Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, was a man well respected in the Nigeria's political cycle. Without doubt, Atiku came to limelight when he challenged the Olusegun Obasanjo's third term bid. Many Nigerians, including this writer, were headbent in giving their supports to Atiku as a bastion and model for Nigeria's democracy when the Obasanjo-led People's Democratic Party (PDP) in respect to the perceived aberration of Atiku, bounced severely on him. Atiku nearly became a titular Vice President. He took to the court, rather than tow the line of conflict as the Kenya's Raila Odinga's supporters took when the persona dramatis failed in an election in favour of the incumbent Mwai Kibaki. Today, the well respected and supported Atiku wants to rejoin the PDP he left for the Action Congress (AC) in the event of the 2007 elections?
Well, the action Nigerians learnt Atiku wants or has taken, might not surprise observers of this political icon called Atiku, because of his political antecedents. But the problem is where would those unsung supporters of Atiku (like this writer) would be if he rejoins the PDP? And what face would some of us watch the members of the PDP we had criticised because of Atiku with the view that Atiku was stoical in his decision but his action recently has proved him as a neophyte in the area of taking decision and maintaining it?
This former Custom boss was playing politics like one who is democracy drunk, and we followed him, not knowing that what we saw as 'democracy drunk' is unveiling around Atiku today as one who is power drunk. Some people knew this about Atiku but most of us thought that Paul would never go back to answer Saul.
The Turaki Adamawa's decision in many quarters is seen as ruthlessness. And this could be the reason many observers view Atiku as a pertinent trait to the late General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua who until his death was a political mentor of Atiku. While Atiku might be seen as a targeting politician or a skilful political player by his admirers, his critics have a different opinion. They see Atiku as an unfriendly planner, even when he was an upstart politician in 1999. His name gets mentioned in all the political happenings in Nigeria.
While in the past Atiku might had been targeting rightfully, but this time he might not get it right if why he is rejoining the PDP is to secure the party's presidential ticket for the 2011 elections. In the same vein, just like what Nigeria is facing politically today due to the issue surrounding the ailing President Umar Yar'Adua, a rally was organized in Atiku's honour in Kaduna, in November, tagged "Reception 2000". But Atiku denied having any presidential ambition. Precisely in September, he had said in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, two months earlier, that "I take instructions from the President."
While as Vice President, Atiku believed that he had no job other than what was assigned to him by the President Obasanjo to do then, but he was seen to be controversial and was believed to be the most powerful second-in-command that the nation has had.
Coming from the North east, during Atiku's reign as Vice President his political style and moves was suspect in some sections of the North, especially the North-west. And how can he make it in the PDP now owing to the agelong but subtle rivalry between the North-west and the North-east?
It was on record that when Obasanjo was a military head of state, his deputy, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, was from Katsina, in the North-west. So today, the North-west challenge might be posing a peculiar problem to Atiku, even though he would not admit it. However, if not that Atiku is wise, one would have advised him against his action of going back to the PDP but recoil to his shelf having become the first politician from the North east in the history of the entire Northern Region to had emerged as the foremost public office holder at a time that a southern president was in charge.
Whether Atiku likes it or not, this writer is afraid that Atiku will be disappointed in the PDP because as a Fulani but from the 'other side' of the region, the northern supremacists are yet to settle the Hausa-Fulani political interest.
Against that backdrop, whether Atiku is the crown prince or clown prince of 2011 elections, what most of us had thought Atiku should be doing is rallying round to free himself from the many financial misappropriation allegations that are levelled against him than the infamous step of going back to the PDP (once characterized by Prof Wole Soyinka as a Nest of Killers).
Atiku might not be relevant again in the Nigeria's politics if he rejoins the he once eschewed because his supporters in and out of the AC will be divided; even some members in the PDP we learnt don't want him. And if he becomes relevant, such relevance is exposing him to the gallery for people to laugh at us who are/were his supporters. It is a pity!
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]