Ekechukwu: Atiku Will Sweep PDP Primaries, Presidential Election
US based founder of Atiku Diaspora Support Group, Diaspora Director Atiku Kawai, and the home-based Build Back Better Nigeria, Franklin Ekechukwu, tells Nduka Nwosu why he believes Atiku Abubakar has the momentum in the lead to the Presidential primaries. Excerpts:
Tell us about the group you started to promote Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s ambition to grab the Nigerian Presidency.
Atiku Diaspora Support Group started in early 2017. I simply collapsed the Goodluck Support Group into the Atiku Diaspora Support Group. This was during the beginning of 2018/19 general election. When Mama Titi Atiku’s PA, Abdulrazaq Garba reached out to me to help him do some work on behalf of His Excellency. At this time, I was disappointed with the Nigerian electorate because of the loss of Jonathan’s Presidency. I was devastated with a loss of interest in Nigerian politics, I could not comprehend the reasoning behind Jonathan losing the election to a non-versatile, and less knowledgeable individual.
Abdulrazaq Garba sat down and educated me on who Atiku Abubakar is; I went ahead to do my research on him. It is important to me that anyone I will support will be worthy of that support, I knew of him as the former Vice President who once owned a property at the Potomac, Maryland where a bunch of Nigerians often gathered whenever he was around. I am one person who does not commit unless I am convinced of the other person or candidate’s integrity; loyalty is all that matters.
If I believe in you nothing will make me waive my support for you and if in the process you disappoint me due to some character flaw, I will simply walk away as no one is ever perfect. However, in the case of Atiku he has been very consistent and disciplined in all aspects of his endeavors which is a very rare characteristic, I was impressed as I tried to learn more about him. My findings made the group to come alive. I mean unravelling the hitherto unknown side of this personality heightened the curiosity with an intense desire to hit the ground running.
Anyway, as soon as I set to work with my men, we have not looked back since then. We were again disappointed on the outcome of the last election and for the fact that Nigerians kept quiet over the server issue knowing quite well that there was a server made me wonder how this country can connive with the forces of evil to shortchange its destiny.
One year after the 2019 election I met a young man called Abdulrasheed Shehu who had created the Atiku Kawai Media Group. He had reached out to me to be the Diaspora Director. The amazing part of the group is that they are all youths from all parts of the country, united in the promotion of His Excellency Vice President Atiku Abubakar becoming Nigeria’s next president. Their zeal came with a sense of urgency and we are glad the momentum is here.
The conviction did not come easy as the youths of Nigeria persuaded him to run. It did not matter we had to ask him to try again; we persisted for two years trying to let him know there was a void which only his track record of experience could fill. I am not surprised therefore that when His Excellency Atiku decided to declare his intent to contest the Presidential election, he chose as his theme Unity, that is the unity of the various but disparate components of the corporate polity defined as Nigeria and indeed, Atiku’s mode of politics has always been that of a unifier.
How has the group succeeded in creating public awareness and interest in Atiku as the favourite Presidential candidate?
Thank you, the Atiku Diaspora support group in 2018 set up a fantastic ground structure. One thing that I learned in 2017 through 2018, during this preparatory stage is that it is all about delegates. Currently, I am focused on gathering delegates. The international promotion will immediately follow as soon as His Excellency clinches the nomination.
The Atiku Kawai on the other hand has had a series of successful townhall meetings in all six geopolitical zones in the country. They continue to impress in the social media and have done very well in promoting him.
What are those qualities of Atiku you want to share with the electorate?
Vice President Atiku has many great qualities which will in turn make him a great leader in waiting, Dino Melaye mentioned five qualities needed to wrestle power from the opposition and added that Atiku has all five qualities, which are character, capacity, experience, knowledge and belief in Nigeria and its people but there are other intrinsic qualities he did not mention. These are humility, discipline, focus, and an engaging, character. The Presidential hopeful has all it takes to do the whole run. This moment in time in history for Nigeria is one of a great and visionary leader emerging to change the direction of governance and hope in the polity. Atiku the unifier is that hope.
What are the perceived obstacles Atiku must face moving forward?
The obstacle I see is this idea of zoning which is obviously a leaning on the old fault lines of tribalism, which is not good for Nigeria at this time in history. Nepotism and tribal politics are fueled by personal interest not necessarily the interest of the tribe. When that tribal sentiment is overcome, Nigeria’s interest will take precedent and I have no doubt Atiku will overcome it because he is a detribalised Nigerian.
Do you think Atiku, or the PDP has lost the support of the Southeast for disregarding zoning to the Southeast as declared by Ohanaeze and Southeast Elders?
PDP will not lose anything, Firstly, as a PDP member, I know that in PDP power is supposed to be zoned to the North because the last President that governed under PDP was from the South; that was Goodluck Jonathan. Any other sentiment is irrelevant.
Now, will not zoning the presidential ticket to the south cost PDP the election? That is a question for the Nigerian people to answer.
The real question is, will the Nigerian people allow the comatose state of affairs in the country to continue as it is just because the PDP did not zone their Presidency to the south? If you ask me if the PDP presidential candidate can unite the people, bring out the country from the brink of economic collapse it currently finds itself my answer will be yes. If it were not so, I will be labouring in vain.
PDP should not be held to the same party rules of APC, as they are two different parties. The zoning of the presidency which is currently from the north should only apply to APC, it is a party with its set of rules, and not the PDP.
In fact, Nigerians should hold APC responsible if their zoning of the presidency does not go to the South. It is incumbent upon the APC to do the right thing and zone the Presidency to the South. So, I am amazed and perplexed when the PDP was dragged into the politics of zoning.
The PANDEF has also issued a similar statement. What is your take?
I think I have answered the question of zoning, it does not matter what pressure group is unhappy, what matters is when the rule of law or set of rules applies to everyone regardless of their region or tribe.
What are the chances of your principal getting the ticket as you approach the primaries?
I believe that by God’s grace Atiku will clinch the ticket, and Nigeria will be great and forward looking. It will experience a great turn around. That is what we need now. We need a leader that exudes and inspires confidence, a visionary leader that can lift the image of the country positively. That leader is Atiku Abubakar.
He is success personified. We are a great country with great people, and we need a great man like Atiku who has gone through many phases of life to get to this point. Richard Nixon once reminded Americans he did not become President by dodging tough issues. The same can be said of the former Vice President who proved beyond reasonable doubt to be a worthy assistant to his principal. He did not get to where he is by dodging tough issues. He has been prepared by the assignment fate has thrust on him.
I believe the best of Nigeria lies ahead, Nigeria is ripe for economic explosion, what the country needs is one who will remove every tribal and religious sentiment and focus on the rule of law and innovation, apply those rules to everyone regardless of whose ox is gored, then begin to build institutions based on that sentiment defined as law because in the eye of the law everyone is equal. This simply means that the judicial system will have to be restructured as a step up to its true meaning of “Justice for all.” All hands must be on deck as we seek to rebuild our country in tune with that ideal state defined in Plato’s Republic.
Judging from his track record as a technocrat, a businessman, public sector player, a visionary vice president and politician, Atiku Abubakar has what it takes to turn around the numerous problems that have prevented us from building a great nation.