THE 8TH NASS LEADERSHIP CRISIS: WHY ATIKU ABUBAKAR CANNOT BE PRESIDENT
Let me first of all thank Turaki Atiku Abubakar for his efforts at politically guiding some members of the 8th National Assembly, and for usually been the first to congratulate them, whether rightly or wrongly, for “victories won” in their various battles for leadership.
I recall how he readily congratulated the Distinguished Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara when they emerged as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Reps respectively, in spite of the displeasure of the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC), amongst whom he belongs. I also recall how he, on the same day, at different times, received in audience both Senators Saraki, and Godswill Akpabio in his Asokoro-Abuja residence as the media reported.
As the one who publicly led protesting members of the Peoples Democratic Party in a walkout from the party’s August 2013 Special National Convention, to form the legally unrecognised New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), led them into refuge under the All Progressive Congress (APC); and in the face of the initial stubbornness and disobedience of both Saraki and Dogara to invitations and positions of the APC leadership, he contributed nothing to help the party persuade them, Turaki Abubakar was clearly the “hand of Esau” in the political movie premiered in the National Assembly before, during and after the 9 June NASS leadership debacle.
For being the elder who did nothing but openly watched the she goat struggle with delivery, I feel very obliged, at this time, to thank Turaki Abubakar for permitting the resolution of the initial leadership crisis in the House of Representatives. Let me also congratulate Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the incumbent House Leader, for emerging victorious in the just resolved battle of political wits in the national House. I am particularly happy that the House of Reps is now dressed up and set for the business of lawmaking. I congratulate Nigerians.
I have followed Turaki Abubakar’s aspirations from 2006 when he unanimously won in the Presidential primaries of the defunct Action Congress (AC), flying the party’s flag in the 2007 Presidential elections, in which the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua emerged as winner; to his poor showing at the 2014 APC Presidential primaries in Lagos. I was passionate about his initial brilliant political insights. As a devote fan of his, at the time he fell out of favour with then President Olusegun Obasanjo, which forced him to briefly live as a vagabond, until his victory at the court; to when he unfortunately abandoned the AC for the PDP, I was always sympathetic to his cause in politics. Unfortunately, on the night of the 2010 PDP Presidential primaries manifestos presentation, I observed a Turaki Abubakar who was desperate for power. Sitting before my television, I saw a man who could sacrifice the goodwill he enjoys for the expedience of his aspiration to be President. From then on, my sympathy for his political cause decamped.
I may be wrong in my assessment of Turaki. No one should score me wrong, because I am not saying that he cannot or should not aspire to the highest office in the land, nor exercise his right “to be voted for” as the law provides for him; my grouse is with his political instability in his quest to be president, and his usual political wrong timing for acting the political whore: he loves choosing election periods for political whoredom. He missed a good chance at becoming President in 2011 when he deserted the AC: he could have done better than Nuhu Ribadu, because he was the candidate chosen by the North for that election and he had goodwill in the South West and some PDP States. If he had also appreciated how desperate he was for the presidency, the best chance he had was in 2002 when he was nudged by almost all the PDP governors to test his political will in the 2003 Presidential election, but he missed that chance by playing the good boy to Chief Obasanjo: the lesson, Saraki and Dogara refused to learn because they both appreciated their own desperation. Was it really about not allowing the “had I known” derivate apply to them also?
Those opportunities Atiku missed, in my opinion, were the best he had to ever be President, and his losing them robbed him of any other opportunity for him to so be, in sha Allah! I dare to be divine in my submission that “Atiku Abubakar cannot be President of Nigeria” anymore than I challenge him to test my persuasion. I am speaking as one who was his unsolicited and very willing political volunteer.
I risk sounding like a broken record: all the intrigues and disobedience, orchestrated by both Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara against their political party leadership, their consequent emergence as leaders of the 8th National Assembly, and their subsequent resistance to apportioning of “principal offices” according to the recommendation of the APC were pointers to the fact that members of the nPDP intended to harvest ALL available positions in the 8th Assembly in order to usurp the powers of the legislative arm of government; acting as spoilers for the governing APC. This is manifestly to help position the nPDP political machinery in good state for the 2019 Presidential election. Taking positions by force to garner maximum privileges from both the APC and the PDP is a troubling, diabolic political machination.
This character unveils the nPDP group’s sustained lack of political ideology and direction, save for the stocking of human and financial patronage for themselves, and the continued impoverishment of Nigerians. These are surely and definitely not times to continue playing “kalo kalo ” with our lives. This is the reason I started this piece by thanking Turaki Abubakar for allowing the spirit of political inclusion and camaraderie to reign in the emergence of principal officers of the House of Representatives.
Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako and the few northern cohorts who teamed up together to “cut Tinubu to size” accused him of been “overbearing”, and concerning the elections in the legislature, “interfering”. They accused Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu of single handedly nominating the leaders of the executive arm of government and the party leadership in order to control the Buhari administration: is President BUHARI a robot, is he in political solitude?
They said Tinubu nominated President Buhari (CPC) as head of government, Vice President Osinbajo (ACN) as the Vice and Chairman Oyegun (ANPP) as party chairman: my inclusion of their previous parties is obviously to show the calibre of men and where they represent, first to showcase fair apportioning of privileges, and to protest why the nPDP members should see these honourable men as domestic chickens for Tinubu to fry; it is insulting.
I wonder how a set of self seeking individuals would discountenance a successful and a succeeding leadership to arrogate to themselves the power of decisions outside party lines. What was wrong with the APC leadership trusting the Asiwaju enough to consult and consociate with him? I could not even imagine it that some politicians would get themselves ready to embarrass Tinubu if he had attended the last APC NEC meeting. Awon oloju kokoro – greedy people!
In addressing what they term injustice in power sharing, the nPDP members went back to their vomit, romancing with the PDP they so initially despised to make Senator Saraki (nPDP) the Senate President and Hon Yakubu Dogara (nPDP) the Speaker, not minding if the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the South East, core contributors to the APC merger were entitled also to be in the core leadership of the APC government. After all, the APGA is a prominent South East political party, and we know of illustrious Igbomen who were members of the ACN, CPC and the ANPP, which made up the APC. This consideration is about a deserving political party and a deserving region: the Speakership of the House of Representatives was that of the APGA members in the APC and for the South East. Yakubu Dogara should bear this in mind when apportioning juicy committees portfolios please.
Where is the justice the nPDP leadership appeared so desperately upon the NASS leadership scene to address? If these men were not pretenders to justice, the ongoing crisis in the National Assembly would not have arisen in the first place, especially after both Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara had emerged as leaders of the legislature, and also allowing Ike Ekwerenmadu (PDP) to clinch the Deputy Senate Presidency. So I see a good reason to thank Atiku Abubakar for persuading his boys in the House of Representatives to discontinue in the course of Bukola Saraki in its entirety, because the path is now clear for the House of Reps to serve Nigerians, unlike the pretenses we find in the Senate.
I have not stopped wondering how a group of “responsible” men would pass a vote of confidence on a leadership that is yet to take the first step in leading – accepting responsibilities; and only returning from an undeserved recess, which was prompted by 6 days of bickering: “Nigeria, we hail thee”. This is the indignation of Nigerians, and an indication of what is to come, except we “expect another”. It is definitely clear why “lizards nod their heads”. Please this should not be misconstrued in any way please, I have not called Senators lizards.
Is Bukola Saraki truly innocent of been overbearing, interfering in and imposing on the politics and people of Kwara State? Is Aliyu Wammako innocent in Sokoto State…and is Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in Kano? Are there prominent politicians in these States also working to cut them to size? Is their case against Tinubu like that of those who strive to remove the strand in the eyes of others while they have logs blocking theirs…how can they see well enough to act in the capacity they, without solicitation, have acted?
Many wondered why ranking senators from the South South, especially James Manager and George Sekibo, who aspired, dropped their aspirations to support the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio, as Senate Minority Leader…hmmm! Mr Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria, the AIT presenter who anchors “Inside the Paliament” suggestively quoted what is insinuated to Godswill Akpabio’s political-economic mantra “what money cannot do, more money can do”, to douse his thirsty at finding explanation for that “America owner” in the senate. However, I have chosen to see the hand of the Turaki in that “wonder”, otherwise, I have no option than to accept the Marvin Record’s entertainment song “DoroBuChi” as a reality, by accepting the existence of “DuroBuAkpabio”.
The lyrics of that song, amongst others, says “doro gather pass anybody for the gathering…doro get money pass everybody there…doro dribble pass anybody wey try to mark doro…doro is a cheerful giver…doro is a money spender. Anywhere wey doro dey, know say wahala dey…! And interestingly, the first public performance of that song was inside the “bird’s nest” stadium in Uyo, on the day the stadium was officially opened. This is definitely not about Senator Goodwill Akpabio, it is about how compromised our senators are, should it be the case of “DoroBuAkpabio”.
It should therefore not be a wonder to also note that Senator Godswill Akpabio, apart from been the Senate Minority Leader, is also the South South governor who broke the historical jinx that made it impossible for any outgoing governor of South South States to automatically translate from Government House to the Nigerian Senate since 1999 when this Democratic dispensation commenced. That is the man, Senator Godswill Akpabio – a man of history and the nemesis for the nPDP nomads in the APC.
Interestingly, we have a Senate President who is always ready to rule any senator, who makes (Funmi Iyanda’s etisalat advert kind of) “sense”, out of order. Does it mean that the Senate President abhors Fela’s kind of protest in not accepting to learn “nonsense”? Are Nigerians to expect a “nonsense” making Senate? Then why the hasty “confidence” repose on a yet to take off leadership, and why would Senator Dino Malaye, the anchor of “Anti Corruption Network” accept to be bodyguard for an alleged financial crime offender – Toyin Saraki? She is alleged to have laundered away some wealth belonging to Kwara State. She is however “innocent until proven guilty”.
I therefore conclude with a persuasion that neither of Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Waziri and Bukola Saraki will be president of Nigeria. No! Not even in another life, I would rather pray Goodluck Jonathan returns, at least, he has shown not to be desperate, that I can say for sure. Preferably if the next president must come from the north, Governor Nasir El Rufai is young and very promising to rake-up that demand. The forerunners of the 2019 Presidential race should therefore take chloroquin tablets for their feverish dreams, because Nigeria is too vulnerable to be put in the hands of desperate men.