When the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) released time table for 2019 elections, it was a subtle way of sending politicians to the starting blocks for that race. Many of them had gone ahead of INEC to leave the starting blocks long before INEC sent that official signal. Atiku Abubakar’s move in seeking solace in a party he had turned his back on two previous occasions is a move off the starting blocks to 2019.
He has been as consistent as President Muhammadu Buhari in pursuit of his ambition to be at the helm of Nigeria’s affair; a journey that began in the 90s when his political master, General Shehu Yar’Adua, died in mysterious circumstances in detention in the iron fisted reign of the goggled dictator, General Sani Abacha. Atiku has the fought the battle of being his own man in the political arena at great personal expense.
His effort to stop the third term gambit by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, may well be Atiku’s greatest political battle to date, one for which he has yet to be totally healed from the bruises sustained in the process. Perhaps the battle ahead, may even be fiercer, given that power is taken, not given. At 71 Atiku, expectedly, will go for broke, although no one yet knows if the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) ticket will be his for the asking.
Those who know and fear his political prowess may infiltrate the party and plant surrogates whose purpose will be to thwart and truncate Atiku’s bid for the ticket. The other day some governors and people who profess to be following the ways of President Muhammadu Buhari, visited him in the presidential villa and told him they to stand for elections in 2019.
In spite of protestations by the likes of Wole Soyinka that such people do not wish the president well, given his health status, they have continued to say it from the rooftops that President Buhari should stand up and be counted for 2019. Truth be told, the President Buhari we now see is way healthier than the one that went for medical vacation in London. If health is the sole parameter, Buhari is in top shape.
There are other issues which may have negative impact on his journey to 2019. His parochial mode of appointments, which has tended to confine the nation to one corner, to use the title of a Ghanian song that elicits wild sensual dance styles, may be an impediment.
A census of those who run the security apparatus in a country as vast and multi-ethnically structured as Nigeria, gives the impression of an inexplicable slant. The Minister of Defense is Dan Alli and his counterpart in Internal Affairs is General Danbazau(Rtd). The Chief of Army staff is Tukur Buratai, Daura is in charge of DSS, Monguno is National Securuty Adviser, Rufai Ahmed Abubakar(NIA) and Idris is IGP. One part of the nation is stacked against the others. This line-up is a huddle on the president’s road to 2019. His supporters have been hard put to explain such brazen lop sidedness which shows the scope of the President’s barometer.
The man acts within his powers and thus has breached no constitutional provisions, I hope, in such appointments, but that simply doubles the task for his marketers. I hear that White House staff in the United states now shiver every time Trump goes to his Twitter handle just as Buhari’s team would now shudder every time he makes an appointments. I recall that a delegation from one zone visited the president on a courtesy call and told him pointedly that there was a slant in his appointments.
He gave his word to take a census and redress the situation but current appointments have made progress on the same slanted road. Such huddles are avoidable.The political environment is abuzz with whispering that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo may have shown preference to returning to his chambers and the pulpit rather than continue in office, a situation that would leave a vacuum for the president to fill. There is no confirmation for the foregoing neither is there any for the person being touted as replacement. If the whisper is true, it will be another big huddle to 2019.
As we observed last week, the Presidency has made moves to tackle the herders problem and the senate’s marching orders to the police to fish out the perpetrators of the Benue killings are welcome developments. How the police and other agencies proceed on this announcement would give vent or cast deserved aspersion on comments insinuating tacit protection for these murderers who have equated human life with that of cows.
The move by security agents will show if the president’s promise to deal with the matter is as good as the promise he made to review his appointments which has turned out to be political words to assuage visitors, nothing beyond false hope. I add that this Benue matter is a major curve on the road to 2019 which political enemies would make a huge capital.
The party in power must have seen that there is more to governance than a handle on the media, spewing out tons of propaganda to get at the people. The saying about the end of those who live by the sword is playing out now that the same media seem to have turned its back to those it made. Un apologetic skewing of appointments has strewn thorns on the road to 2019. I have heard that the president would rather stick to loyal friends in appointments than consider the political propriety of such moves. Those who packaged 2015 must return and repackage 2019 or dismantle the house they built.
The road to political victory can no longer be built on propaganda. The people in power must do well not to hand their opponents the rope to hang them, Those who have arrogated the power to determine who mounts the saddle must also know that a time comes when the people take back power.