ATIKU’S VISIT TO CHIEF OBASANJO SHOULD NOT BE A ROOM FOR MISCHIEVOUS AND UNWARRANTED ATTACK ON HIS PRINCIPLE AND INTEGRITY.
We have watched and read all sorts of comments and insinuations in the media following the recent visit by the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and wish to state that most of the comments were not fair to Atiku considering his religious and political inclination. We look at most of the comments with repugnance and loathsomeness, particularly those coming from some AC Chieftains which are disrespect to the person and integrity of Atiku as the National Leader of the party and the sacrifice he made in making the party what it is today in the politics of Nigeria. As much as we are in a democratic environment, we must allow the principle of democracy to prevail by hearing from the person involved before judging and casting all manners of aspersion on such a person. Sadly, Atiku was not given any opportunity to defend himself in this regard and that to us is very unfair, rash, unfortunate and hasty. We must note that the status of Atiku as the embodiment of our nascent democracy, he is above parochial interest and thinking of any political party. Without mincing words, the truism still stand that those of us in Rivers State are aware of what most of the draconian and unprincipled manoeuvre of the former President has caused us and is still causing us in the State but that does not mean that we should consider Chief Obasanjo as a leper among civilised politicians. We are also aware that most of his bad policy, highhandedness, autocratic, unprincipled and undemocratic steps resulted to the economic woes that befell us a as a nation. However, must we allow those mistakes to linger and constitute a stumbling block to move the country forward?
The above notwithstanding we accept the position of the two Leaders as their meeting was in the interest of the Nation. “We, as former public office holders have a responsibility to come together and help our country, especially when things are not going the way we want. We have to sit down as stakeholders to review the situation.” To us that is patriotism, putting the national interest above personal or party's interest.
For Atiku, not minding the inhuman and beastly treatment his family and associates suffered in the hands of this man, he still found a space in his heart to forgive, and even visit him to us is a sign of magnanimity and should therefore be commended and congratulated instead of plotting to diminish and belittle his person. As much as people are free to express their opinions on any issue they feel strongly about, we feel that we should be doing this with decorum and in a manner devoid of animosity, resentment and acrimony capable of overheating the polity.
The fact remains, and not minding how slow President Yar'Adua's administration may look like, he is still a better democrat than what Obasanjo represents. This notwithstanding, Nigeria needs a strong and visionary President and today whether we will like it or not, Atiku stands as the best, strong and visionary Presidential Candidate the North can boast of come 2011. What this man needs therefore is not only the blessing of every Nigerian but the support to take our country out of the woods inflicted on us by the Obasanjo era and those of us in Rivers State are ready to afford him such a support.
Atiku's visit apart from being informed by national interest as he stated it is motivated by his faith and respect to the commands of Allah, being a good Muslim. In the selected Hadith, stated and narrated by Anass, he said: He heard Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) saying Allah the exalted has said: “O son of Adam! Forgive one another, I shall go on forgiving you so long as you pray to me and aspire for my forgiveness. Whatever may be your sins”. This tally with the bible passages- 1. Ephesians 4:31-32- 'let all bitterness…, be put away from you; with all malice forgive one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you'. 2. Mathew 6:14 'if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you'.
According to the Gospel of Mathew Chapter 5:9, the Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola for bringing these sworn enemies together has become a child of God as that passage stated “ Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God”.
Our only appeal is that Atiku should take a step further to contact his kinsman, Senator Jubril Aminu and resolve whatever may be the conflict between them to avoid further overheating the Adamawa polity. Knowing whom Obasanjo is, Atiku should watch his back in his found relationship with him, if past antecedents and experiences in the hands of this man is anything to go by. Once these are done, it will go a long way in demonstrating that he is a true statesman and peaceful.
In conclusion if by the act of Atiku forgiving a man that has committed a lot of sins against him is offensive to mankind but accepted by God let it be.
Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Rivers State Action Congress, Publicity Secretary