It was difficult figuring out how to complete the cuboids of the headline as published in Saturday, August 27 edition of Thisday newspaper.
It is understandable that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in the throes of intra-party squabbles and it is also not objectionable that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is in a quandary as he struggles to lay his hands on the control levers of the erstwhile ruling party.
But, what doesn’t fit into the mix is the attempt to bridge former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to Sheriff’s travails. It may seem as though to pep every political exclusive story, it must be laden with an Atiku dimension. Until recently, the impression out there was that Atiku was indeed the puppeteer of Sheriff’s shenanigan in PDP’s power tussle, and now the same Atiku Abubakar is being purportedly fingered as the ventriloquist behind his travails. The puzzle is now how to figure out, which narrative to believe. A story built on falsehood will surely collapse like a pack of cards.
But as unwieldy as the article in the Thisday newspaper is, it portrays the narrative that has trailed the Atiku persona and his political career in the last ten years or thereabouts, which is that Atiku can never become a president of Nigeria because of the corruption perception against him – need we remind ourselves that this same man (Atiku) has neither been tried nor convicted by any court of justice here in the country or overseas.
Since the defeat of Obasanjo’s third term bid in the National Assembly, Atiku’s political opponents have repeatedly devised a conspiracy to blackmail the Turaki Adamawa on the notion of corruption. It was a conspiracy that was initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which is continuously being sustained by political opposing minds to vilify Atiku before the electorate.
Of course, corruption is enough reason to reject any presidential hopeful. But that is when there is iota of evidence to back up such claim. In the Atiku situation, nobody has been able to establish any case of corruption against him or an evidence of his corruptibility. After almost ten years of his being out of government, and with different administrations in succession, nobody has pinned Atiku to any case of corruption, nor has any anti-corruption agency made a claim of investigation or culpability against Atiku.
I suspect that we have been victims of elite conspiracy bug and until we diffuse our minds of that bug, we may never be able to make a wholesome appreciation of the electoral choices that we may make in future election circle. I should reason that Mr. Tunde Rahman, the writer of the article in Thisday or any such writer on Atiku should be more scientific in their frantic efforts to brush Atiku with corruption tar. Provide a clear case against him or forever keep quiet and respect the intelligence of your discerning readers.
The media has helped a lot in propagating the smear campaign against Atiku since 2006 when the third term bid was defeated. This is 2016 and it is obvious Atiku has moved on from answering questions on phantom corruption allegations. He has busied himself trying to reconstruct the national dialogue along the line of restructuring, helping out-of-school children get back to classrooms for learning, providing employment opportunities that create jobs and creating jobs as well for the adults and young and also mentoring young entrepreneurs to help create more jobs. The distribution of seedlings to farmers in the North-Eastern region to help them get back to farming after the destruction of their means of livelihood by the Boko Haram insurgents is just a thing amongst numerous tasks he has engaged himself in. These are the ideals that the decade demands and these are ideals that the elite of this country must key into.
With the Buhari administration barely midway into the course of its term, it is incredulous that some political merchants are already out behind masks with daggers drawn thinking of 2019 and, for them, the best way to make themselves relevant, is by doing the usual: demonize Atiku.
Nigeria as a nation; should move beyond this level of pettiness. Atiku gets that and, it is high time his traducers understood that fact too!
By Atiku Media Office