Atiku’s Defection And The Quest For Freedom In Nigeria

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former vice president recently announced his exit from the All Progressives Congress, APC, and return to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where he probably wishes to realise his aspiration to run for the presidency.
The decision of Alhaji Atiku has been hailed by some and condemned by others. The PDP has also said that they are not promising him automatic ticket because he is not the only presidential aspirant in the party. However, the man appears to be happy, being, according to him, fed up with the failure of the APC led federal government to fulfil its electoral promises, as well as alleged disregard for rule of law by the Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Many Nigerians have been restless in the last two and half years because of observed cases of disregard for court decisions and rule of law, unfair policies and prosecution of the war against corruption in manners that are manifestly skewed against the opposition.
Besides, government policies at the centre have tended to promote fear and want instead of freedom and plenty. Today many children are dropping out of school because their parents are unable to afford school fees. In some cases, children resort to some full time economic activities in order to raise money to enable them return to school in the future.
Although Nigerians have been told that the country is out of recession, the evidences are yet to be seen, as many more citizens are sliding into hopeless poverty, prompting many questions as to what has become of the change promised them?
Critical stakeholders in the country have been calling for true federalism as a political model that will guarantee equity and fairness in economic relations, but the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari appears indifferent to the agitations.
Appointments into federal institutions have been lopsided, with some sections of the country where the president comes from favoured over and above others, in deference to complaints from others who feel grossly marginalised.
The perceived poor tackling of the nation’s political and economic challenges, as well as social relations by the Buhari administration have not only impoverished many, it has also divided the country more than ever with attendant fear of the future.
Well, Nigerians are becoming more educated on their rights, hence the increasing opposition to enslavement and intimidations in different shades. It was Dr. Nanmdi Azikiwe, who posited that: “Freedom from fear and freedom from want are two basic freedom which the citizenry anticipates from those who are to rule”.
As 2019 approaches, many voters seem disposed to a change, but wondering how it will come about, and who will bell the cat? It is against this background that the move by Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice – President, to run for the office of President of Nigeria is seen by many as timely.
Having held between 1999 and 2007, the second highest office in Nigeria places Atiku in good stead. Those who are referring to him as political prostitute are missing the point. Moving from one political party to another is not new in Nigeria, where the end justifies the means.
Defection is a political strategy, which has worked for many politicians in Nigeria including President Buhari whose CPC fused with Action Congress and other parties to form the APC, before the 2015 elections. That political platform enabled him to realise his ambition on the 4th attempt.
It is public knowledge that many of those in the All Progressives Congress today moved from the Peoples Democratic Party and other parties. It is therefore premature for any one to write off Atiku’s presidential ambition because he moved from APC back to PDP. There is no doubt that lessons from his past failed attempts may prove very useful this time.
At a public function in Port Harcourt Thursday, Chief Edwin Clarke and other Niger Delta stakeholders hinted that they will support any political party that will promote true federalism, where each section of the country will control its resources and pay tax to the centre. Coincidentally, this is a position which Atiku Abubakar has been preaching, thereby touching on the soft spot of agitators of restructuring of Nigeria.
If indeed the winds and waves are always at the side of ablest navigators, as postulated by Edward Gibbon, then 2019 might just be Atiku Abubakar’s time, if he is able to secure the ticket of the PDP. The reason is simple: Time and chance will be the determining factor, as anything is possible in politics.
Iheanyi Ezinwo is the publisher of Notable Outcome.

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