dreads so much. Buhari Media Center (BMC)—the APC’s propagandistic outfit; where all the prejudiced narratives and flawed conjectures of Buhari’s government are cooked-up, has been grasping for breath since Atiku was announced winner of the PDP primary in Rivers State. They have been in mourning mood since the PDP ended its elective convention without crisis. Firstly, these propagandists planned unleashing media onslaught on the opposition, with the hope that the PDP would come out of the keenly contested primary divided and fractured. Their ignoble expectations were dashed by quintessential Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led Electoral Panel Committee, who raised the bar of electoral process and subsequently exposed the INEC’s gross incompetence and brazen partisanship as seen in the Commission’s recent outings.
Having successful walked on the thin ice of presidential primary that produced the most prepared economic maverick and cosmopolitan candidate for the office of the president in the personality of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has passed its greatest test and overcame complex web of hurdles on its sojourn to Nigeria’s seat of power. By electing Atiku as its candidate and skillfully managed to keep the big umbrella house united after a rigorous contest, the PDP has succeeded in handing over the baton of electoral race to Nigerian masses on the streets to take back their country from tyrants, economic neophytes, managerial greenhorns and ethno-religious supremacists.
The euphoric acceptance of Atiku’s candidacy by Nigerians across ethno-religious cum geo-political lines and zones, as observed in their psyched reactions, quaked the fledgling foundation of Buhari’s presidency. Its ‘terrific’ impact reverberated in Buhari Campaign Organization, of which, out of panic propelled Festus Keyamo—the campaign spokesman into releasing already deflated and punctured propaganda against Atiku Abubakar. Nigerians, out of patriotic volition, are the ones blowing up BMC’s jagged propaganda against Atiku mid-air, even before it crash-lands. All the insidious fallacies targeted at maligning his larger-than-life image are dead on arrival—all thanks to Nigerians who have vowed Never Again! The hope of “Getting Nigeria Working Again” via emerging Atiku Abubakar’s presidency has reignited the hitherto lost nationalism and patriotism in Nigerians.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari are two parallel lines of socio-political and ethno-religious ideologies that can never meet on the political spectrum. The duo represents instinctively extremes of political philosophies. While one represents ultra conservative absolutism; the other epitomizes liberalism as embodied in constitutional democracy. As one portrays retrogression; the other images progression. One is a true federalist—an unsung apostle of federalism as pigeonholed in restructuring, while the other is a staunchly unitarian as exemplified in unitarianism—over concentration of power at the center.
One is a gifted expert in deploying persuasive skill of lobbing, concessions and deal-making in solving national issues, his rival is an ardent believer in the use of brutal force of state power to quell any dissenting voice cum opinion at the expense of people’s lives, businesses and freedom. One of the candidates, as a job creator—who has provided thousands of jobs as an individual in private sector, is an advocate of a liberal and stimulated private sector, his opponent is an agent of command-and-control structure, whose erection of bureaucratic leviathans in the system crippled Nigerian economy and pushed us into first economic recession after 30 years. Under his watch, 18 million Nigerians have lost their jobs. Certainly, no one can give what he doesn’t possess. Nigerians, the ball is in your court.
Nwobodo is a public affairs commentator