THE fierce and divergent reactions in the corridors of power over Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan’s profession of support for former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, instead of President Muhammadu Buhari, are the fall-out of a deep-seated political schism now ravaging Nigeria.The sharp disagreement is between two schools of thought, two political divides, seeking control of Nigeria.
What we are witnessing is a battle between fascists and liberals, a battle between the hawks and the doves, between ancient mindset and modern mindset, between those who oppose restructuring and want the status quo to remain and those who want to alter the status quo through restructuring of Nigeria.
Atiku, a detribalised, liberal, cosmopolitan and far-sighted leader, is struggling to build a coalition to alter the status quo for a truly united and prosperous Nigeria, founded on restructuring, and devoid of the ominous agitations in the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria. These are the two groups battling to control Nigeria now and there are fundamental and noteworthy differences between the them.
While the fascists have an ethno-centric view of Nigeria, how their ethnic group can remain dominant and how their ethnic group can best other ethnic groups in cornering national resources, the liberals have a globalised view of Nigeria, how all ethnic groups can be fairly treated and how Nigeria can rise and take her place in the comity of great nations of the world.
While the fascists focus on indigenes of their ethnic group and adherents of their religion as their sole concern in politics, the liberals focus on all Nigerians, equity and justice for all. The fascists see their ethnic group as their only constituency. Liberals see the entire Nigeria as their constituency. What is unfolding before us, as we head into the 2019 general election, is a battle between those with an ancient mindset who oppose restructuring and want the status quo to remain, and those with a modern mindset who seek to alter the status quo through restructuring for a new Nigeria to emerge.
While Buhari is leading the former, Atiku is leading the later.
From the pronouncements of leaders of the South-West, South-East, South South and Middle Belt, restructuring is the only condition that is guaranteed to hold Nigeria together. What we have in Nigeria now is unity at gun point which is unsustainable as people in the southern part of Nigeria and the Middle Belt have been unequivocal that the only condition for their remaining in Nigeria is the restructuring of Nigeria and enthronement of true federalism.
Agitations for Biafra Republic in the South-East, Oduduwa Republic in the South-West, Niger Delta Republic in the South South and the visible moves by the Middle Belt to enter into a political union with the entire South should worry any leader who truly wants a united and prosperous Nigeria founded on equity and justice. The agitations for separation have become heightened, contributing significantly to erosion of economic growth and show clearly that the status quo can no longer hold the nation together.
If genuine efforts are not made to restructure the nation, Nigeria may be heading for inevitable dismemberment, for the handwriting is already boldly on the wall. While Atiku favours the use of restructuring to stop Nigeria’s slide into disintegration, the fascists believe they can stop the slide through force of arms. Atiku’s acceptability cuts across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s ethnic and religious divides.
There is clearly a national consensus that over-centralisation of power is the cause of the increasing agitations and that only the restructuring of Nigeria to make it a truly federal state can guarantee sustainable peace, unity and progress of Nigeria. Restructuring Nigeria is the only panacea for the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria. This is what the times we are in demand.
Throughout history, events and circumstances have served to throw up leaders whose qualities galvanise their nations from disunity to unity, from poverty to prosperity and from failure to success. Such leaders may have been lurking in the background, but a series of events that task the welfare and safety of citizens help to thrust these leaders forward. These are leaders made for the times.
Leaders thrown up by circumstances, who rise to the occasion to re-set their nations on the path of prosperity and great nationhood. In Britain we had Winston Churchill, in the United States we had Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, in China there was Chairman Mao Zedong and in Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.
Nigeria is now in dire need of a leader in this mould. A leader who is foresighted enough to read the future, fair and courageous enough to do the needful and a leader who is at the same time compassionate and acceptable across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s ethnic and religious divides. Considering Atiku’s pedigree, Nigerians should begin to look his way now.
For in the light of our present socio-economic and constitutional challenges, the man has all it takes to re-set this nation on the course of prosperity and great nationhood. If the truth must be told and sentiments set aside, surely Atiku Abubakar is the leader Nigeria needs for these challenging times. Atiku’s traducers who have vowed to truncate, by fair or foul means, any presidential bid by him should stop playing God.
For God who gives power to whom He pleases is watching the deception, injustice and inequity in the land. And God, being the God of justice, will not neglect those who fight for truth, justice and equity as Atiku is doing.
As we head into the 2019 elections, Atiku’s most potent weapon is that he is on the side of truth, justice and equity. Power brokers, power mongers and backstabbers should be wary of men like Atiku for God always fights for them.