Ayodeji Rotinwa writes the People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar may know a thing or two about endurance, for his persistence to be president for 27 years
When a few weeks ago, Atiku Abubakar emerged as the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) for the number one office in Nigeria, it was the another trip of expectation from a nation that is used to the intermittent arrival of messianic figures on its socio-political scene.
In 1992, not-too-young-to-run at 45, he contested against Chief MKO Abiola in the presidential primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and lost. In 2007, he was chosen as the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and lost. He was still young and sprightly, at 61. In 2011, he contested party primaries again, at 65, within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and lost.
Now, in the same party, he left briefly for three years, he has won, at the ripe, young at heart age of 71. Everytime, he, out of the goodness of his heart, expressed his desire to save us all. But inconveniences – like Goodluck Jonathan, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua – stood in his way every time, delaying his ascent. Now he is in the running again.
We should all be merry and rejoice.
For someone who has been trying to be president for 27 years, clearly the man knows a thing or two about endurance. This means he will understand what it is like for some of our communities all over the country to be without electricity, cut off from the national grid, for the same amount of time or even more. How we still somehow survive, or even thrive. He must know. Both of us want power and know what it’s like to not have it.
And what about his strides in business, his innovation, his mastery of strategy? We as a country have a lot to learn from him. He built a customs logistics business while working in the the Nigerian Customs Service, the government agency that would hire such a business. So he was essentially, allegedly paying himself. What wisdom. What a masterstroke. Detractors and other inconveniences in his business have called it a conflict of interest. Our Messiah does not indulge in such a thing. It means nothing. He was being a smart businessman.
Anyway the government’s resources deserve to be shared to him. Afterall the Bible says he who has some, can still have more. Or is that not how the story goes? What might we expect when he becomes president? Perhaps more savvy business decisions. More opportunities to learn at his feet by us all. All the government agencies should really be so glad. Inspired by his example, should we expect to see (more of) civil servants in the Ministry of Environment setting up waste disposal companies and awarding self contracts? Or those working in youth development setting up NGOs? The thought is so exciting. A revolution is coming.
According to many reports, Atiku had so much stainless wealth, he even shared some of it with the richest country in the world, the United States of America, through an affiliate- USD 40 million some documents said. Enough to build a few schools and roads for us while he was Vice President for eight years. But the Messiah is teaching us endurance. We may not have these now, but he is bringing then soon.
How about how he connects deeply with the youth? He may be three decades away from being a century old but who’s to say that he will get in the way of ruling our complex, sprawling country? In any case, his competition this election round, President Muhammad Buhari has paved the way for staying fit with regular airplane rides and spending time outside the country for fresh air.
A template Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had also set. Perhaps, Atiku will lean on the wisdom of his forebears. Yes, his connection with the youth. Did you see how on Twitter he was photographed running the treadmill? Our Messiah knows we do not work hard enough. That being tested with meagre salaries, poor educational systems, ill-equipped hospitals, corruption, terrorism is not enough. We must also be tested physically. He is leading the way. We all should get treadmills too. Atiku has also promised that 40 per cent of his cabinet will go to women and youth. A true believer in equality. The math may be a little wonky to some, but we must not forget this is a country for old men. He is teaching us to respect our customs and traditions. Our elders have done well, so far. Haven’t they?
Our Messiah will also teach us the art of cunning. The scheme. Do you remember how he tried to get his former boss Olusegun Obasanjo out of office when the General wanted to run for a third term. The Messiah was protecting us from the excesses of man allegedly quoted at the time to want to be like Gaddafi, Biya and Sese-Seko. Atiku has now said he will only serve one term. But in 2014 he said he would not leave the All Progressives Congress (APC). The Messiah likes to keep us on our toes. See? A cunman. He teaches us how we must never be shackled by inconveniences like honesty. Who has truthfulness helped? Those who must rise out of poverty, must be cunning like him. Wily. Calculating.
February 2019 cannot come soon enough. He has not been crowned yet but our Messiah is on his way. The newspaper columns written by friendly editors say so. The sponsored social media posts say so. Peter Obi, the man with one watch, and his Vice President is saying so. So what are you saying? Won’t you welcome him?