Musings on Atiku for President

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THIS REPUBLIC By Shaka Momodu, Email: shaka.momodu@thisdaylive.com. SMS: 0811 266 1654

How do I begin to write about former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition? Where do I start from? I hardly know with any certainty. But what I do know with the certainty of day and night is that former Vice-President Atiku Ababakar, an indigene of Adamawa State wants to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2019.
His campaign has practically commenced and damn anyone who thinks otherwise. He has latched on to the issue of the moment: restructuring and has been campaigning on that platform at a time his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is foot-dragging on it. Atiku is making all the right noises at the moment even at his party’s expense. While the APC continues to equivocate and prevaricate on burning national issues such as marginalisation, particularly of the South-east, and restructuring the federation to make the country work better, the former vice-president continues to score a bull’s-eye with his interventions in contentious national issues.

Atiku has had a chequered political career. He once ran as a candidate on the platform of the defunct Action Congress (AC) in 2007 after he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but was roundly trounced. On the two other occasions, he failed to get his party’s ticket, first under the PDP in 2010 after defecting from the AC to his former party, the PDP. And in December 2014, when he contested for the ticket of the APC, after he yet again, defected from the PDP.

For those who thought Atiku would give up and rest his presidential ambition in peace after his last failed attempt, they were sourly wrong. Atiku would be 71 in a few weeks’ time, November 25 to be precise and 72 years by election time in 2019.

About 17 months to the next presidential election, Atiku’s shadow already looms large in the political calculus, such that any aspiring candidate already knows one of their would-be opponents.

Let me concede that the former vice-president has every right to aspire and contest as many times as he desires until he either achieves his ambition or gets tired trying. For those who may not know, Atiku’s ambition to govern Nigeria actually dates back to as far as 1993 in the days of the evil genius, military president Ibrahim Babangida; when he (Babangida) was using Nigeria as a laboratory for all sorts of political engineering and experiments. Atiku, who was then a Yar’Adua boy, at least politically vied for the ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). It can be safely said that Babangida’s banning of Yar’Adua and Olu Falae who were front-runners from contesting after the ill-fated staggered primaries of the now defunct SDP paved the way for the likes of Atiku, Babagana Kingibe and of course MKO Abiola, to step forward and slugged it out for the SDP presidential ticket. The ban also affected front-runners like Adamu Ciroma and Umaru Shinkafi of the NRC which also paved the way for Bashir Othman Tofa to contest and eventually became the NRC presidential standard-bearer.

In the first primary ballot, Abiola scored 3,617 votes, Kingibe 3,255, while Atiku polled 2,066 votes. Trounced by Abiola in the first round of the primary ballot, there was intense lobby for Atiku to drop out of the race to allow a straight fight between Abiola and Kingibe. After pressure from Yar’Adua, a distraught Atiku stepped down in deference to his godfather. The whole calculation was to weaken Kingibe’s support and boost Abiola’s chances of clinching the ticket which he eventually won. Yar’Adua then vigorously pushed for Abiola to nominate Atiku his running mate.

However, Abiola against expectations picked Kingibe who had the backing of the state governors then who like we have today, had constituted themselves into a power bloc. Yar’Adua was not pleased but as they say, the rest is history.

Fast forward 1998. Atiku wanted to be president but realised the sentiments in the land after the death of Abiola were strongly against any Northerner becoming the president. Not to be politically redundant, he went for the governorship of Adamawa State and won easily. But over the late Abubakar Rimi, Obasanjo picked him as his running mate. But his ambition to become president never diminished nor abated. The desire burned deep in his heart.

And very early in the life of the Olusegun Obasanjo tenure, Atiku had started to plot to upstage his boss. And that is a sacrilege in the school of power and politics. By 2001, Obasanjo, his boss, knew he had a problem in his hands when stories started flying in the media on the need for Obasanjo to follow the Mandela option: serve one term and retire to his Ota country home. It did not take rocket science to figure out who was beating the drum.

This brief historical voyage is necessary to help the younger generation better understand the nuances and theatrics of some of the current political actors, and situate them in the context of Nigeria’s political history. It is also to show that Atiku Abubakar has indeed come a long way in Nigerian politics and that his desire to rule Nigeria spans over two decades.

Atiku is a tenacious fellow who pursues his dreams with uncommon energy and zest – a quality that ordinarily should inspire, but is increasingly becoming a troubling liability and baggage for a man who once boasted that he had “three options” at the height of his influence. He appears not having any real option now but to scavenge for assurances of the ticket as the standard-bearer of his next party.

Let me also state here that he is a fighter and a consensus builder, arguably the most cosmopolitan politician of northern extraction to contest for the office of president of Nigeria. He has friends all over the country who support his presidential quest. His cosmopolitan credentials are furthermore enhanced by his marriages to women of different ethnic groups in the country and even beyond. To some, he appears to be the “best prepared” of the many candidates eyeing the presidency. He has splendid credentials as a businessman and an investor of immense means with interests that cut across various sectors of the economy.

To be honest, methinks he would have made a better choice to Buhari and even the much younger Rabiu Kwankwaso – a man very much like Buhari, a rabid bigot who sees everything from the prism of North vs South and would care less about burning his bridges to promote his narrow ethnic interests over and above national interests.

Despite some people’s claim about him being the “best-prepared” aspirant, Atiku suffers a huge deficit: perception. It is a problem for as long as I can remember. And in the eyes of many, perception is reality even though it’s not necessarily so. Accused of sundry allegations of corruption but never proven in a court of law, he carries the huge baggage of suspicion that may still return to haunt him and his ambition. I have a sneaking suspicion about his defence and for some funny reason, anytime Atiku is mentioned, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa immediately jumps to my mind. And whenever I think of Zuma or read about him, Atiku comes to my mind. I have no idea why this is so.

For Atiku, the quest to become president has become an obsession-motivated desire and even now borders on aggressive desperation. A serial “decampee” from one party to another in search of the ticket to contest for the presidency, he appears set to repeat his now infamous nomadic trademark in politics, given some of his utterances of being “sidelined” in the APC. Many have said that it is just a matter of time before we see him move again from his party to another party, maybe, the PDP.

And then of course, the party that has learnt nothing from its loss will celebrate his return with a “sweet-home-coming” red carpet reception. Meanwhile his reason of being “sidelined” in the APC, is eerily similar to the reason he gave for leaving the PDP to join the APC just a few years ago.

Atiku’s decampment from one party to another usually starts with his associates dropping not-so-subtle hints in the media to test the waters for weeks or even months of not getting a fair deal; then the masquerader will become critical of his party, before finally making his move. It is now a familiar trademark of Atiku’s career of switching parties. And some of us are not fooled by his latest claim of being “sidelined”.

A friend joked recently, that should Atiku defect to the PDP and fails to get the ticket, he is sure that if the IPOB assures him of the ticket, Atiku would jump at it. We both laughed. That just underscores how some see his ravenous pursuit of his presidential ambition.

To be honest, he is not the only politician moving from one party to another, it is the character of our politicians of today who lack principle and always want to win at all costs. But his status as a former vice-president places him above others. More than anything else, this particular character trait has created fears about his personal stability and suitability to be president. I will be hard-pressed to support a candidate like him. Politics has become too casual and switching of parties too routine a ritual for Atiku as an aspirant for the high office of president to be taken seriously by any serious-minded person. The four-yearly cycle of his run for president is now greeted with a mixture of derision, loud jeers and at best, with hoarse applause.

My grouse about Atiku doesn’t end there. In 2010 at the height of the controversy whether former President Goodluck Jonathan should contest the 2011 presidential election given that Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in office in his first term, Atiku was one of those who threatened violence, insisting that zoning must be adhered to: “Let me again send another message to the leadership of this nation, particularly the political leadership that those who make peaceful changes impossible make violent changes inevitable,” Atiku threatened at the National Stakeholders Conference organised by the Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders Forum in Abuja.

I had the opportunity to seek clarifications from him in 2014 when he met with editors to intimate them of his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election. At that forum in Eko Hotel, I pointedly asked him what he meant by that threat and if he thought it was in good faith as a former vice-president to utter such a threat. Atiku mumbled and rambled on about his answer. At the end of his response, he said nothing meaningful or convincing to lay my worries to rest.

Of course there is another issue that has worried me. Atiku has never really spoken out on the near demise of public schools – from primary to university levels nor have I heard him say anything on how to revamp our public health system. Yet he was in office for eight years as the vice-president. All I can remember about him in this respect is that he established his own university where only the children of the establishment can afford the fees charged.
Is this the man to now redeem Nigeria? I certainly don’t think so.

We want a disruptive candidate that will disrupt the establishment; a charismatic guy with big dreams, fresh ideas and new thinking to rebuild our country, inspire us and renew our hopes; a selfless leader with boundless energy for national service. We are tired of these recycled aspirants whose loyalty is to the establishment and not the people. Without mincing words, Atiku is part of the problems of Nigeria. Many of us are taking a dim view of his seductive antics to promote his ambition and are looking past him for solutions. He is not the president we want.

  • moribund9ja

    IT IS NOT ABOUT ATIKU
    =====================
    To fix a country and get it working is not a rocket science. To run a country is like managing a family.
    And if Atiku could be able to manage huge family, it means he can easily manage a country.

    But the major problem with Nigeria is that NOBODY believes in this country. But no one wants to accept this fact.

    We don’t believe in the Nigeria because the ethnotribal nationalities who make up the country don’t trust each other.

    We are just forcing ourselves to trust each other and love Nigeria but you can’t cheat nature.

    Buhari who is preaching national unity every minute is practically running an hausafulani govt.

    I wish it could be, but Nigeria can NEVER be any better so long as it remains One Nigeria.

    The manageable solution must be to regionalize the country and operate as a thoroughly autonomous regions.

    The concept of One Nigeria is totally moribund.

  • Leo Ben

    This is a rich account of our recent political history which many of us can’t remember. Thank you for taking us on this voyage. Atiku even though his is better than Buhari in terms of leadership qualities, appears too desperate to be president. In your conclusion we want a disruptive candidate who will disrupt the status quo, someone who will work for the people.

  • Lorenzo Maria

    Nigeria as presently structured is not for those charismatic leaders we dream about but leaders in the establishment. Atiku , former Jigawa governor, etc are all of the establishment. Their eyes are on the petrol dollars and oil wells. Fayose may not be liked because of his criticism of the present government but he is not of the establishment. But young men like Donald Duke , Peter Obi , Markafi, etc abound. Markafi did well in Kaduna. Peter and Duke also did well in Anambra and Cross river respectively.

  • Ralph

    Hate has turned this one into an idiot

  • amebo

    On this one, you are on your own Shaka.

  • AyoJon

    I think This Day should give us a list of 100 good statesmen and also do a poll on who can partner with who.

  • demo

    “We want a disruptive candidate that will disrupt the establishment; a charismatic guy with big dreams, fresh ideas and new thinking to rebuild our country, inspire us and renew our hopes; a selfless leader with boundless energy for national service. We are tired of these recycled aspirants whose loyalty is to the establishment and not the people. Without mincing words, Atiku is part of the problems of Nigeria. Many of us are taking a dim view of his seductive antics to promote his ambition and are looking past him for solutions. He is not the president we want.”
    Polemics, polemics, polemics. Infantile really. Grow up man. Your bias blinds you to the many ways Atiku has been a torch bearer of all that you are here crying for. The question is, who are you shilling for?

  • Zirem

    Nigerians are the cause of Nigeria’s problem, we fail to recognise even when is right in our face, because we have the wrong notion of what is right. Atiku is the definition of a disruptive candidate he never goes with the crowd, his arguments are always issue based, he never fails to remind us how he is a product of the Nigerian system that worked ( which gives him a greater understanding on how to make things right) that you do not see that in him is part of our problem in this country. when we all struggle each day in our daily lives to make things right, but still can’t meet up. Some of us cant even treat the person next him right, what are we talking about Nigerians? why do we blame every other person except ourselves? As a Vice President Atiku stood for this Nations Democracy instead of one man’s desires and he has paid dearly for, we will see that because of cos the people that plant things our heads didn’t hype that, we Nigerians prefer some dramatic act/story instead of the gospel truth. God help us.

    • William Norris

      Many new commenters on this forum, attracted by this article on Atiku.

      “Nigerians are the cause of Nigeria’s problem, we fail to recognise even when is right in our face, because we have the wrong notion of what is right.”

      I AGREE WITH YOU ON THAT !!! My favorite example is the foolish and short-sighted opposition to the withdrawal of fuel subsidies in Jan 2012.

      ” Atiku is the definition of a disruptive candidate he never goes with the crowd, his arguments are always issue based, he never fails to remind us how he is a product of the Nigerian system that worked ( which gives him a greater understanding on how to make things right) that you do not see that in him is part of our problem in this country.”

      THAT’S A BIG LIE. READ THE QUOTE BELOW FROM ATIKU, REPORTED IN THE ARTICLE

      *** My grouse about Atiku doesn’t end there. In 2010 at the height of the controversy whether former President Goodluck Jonathan should contest the 2011 presidential election given that Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in office in his first term, Atiku was one of those who threatened violence, insisting that zoning must be adhered to: “Let me again send another message to the leadership of this nation, particularly the political leadership that those who make peaceful changes impossible make violent changes inevitable,” Atiku threatened at the National Stakeholders Conference organised by the Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders Forum in Abuja.****

      The only thing Atiku threatened to disrupt was the lives of Nigerians on the alter of tribalism. After the 2011 elections, riots broke out in the North, several YOUTH CORPERS were killed. Atiku as evidenced from this article, shares responsibility for inciting those riots.

      • Zirem

        You see that’s our problem right there, we insist we know that truth without facts. Atiku never threatened violence, they all agreed (then members of d PDP on zoning) and the Good luck Jonathan group decided to go against it. If you strike a deal and go against it you are a fraud. But you can prove me wrong with facts, please.

        • ndamba

          Very right on point once again. U are just too cerebral for this forum. Keep up the good work. We shall conquer one day.

          • William Norris

            How long have you been on this forum to know the level of intellect here?

            New members appearing at the mention of Atiku. There must be an Atiku Media Center too, I suppose.

            And Atiku is a known homosexual. Which is to say, Nigeria is fucked.

        • William Norris

          Fraud or not, the choice made by Jonathan to run was LEGAL, completely legal.

          Whatever agreement he made with the PDP was NOT binding; you can’t prove otherwise. That aside, there’s no proof any such agreement was signed and despite many challenges, NOBODY EVER PRODUCED a copy of such a document.

          Now given the above, the threats of violence by Atiku were beyond the pale and in fact they were part of a pattern of incitement that ultimately resulted in the riots that followed the 2011 election IN THE NORTH.

    • ndamba

      very excellent comment

  • Political Affey

    Collapsed states only attracts the people who helped facilitate its collapse. Atiku has never been drilled in the media all his life. The journalists double down when they see him. He says what he wants to say and they listen, after which they gleefully take warm handshakes from him. Interview over. Nobody to tell him the truth.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      You forgot the obligatory brown envelop

  • “Korede

    I agree with Shaka Momodu on this. Let me also add that I have nothing against his ambition and Nigerians will eventually determine who their president should be. I just think our politics in Nigeria has become highest bidder has it.

  • Pete

    Thanks once again for reminding us who Atiku is. It is incontrovertible that this former custom officer is a corrupt man. When he was vice president he used the office to increase his wealth and now he wants to be president only God knows what he will be worth by the time he finishes his term. God save Nigeria from people like Atiku.

  • E.Udah

    Where are the presidential aspirants from the north if the two main political parties have zone the presidential ticket there? Why are they not coming out and showing interest?
    Atiku is out of it, though he’s far better than the demystified “Mr Integrity” (PMB).
    PDP will be making a big mistake to bank on Atiku’s candidature.
    We want leaders that are bold, young, articulate, broadminded, cosmopolitan and intelligent. Not bigots!

  • William Norris

    It doesn’t matter who the current Managers of the Colony throw up as their President. What Nigeria really needs is comprehensive therapy that I’ve repeatedly recommended –

    The creation of TRIBAL STATES based on census self identification in every *MUNICIPALITY* in Nigeria.

    Redo the Constitution to make Nigeria a Confederacy of Tribal States along the lines of the EU or ECOWAS, giving each tribe FULL AUTONOMY on everything internal, including form of government or economy they choose.

    IF Nigeria can’t make that change or decides to continue with the present Federation, then it needs to remake itself into a completely capitalist state with a very weak Federal Government. THIS IS NOT A CHOICE, it’s either Nigeria do these reforms or the people will continue to suffer stagnation and poverty and POSSIBLY cataclysmic violence in the near future.

    I’ve tried to use very simple and easy to understand logic here. The bottom line is that the Nigerian economy doesn’t need industrialization, it doesn’t need more patriotism or better leadership or less corruption.

    What the Nigerian economy needs is LESS GOVERNMENT.

    Privatize and deregulate everything possible as quick as possible…it worked in telecoms, banking, broadcasting, cement so WHY are Nigerians….a majority of the Nigerian people…. still opposed to this?

    If Airports and seaports and the Federal Universities and Health institutions can’t be privatized then hand them over to the States so that there’s at least some form of COMPETITION.

    Abolish all subsidies of every kind.
    Abolish all import and export controls except those based on health or security.
    Abolish all forms of price setting, price controls and price regulation.
    Abolish all the Laws of Colonial Theft….Petroleum Act, Land Use Act, Solid Minerals Act, NIPC Act. Divide up all land and assign title to the owners according to PRE COLONIAL LAWS & CUSTOMS.

    Abolish all INCOME TAX including personal and corporate. Create a new tax system based on CONSUMPTION of EASILY RECORDED goods and services like airline and other transport tickets, phone tariffs, land ownership, sales and rents, bank and stock transactions etc.
    Make it a LAW that the only people that pay income tax are Federal employees (who should pay to their State of Origin) and State government employees (who should pay to the Federal Government)

    BAN ALL FORMS OF GOVERNMENT BORROWING, especially FOREIGN LOANS and if any borrowing is done, the responsible government official(s) making the decision to borrow MUST put up some PERSONAL COLLATERAL to guarantee the loan.

    Then sit back and watch Nigeria become a prosperous, productive and happy nation within one generation, that is about 25 years, no matter if they elect Atiku, Buhari, Fayose or Tonto Dike as President.

    All this discussion about WHO will save Nigeria is pointless. How long will it take you to see it?

    The REALITY and RESULTS of Buhari’s victory and the marriage of his daughter Zara to an oil block billionaire should make every Nigerian realize by now that the essential CONSTRUCT and struggle in Nigeria is over HOW TO SHARE the petro-dollars stolen from the peoples of the crude oil & natural gas producing communities. Essentially ALL economic activity in Nigeria it tied to getting a share of those petro-dollars and led to EVERY NIGERIAN making some degree or another of very unnatural and immoral compromises which have produced the country you have today.

    You said God is a Nigerian and would never allow one-man dictatorship – you got Abacha.

    You said Nigerians were not radical enough to do suicide bombing – you got Boko Haram.

    You said Buhari was a man of integrity and vision – he was wrong on fuel subsidy, forex, he took medical treatment abroad after banning it for all Federal officials, has done nothing about the Grasscutter scandal, married his daughter off to an oil block billionaire and refused to publish his assets.

    Look at Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Rwanda. Your turn is coming sooner or later if you all don’t take up courage. You Occupied Nigeria in Jan 2012 because the government asked you to pay for your own fuel, but you can’t Occupy Nigeria to push common sense reforms that will make life better for you and your posterity. And you wonder why even your First Lady Aisha called your country a Zoo.

    • Jon West

      I am weary. You win!!

      • William Norris

        ???

      • Gary

        Win…by proposing an overnight cloud cuckoo-land transformation of Nigeria from Buhari’s Islamo-fascism to a laisez-faire capitalism right out of Ayn Rand’s promiscuous mind.

        Please let’s get real and dwell within the realm of the real world we live in.
        Everyone can be a radical merely by saying “I object…”.

        • obinnna77

          His proposition is no more utopian than yours: Dangiwa and Obi, indeed. On what planet?

        • William Norris

          First of all, I don’t think it’s possible to do an OVERNIGHT transformation of Nigeria. I’ve always thought that such reforms would take DECADES and that the important thing is for the Nigerian people to have the AWARENESS of what is needed and to elect people who will pursue the policies. Which is why I ALWAYS prefered the capitalist oriented PDP over the more socialist-feudalist ACN, CPC, APC and so on. I was a STAUNCH admirer of AC that was dominated by Afenifere and Bola Ige.

          Back in 2003, people like you thought that PRIVATIZATION & DEREGULATION of the telecoms sector was cloud-cuckoo land, impossible and greedy scheme that would impose an MTN monopoly. TODAY it’s still the same – I have to keep telling people that the privatization of the electricity industry will eventually work very well IF the government would only deregulate prices.

          I had these same arguments when the cement sector was privatized. I remember telling people that the price of cement would likely come down right here on these pages. Biggest of all, were the arguments around subsidy.

          There’s nothing utopian about these proposals, some of them HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE under the PDP and have worked out well. It’s amazing Nigerians don’t have enough intellect or appreciation of reality to LOOK AROUND THEM and continue with GOOD initiatives and REJECT bad policies. I mean, HOW OLD ARE YOU??? Do you REMEMBER when only RICH people could get phone service in Nigeria? Anyone over 40 should be able to OBSERVE & EXPERIENCE the differences in telecoms AND cement, before and after privatization. What’s utopian about that? This is REAL, tangible, EVERYDAY reality.

          By the way, I’m not a capitalist, I merely support what works. My observation is that socialism is more suited to MONO-ETHNIC or MONO-RELIGIOUS societies. Or countries under the CREDIBLE DOMINATION of one group, where minorites have accepted such domination. This is the general reason why European countries have more generous welfare benefits than the USA; within the USA itself, welfare has diminished as minorities get more socio-political rights. Welfarism has a strong hold on the Yoruba consciousness because they practiced it well under a YORUBA DOMINATED Regional government under Awo.

          So the best thing for Nigeria is to get in accord with human nature and evolve a legal system that recognizes the reality of tribalism and individualism and their implications for economics. Or continue with the futile hope of electing a Messiah that will override millions of years of human evolved human instincts.

    • FrNinja

      Norris at his best without the childish racial tirades. I like your tax policies, land policies but disagree about borrowing and govt size. About Nigerians getting what we dont wish for, laziness will do that to you. The soil is rich, the weather nice, water everywhere and then the oil came.

      • William Norris

        What you characterize as childish racial tirades are the REALITY of human nature and it’s best you and your fellow Animals of the Zoo start recognizing and acting like humans.

    • Darcy

      Ha Ha.

      The irony is that it will be Nigerians that will protest your ideas, abolish subsidies keh… Imazi kwa ndi ogbodo gi?

      • William Norris

        You’re right and that is why I’ve said many times that the ORDINARY NIGERIAN PEOPLE, the masses, are the biggest cause of the Nigeria Problem.

        Let’s take something like medical education. A large percentage of students who aspire to be medical doctors in at the Federal Universities in Nigeria do so with the express intent of moving to USA or UK to practice their profession. Secondary to that is the Middle East. Everyone knows this.

        The market price of their education is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and they get it at a highly subsidized rate in Nigeria. As of now the MAXIMUM REGULATED PRICE at any Federal University is 40,000 naira per year.

        So you go abroad and find all these Nigerian doctors taking care of the generally healthier Western populace instead of fulfilling the INTENT of the cheap education they got which should be to take care of their own people. Anyone that wants to go abroad is free to do so, but they should PAY FULL PRICE for their education.

        Same thing with ENGINEERS, it’s not recognized as such because most of the foreign companies they work for JUST HAPPEN TO OPERATE IN NIGERIA, but for all practical purposes they’re working for foreign interests who OWN CAPITAL & BUSINESSES in Nigeria but export all the profit abroad and leave no capacity behind. Isn’t it curious that 50 years of petro-profit in Nigeria hasn’t produced one viable, wholly indigenous exploration & production company?

        I guess one could make the argument that REMITTANCES from Nigerians abroad are a result of those subsidies. I suppose that’s it.

        • Darcy

          Remittances does not even begin to compensate for the lost skills.

        • Iggy

          Please explain how a medically trained person in Nigeria that wants to go abroad would pay full price for the education

          • William Norris

            Right now, students who attend Federal Universities, and some state universities too, pay very low tuition & fees. Right now, the MAXIMUM LEGAL, REGULATED yearly fees at Federal universities is ₦40,000.

            The price of private universities is around what….well, lets just say ₦500,000.

            That means that the Federal Government is providing a SUBSIDY of at least ₦450,000 for each student that attends a Federal University.

            If you use global prices, the subsidy is even higher. In the United States, the cost of a medical degree ranges anywhere from $12,000 to 40,000 per year.

            So what happens today is that the Federal Government kills and pillages in the Niger Delta, steals their petroleum money, and uses it to subsidize all these medical students.

            The students then run abroad with their medical degree and earn fantastic salaries taking care of an already healthy Western populace, instead of staying in Nigeria to utilize their training in the way it was intended, to provide care to the people who paid for their education.

            All to say, the Federal Government should start charging ALL STUDENTS the full price of their university education.

  • Segun Adeleke

    This is a devastating blow similar to the one given to Ameachi that elicited two worthless rebuttals from his media team. We are expecting a hollow, empty rebuttal from Paul Ibe (Atiku Media Office).

    Welldone Shaka!

  • Patrick Otobo

    Shaka, what distinguishes you from your other colleagues (Simon, Dele Momodu etc) is that you always stands for something and we know where you stand. This is an excellent piece. May the end of your pen never dry and may the LORD prosper everything you touch with your hand. Atiku will be worse than a dog if he returns to PDP. Not with the way and manner him and Ameachi et al destroyed the party.

    • Pete

      I admit that Atiku is better than Buhari but the truth is that we need a breath of fresh air we don’t want him.

  • James Gunn

    Whatever happens the pertinent question is this? In a straight fight between Atiku of the Pdp and Buhari of the Apc who will you vote for? I will vote for Atiku simply because he is more cosmopolitan, more successful ( it takes brains to run businesses successfully ) he is not a religious bigot and he will run a more federally characterized government IMO. Cant wait to view their debates.

  • Tunne

    Shaka boooooooooooooooooooooooom!!!!!! Wao….this article is a hit back to back to back. Honestly, I hung on to every word. Disruption is the word. We need a 40 something year Old Bold, sharp, suave, radical with ideas and not-afraid-to-disrupt kind of guy….I know a few

    • Iskacountryman

      40 year old sponsored by dangote?

      • Jon West

        Okay, if that’s what it takes.

        • Iskacountryman

          oooooooo no! …he now wants nigeria….

      • James Gunn

        Nuru Ribadu and/ or Tony Elumelu.

        • sunny okocha

          Any need to bother with a blind man you read that article again for anyone to sell or applaud Atiku’ political career that person needs help you ask yourself does nigeria need a figure like that in modern day dnt bother to email me cos i ll delete it you need help
          Atiku in a transparent clime after all the corrupt pratices will be answering questions and you emailing telling me Shaka’ take on the man merits reasoning go read more book

          • Longhorn

            Is it compulsory that you make a comment? What is the point in all your rambling here now? Mscheew

  • Priestley Okorro

    Thank you very much Shaka. The problem is can Nigerians mobilize and draft Colonel Umar to disrupt the corrupt and inept establishment? Nigerians are too lethargic to draft a quality leader but will usually fall for sweet talk from discredited misrules. What a great pity! That is why i say a fool at 57 years most unlikely to ever become wise.

  • Kelly

    I love Shaka, He is the journalists Journalist. He is direct, and factual, he is not ambiguous with his message and even a fool will understand why he stands for what he believes in. If we can have two more Shaka in our nation, we will move a little bit faster. Thanks for making us have hope in this nation and that there are still men to look up to as role models!

  • Jon West

    “We want a disruptive candidate that will disrupt the establishment”. That is really the crux of the matter. Atiku is the problem with Nigeria – corrupt to the core, forty plus children and countless wives and mistresses all over the world. This is not the Nigeria or Africa of anybody’s dreams. Jacob Zuma, Atiku, Buhari are relics of Africas political antiquity and should all leave us well enough alone.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Thank you
      I actually do not believe that we are having this debate.
      So far, those that have declared;
      Fayose and Atiku – quite depressing – I am almost tempted to use that time old phrase from a certain JW: To hxxl with Nig…….aaargh I can’t say it!

      • Iskacountryman

        keep yakking…why dont you come out and contest?

        • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

          Do you, like everyone else on this forum have an opinion, or are you anonymously, just looking to throw insults?

          • Iskacountryman

            is it the yakking or the challenge for you to cme out and contest that has insulted you?

      • Segun Manuel II

        i suggest Fela Durotoye

    • Patrick Otobo

      Celebral John West! You have delivered your verdict as usual. Have a nice weekend!

    • Gary

      Often and as a result of unfounded idealism rather than pragmatism, we find ourselves perpetually in the ditch by making the perfect an enemy of the good. Ask Nnamdi Kanu and his Biafran hotheads.

      We can shout ourselves hoarse about wanting a disruptive candidate to shake things up. Barring an insurrection of the Castro, Mao or Rawlings type of ridding a country of its oppressors, our ideal candidate still needs to go through the existing corrupt party system of winning nomination and an election.
      And we are not blind to the fact that the first thing Buhari did in office was to pack INEC and security services with his extended family members; even as those who now regret voting for him, cheered him on.

      Nigeria is now a de facto Police State under Buhari, no sugar-coating that reality. It will take more than good intentions or wishful-thinking to dislodge this character whose only takeaway from his overthrow in 1985 is that he would have kept his stranglehold on Nigeria if had surrounded himself with only his family.
      Which he has now done, damning all the howling about nepotism, marginalization and disrespect for Constitutional provisions about reflecting the Federal Character in his regime.

      We must use what and the people we have, to get what and where we want to go.

      • Jon West

        Believe me, I sympathise with your views and in other circumstances, I would have bought into them. However, we made the grevious mistake of Anyboy But Jonathan in 2015, now we are walking into the abyss with our eyes wide open in an encore situation- Anybody But Buahari. For the sake of the Black Man, lets get something going in the right direction for once or be prepared to be the servants of all the other races. There is no time left, not even one year.

        • Gary

          No wahala- I’m only one of 180 million people who have their own ideas and suggestions for how to form a country of our dreams.
          Let others come up with their own ideas and names of those we can invest our trust, intellect and hopes in to get us there. Nothing says anyone on this forum cannot lead Nigeria and do better than the gaggle of morons, scoundrels and sectarian bigots currently making a misery of our lives and people.

          Now chastened by the mistake of 2015, those who know better have a moral duty to subject anyone who throws his hat into the ring to lead this country under the harshest scrutiny of the antecedents and qualification for office. At State and Federal levels.
          So if anyone knows if either Peter Obi or Abubakar Umar has stolen money, taken another’s man’s wife or land or encouraged ethnic-sectarian bigotry; then let them come out and reveal.
          Same will apply to any other names put forward as worthy of representing the progressive platform we will give to them in exchange for our votes.

          If that does not work, then sorry, an independent Lagos Republic becomes the Plan B and we will dare the Oba of Lagos to throw millions of Nigerian refugees into the Lagoon as he once threatened. Or wait for Buhari to send Army tanks to come kill everybody.

          • share Idea

            Nice comment, just wish other Nigerians will reason like you and we may have a country of our dream.

          • KWOY

            The current Population estimate of your country is 193 million

          • Gary

            We both know that’s debatable because NOBODY really knows Nigeria’s true population.

          • James Gunn

            Exactly. Frankly I think we are in the region of 150 million. This figure of almost 200 million is just a scam.

          • Jon West

            Even you are wrong my dear man. Tops 110 million, and I mean tops. Where are all these 180 million? In Sambisa forest or Daura? This country is one big scam in every aspect of human endeavour. Hope someone can stop it, so that I can get off.

          • marcos avelino

            Yea you will accept it only if your puny SE is declared to have more population than other zones. The population has been consistent since the days of the British. The last one was carried out by one of yours a southerner OBJ

        • Gary

          No wahala- I’m only one of 180 million people who have their own ideas and suggestions for how to form a country of our dreams.
          Let others come up with their own ideas and names of those we can invest our trust, intellect and hopes in to get us there. Nothing says anyone on this forum cannot lead Nigeria and do better than the gaggle of morons, scoundrels and sectarian bigots currently making a misery of our lives and people.

          Now chastened by the mistake of 2015, those who know better have a moral duty to subject anyone who throws his hat into the ring to lead this country under the harshest scrutiny of the antecedents and qualification for office. At State and Federal levels.
          So if anyone knows if either Peter Obi or Abubakar Umar has stolen money, taken another’s man’s wife or land or encouraged ethnic-sectarian bigotry; then let them come out and reveal.
          Same will apply to any other names put forward as worthy of representing the progressive platform we will give to them in exchange for our votes.

          If that does not work, then sorry, an independent Lagos Republic becomes the Plan B and we will dare the Oba of Lagos to throw millions of Nigerian refugees into the Lagoon as he once threatened. Or wait for Buhari to send Army tanks to come kill everybody.

        • BB

          Glad to have you back sir. The ethnic intolerance gone and pure interesting and intelligent commentary resumed!!!

          • Darcy

            Omo, me bin almost go find my glasses ohh. Is this Mr Jon West?

      • Sean William

        I share your point of view, some good thinking there.

    • BankyMons

      Jon West —– I remember someone warned you here not long ago, to always include the ”BOYZ” when next you draw this list. You have failed to adhere to that instruction yet again – lol. Have a good weekend ahead.

    • Iskacountryman

      anarchists…love disrupting a system…

    • sunny okocha

      Thanks may Allah save Nigeria I thought shaka was not one of them now I understand cant believe the write up subtle piece to sell his master a corrupt politician without any sense of governance in modern day, corrupt to the core without any strain of knowledge for the common good of the masses if elected.

      • James Gunn

        Subtle piece to sell his master??? I think you read something different from all of us.

      • BB

        You obviously did not comprehend the article

    • Segun Manuel II

      i suggest Fela Durotoye as the man we need

    • Pete

      If the election were held today, Buhari will lose by a large margin. Never before have we had an incompetent and wicked like Buhari. Unfortunately some dumb people are still
      praising him.

  • Cheta God

    Show me any other Northerner that is more cosmopolitan than Atiku. They say he is corrupt, please which court has convicted him or the Jagaban? The law permits movement from one party to another and merger of parties. That’s why PMB of CPC contested as PMB of APC. Kwankwaso, El Rufai, etc are Northern Islamic fundamentalists in the same mould as PMB. Give me an Atiku any day

    • MLK

      Forget about court conviction please! Which court has convicted Saraki, Tinubu, IBB, Obj, Obanikoro, Patience Jonathan, GEJ, Tompolo, Dasuki and even Diezani? Truth is what we have is no judiciary.

      • FrNinja

        And just to show you the British made an example out of ibori to show how unserious Nigeria was in fighting corruption.

      • Cheta God

        Thank you. So how can we label somebody as corrupt

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Seriously? You want to invoke that ‘he has not been convicted story’?
      Our courts have not convicted ANYBODY.
      Please ask yourself.
      Who then is stealing our money?
      Ghosts?

      • Edon B.

        I’m tempted to believe that you are a very fair person, based on your own perspective on this forum. Hence, your suggestion for a suitable qualify candidate for the role of the suppose President and his/her vice will be nice and highly welcome. Thanks for your anticipated insightful comment.

        • Pete

          Before we forget Atiku was linked to the Jefferson’s case in US, the man who hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in the freezer.

      • Iskacountryman

        biafran ghosts…

        • Cheta God

          No insults my dear. Just make your point

        • Cheta God

          No insults please. Just make your point

      • Cheta God

        Those presently in power. Where is the recovered loot? Why are we still borrowing?

    • FrNinja

      INTELS with its monopoly on Nigerian ports. That is corruption.

      • Cheta God

        Same with Oando,etc

  • Felix Udoh

    Very apt as always. But I would rather have an Atiku who is open minded about restructuring than a more bigoted soul like Kwankwaso. Besides preparation, I don’t know any Nigerian Politician of Northern extraction that surrounds himself with the most competent professionals like Atiku does. Check out the quality of his team/staff or aides as a sitting Vice President at the time and you will readily agree.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Abubakar Umar is as cosmopolitan.
      Atiku has too many skeletons in the closet.
      And quite simply, he is too old.
      Nigeria at this important juncture of his history can and must surely do better than these jokers from the past.

    • Obi Ike Sorres

      Mouthing restructuring all over the place is to use it to get in after that he will retract into his core north principle of listening to his born to rule crowd

  • Don Franco

    Dear Shake,

    The last paragraph of this op-ed convinced me that Atiku is qualified to be president of Nigeria; if you consider that the APP has reached consensus to present Buhari for a second term. The choice in 2019 would be between Buhari that has run this country to the ground and is against restructuring; and Atiku who is strongly for devolution of power away from the Centre; we know who a majority of Nigerians will vote for between the two of them… assuming their votes will count.

    No “disruptive” candidate of the kind you described, has the courage, sagacity and financial wherewithal to contest and win against Atiku in 2019.

    Bearing in mind that the current resident of Aso Rock ran for President four times, unsuccessfully; if Atiku aligns himself with that man at Bourdilon Road, Ikoyi, I have no doubt that we shall have a President Atiku on April 2019.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      My broda,
      Atiku;

      Too old
      Corrupt
      No principles

      Just because someone wants to be President real bad does not make him qualified.

      • BankyMons

        It should read;
        Mr A Abubakar:
        Too old
        Too corrupt
        And absolutely ZERO CHARACTER
        Plus other et cetera

    • Iskacountryman

      “No “disruptive” candidate of the kind you described, has the courage, sagacity and financial wherewithal to contest and win against buhari (sic) atiku in 2019″….these words should be inscribed in marble for anarchists and hotheads like jon eastwesterner to recite…

      • Don Franco

        Dear Iska,

        How dare you twist my words to suit to your inane purpose! I wonder why American Abroad upvoted your nonsense….. neither of you, are half the man that Jon West is. Mtchwee!

        • Iskacountryman

          what did twist..i added (sic) just to be on the safe side…is jon west a man?…

  • Country man

    Mr Shaka,
    Your analysis are right on track once again.
    Men like Atiku are yesterdays men who wants to seize on the euphoria of the moment and know if he can grab power. That he could go back to PDP after calling it a rigging party shows he actually lacks morals and is just desperate for power just for powers sake.
    Hope the Nigerian people will listen this time and not fall for another “Greek gift” like they did in 2015

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Exactly,

    • Chym

      What of Buhari that when back to corrupt ACN and PDP members to form APC?

      • Country man

        Buhari lacks the brains to understand the right thing to do. I dont support him either.
        Buhari, Atiku, OBJ, etc; all these men lack character and integrity and have nothing new to offer this country
        This country needs an individual outside the present system to come and create A SYSTEM where the various regions, states or provinces can live up to their full potential.
        These yesterdays men will NEVER give us that system regardless of what they are echoing now just to sound on the side of the people.
        Nigerians had better wake up from their slumber

  • Gary

    Spot on as usual Shaka. Atiku might be miles ahead cerebrally and heads and shoulders above of Buhari and the Arewa-first types that the Hausa-Fulani establishment prefers to anoint to perpetuate their “born-to-rule” ideology of Nigeria; but time has gone well past him in age and personality needed for the Nigeria of our dreams.
    We need a paradigm shift in the politics of Nigeria, if the union is to be preserved. At worst, we might settle for a bridge-builder who enjoys widespread national trust to help transition us to a Restructured Federation or a confederal United States of Nigeria.
    It is in this regard that I have stuck out my neck to propose a Dream Ticket of Abubakar Umar, a retired Army Colonel and Fulani blue-blood and Peter Obi, the accomplished former Governor of Anambra State.

    This duo should be drafted to join third party from the PDP/APC counterfeit coin on a political platform of reform to restructure Nigeria based on the Republican compact of 1963 within a hundred days of being sworn into office.
    Umar remains a hero for the democracy movement across the country for sacrificing his career as Armoured Corps Commander on behalf of the June 12 election mandate of the late MKO Abiola. Even as the latter’s own kinsmen reprised their familiar backstabbing politics.
    Peter Obi has done what no other Governor has accomplished in putting a non-oil and land-locked state on a sound footing to have left office with a surplus and a track record that his successors will now be judged by the Anambra and the Igbo people. Obi as Vice President (since the North still has one more term of their “turn” left) helps assuage Igbo angst about their status in the union, after the plague of Buhari’s transparent animosity to the ethnicity.

    Not that it matters, I have no personal ties to either of these two men though I will be honoured to support them should they decide to team up and make a run for the Presidency. I’m convinced that men as these are whom we need to move Nigeria forward. And if that fails, Mr. Ambode of Lagos will have to brace for millions of internally displaced refugees fleeing the chaos from the storm clouds now hanging over Nigeria.
    Let the debate begin.

    • KWOY

      Do not Insult yourself with an Igbo vice-presidency! We are not even intersted in the presidency! I’m not even interested in restructuring!

      • Lawrenece Ifo

        Well said.

      • Iskacountryman

        shhhh…the eboes make good vice presidents…

    • Jon West

      What we need is a strong and equitable restructuring of the polity to avoid the inevitable disaster that would result from continuing with status quo thinking of turns at the Presidency and all all that failed agenda. Disaster is staring Nigeria in the face and we are busy talking about rotational Presidency and blue bloods . What manner of people are these?

      • Iskacountryman

        green blooded people…

      • FrNinja

        Nigeria will be forced to restructure just like it was forced to take the bitter pill of SAP. Next year is the last oil boom. Let them stupidly spend it on champagn and expensive cars again instead of fixing power.

      • Iggy

        Fantastic! Blue blood and rotational presidency is an antithesis to growth and development