Atiku Has No Kobo In Buhari’s 2015 Campaign – El-Rufai

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has challenged former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, to prove that he funded President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in 2015.

Speaking on a Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service Programme, tagged “Democracy Today”, in Kaduna, El-Rufai said Atiku leaving the All Progressives Congress is not a surprise to the leaders of the party.

He said, “Agreed, in politics if you lose even only one person, it should worry you, but the utterances of the former Vice President that APC used his money who did he give the money to? For me, I know those that supported us with their money and property that we used during election, and I never heard the name of Atiku that he brought a dime. If Atiku said he brought money, who did he give it to? Let him come and say it and how much did he give and what was it used for?

“And, in fact, if Atiku brought money, I ought to know, because I was part of the leadership of the party and during campaign, along with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi. We were at the centre of the presidential campaign. Therefore, we are supposed to know. So, let him mention who he gave the money and how much?”

El-Rufai said: “We in the APC were aware from the outset that Atiku was going to leave the APC back to the PDP in December and we thank God that he left in November.

“Atiku had seen that we in the APC, especially the APC governors, had resolved to support President Muhammadu Buhari to run again in 2019. That is why he left APC since he was only looking for where to contest for president.

“Even in the 2015 APC primary election, Atiku didn’t come second; he was floored by Kwankwaso. So, even if President Buhari decides not to contest, Atiku knows that the APC ticket is not sure for him. Majority of the APC governors have endorsed President Buhari as our candidate for 2019.

“And God has continued to improve the health condition of the President. Each time I see him, I thank God and I still pray that God continues to give him sound health.

“So, by 2019, we are waiting to see Atiku contest; we are waiting to contest against him and see what happens. I cannot lose sleep because Atiku wants to contest because, by God’s grace, this is the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Asked about a large number of APC members who are likely to follow Atiku to PDP, El-Rufai said: “Sure, we know that, we cannot rule out the possibility of some greedy people following him; those that are following material things. But, if people will consider how we can work for the progress of our country, everybody knows that you cannot compare Atiku with President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Atiku: When Lies Fail Test Of Reality

By Phrank Shaibu‎

The ready assumption by some writers and public commentators is that most Nigerians are gullible and have short memories. As such, some of these self acclaimed political analysts churn out falsehood as facts in an attempt to manipulate the mind of well meaning Nigerians.

Sadly, the consequence of keeping quiet to such writers is that, if their lies are allowed to travel far and unaddressed, truth will easily be sacrificed on the altar of lies.

With the seeming public hysteria ‎since former Vice President,Alhaji Abubakar Atiku defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the impression has been sold that the act was not only sacrilegious but also unprecedented.

A parody of a political prostitute has instead been unleashed through the manipulation of online and mainstream media to give ‎the impression that the man was desperate and consumed by the spirit of inordinate ambition. A desperado for political power!

The saddest part of the lynch mob mentality‎ currently on the prowl is that the “sudden critics” of Alhaji Atiku want to hold him to a different standard, separate from known measures used for others. You will imagine that the former Vice President transformed to a supernatural being the day the decision was made to leave APC for the PDP.

Yet, the Wazirin Adamawa, as Atiku is also known is not the first in our recent history to change political parties. Certainly, he is not in the‎ league of those who have contested the presidency more than once. Neither is he in mould of a stiff neck bigot who refused to quit the stage nor concede defeat after losing an election.

Unfortunately , the spin masters would want us believe otherwise. So , they ask, ‘how many times would Atiku contest for the presidency’? How many political parties would he join before becoming President? Should he not know when to quit or when the ovation has abated? What ideology drives the man’s politics?

The truth, however is that Atiku’s name has only been on the ballot paper once. Meaning, he has contested as a candidate in an election only once. That was in 2007, as the flag bearer of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) against the late President Musa Yar’Adua of PDP.

On the other hand, Nigeria’s history documents an individual that contested as candidate for the Number One position four times before fate smiled on him. He was flagbearer of the All Nigeria Peoples ‎Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and the APC under which platform he won to be president in 2015.

Interestingly, when people complained that incumbent President Buhari ‎was being difficult by repeatedly contesting for the presidency, they were reminded that President Abraham Lincoln of America failed more times in his desire before attaining the top position. Even at that, we need not be reminded that each time Buhari was asked to step down for another aspirant to fly the flag of a party,he simply left for another platform to pursue the dream of being President of Nigeria. Needless to say, Buhari never accepted defeat nor congratulated anyone who defeated him in an election but was indirectly associated with post electoral violence.

On the other hand, the same Atiku‎ that is being vilified by a section of the media never left any party because he lost the party primaries. He left only when a level playing field was not given to everyone to partake in the exercise. Truth is that, Atiku, the Wazirin Adamawa is respected more as a loyal party man even though he could not be categorised or branded a zealot.

Perhaps, we need to refresh our memories on the circumstances that led to Atiku’s first exit from the PDP. Have we forgotten so soon that he left because of the politics of third term? ‎That he was frustrated to leave after he successfully stopped the undemocratic and illogical third term agenda?

Truth is Atiku should be celebrated as one the heroes of our modern democracy. Outside the late Bashorun MKO‎ Abiola and to some extent, the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua who paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure the sustenance Nigerian democracy , kudos should also go to Atiku for having played lot of roles for common good of his party and the country at large than advancing self interest. Two instances clearly stand out ;first his role in the PDM /SDP alliance for MKO Abiola and in 2003 he declined a popular prompting for him to contest in the party primaries against his boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Any good watcher of Nigerian politics would understand that in recent times there is no huge difference in both ideologies and conduct of the major political parties. What actually stands out in the end is the personality of the man or woman seeking to be elected into public office. In realistic terms, every other consideration amounts to political deceit and sophistry.

By and large, there is no dispute that Atiku, the former Vice President possess intimidating democratic credentials and leadership qualities than most of those who have signified interest to run for the presidency in the past and to a large extent even now. Indeed , this is an unassailable fact we cannot deny.

“The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head.” – Terry Pratchett

*Phrank Shaibu, a Public Communication expert writes from Abuja

PDP Can’t Continue With ‘Imposition Of Candidates’ — David Mark

A former Senate President, David Mark, has called for a peaceful national convention on Saturday of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Mr. Mark urged the delegates to right the wrongs of the party’s past by allowing the will of the people to prevail at the elective gathering.

In a message to the delegates, the senator admonished “true faithful of the PDP to try and restore the dignity of the party, urging them to shun ills such as imposition of candidates and impunity he said ruined the chances of the party in the previous elections.

“We have seen what the imposition of candidates caused us in the past. We cannot travel the same route anymore.

“I am sure we have learnt some useful lessons from our electoral misfortune in 2015. We now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past by allowing the will of the people to prevail at the convention,” he said.

While expressing confidence in the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led National Convention Committee to do a good job and return the PDP to the people, Mr. Mark enjoined party faithful to adhere to the rules of the game in order to guarantee a smooth convention “because only the rule of law and adherence to the principle of Democracy endures.”

Advising contestants for the various party offices to accept the outcome of the elections in the interest of all, he said: “Win or lose, we are still one family. All we need to do is put our house in order in the interest of the party and its members because I can see a bright future.”

Mr. Mark also welcomed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and others back to the party and urged all those who defected to return home because “PDP is still the only national party and a home for all.”

The PDP National Convention on Saturday will witness the emergence of a new chairman, deputy chairman among other party officers.

Ben Bruce Speaks On Atiku’s Defection To PDP

Senator representing Bayelsa East, Mr Ben Murray Bruce has declared Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Nigeria’s next president following his formal return to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Atiku who had defected from the All Progressives Congress made known his intention to rejoin his former party, PDP through a Facebook broadcast on Sunday.

Senator Bruce in his tweet said it was time Buhari was removed, adding that PDP had a good retirement plan for him come 2019.

He wrote “Just [email protected], the next President of Nigeria, #Atikulatelyannouncing he would return to my party, [email protected]

“We in the PDP already have a good retirement package for President @MBuhari.

“Time to #ChangeTheChange.”

 

Letter To Atiku…..By A Dissatisfied Nigerian

By Churchil Okonkwo

You are a symbol of the past failures and the politically corrupt in Nigeria. With all due respect, therefore, I, on behalf of millions of Nigerians want to remind you that you should shut up when we are discussing anti-corruption challenges and the way forward.

I laughed cynically when I heard you brag that you would “shock everyone because you will fight corruption …if given the opportunity to preside over the affairs of the country.” You challenged Nigerians to either “come forward with a single shred of evidence of [your] misconduct while in office or keep quiet.” Crude arrogance! You subsequently bragged that your stupendous wealth was a result of your “resourcefulness and successful investments.”

What a lie! To use your own words, that display of arrogance was “morally offensive” to millions of Nigerians. Please, sir, accept my apologies, but the issue is not about your “entrepreneurial spirit” but whether you can corroborate the SOURCE of your investments and wealth. Sir, you are not more resourceful than millions of Nigerians, and thousands of investors with hard-earned and traceable source of wealth. So, sir, take your sermon of rooting out corruption in Nigeria to the sedimentary rocks in the valley of Adamawa Highlands.

As a show of good faith, sir, can you please explain to Nigerians how a retired Customs officer and VP, you, got the millions of Dollars, without a bank loan, you paid to the American University in Washington DC for a direct license to use the franchise of the university? We know that your estimated $25 million worth of University (ABTI American University) in Yola was not just because you were resourceful.

What is the source of the inexplicable reason for your increased wealth after 8 years as VP? Accept my apologies sir, but can you explain to Nigerians the source of hundreds of multi-million Naira mansions, mostly built on what Nigerians believe to be proceeds of corruption? What of the $125m you diverted from the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF)? Can you please, sir; explain to Nigerians how you managed to command controlling shares in Bank PHB, controlling shares in Intel, and oil services companies operating in many African countries?

If you are as smart and intelligent as you want Nigerians to believe, then it will not be difficult to break down the source of your wealth. Believe me, there are millions of Nigerians out there that are more resourceful than you that will be turned into billionaires overnight if only you can show us your magic wand. So, without explaining the source of your wealth, it is an insult to ask us to provide evidence that you are chronically corrupt. The burden of proof is on you, sir.

How can Nigeria move forward, when we are hamstrung by symbols of past failures, like you Atiku? Let me remind those still living in the graveyards of yesteryears of what you sir, represents. Your mere presence in Nigerian politics reminds us of the era of fire-breathing monsters that plundered the national wealth. Sir, your administration with Obasanjo represents a government of the ugly and predators. Under you, and Obasanjo, corruption was so sweet and so exquisite that the political class fell over themselves to worship the mini gods in Aso Rock.

Accept my apologies, sir, but Nigerians have not forgotten that under you and Obasanjo, our yesteryears were locust-infested. When you fought corruption with Obasanjo, we had wretched criminals that grew the size of their stomachs and pockets from “Turn Around Maintenance” of our refineries and under-selling of government entities to cronies. Under you, and Obasanjo, we had ministers and thieves that were busy acquiring properties worth billions while our infrastructures decayed.

Sir, you are a woodpecker that feed on the pantry of the poor, but found a way to avoid having boils in your mouth. The same mouth you are now using to insult us and bragging about how clean you are in amassing wealth in the midst of poverty in your backyard.

Atiku, sir, your ambition, therefore, deserves to be killed now. It is time for you to retire from public life, disappear from Twitter, political screens, and sight somewhere far away. Sir, when you drive around the hills and valleys of Adamawa Highland, are you not worried about the difference between your fortunes and that of the poor masses you represented?

Nigerians believe that corruption is a bigger threat than insecurity in your backyard in Northeastern Nigeria. Fighting corruption in good faith will heal the wounds of millions of Nigerians adversely affected over many decades. Unfortunately, sir, until you explain to us how you amassed your wealth, you are not the right man to lead Nigeria.

The stories surrounding the cancellation, the legality or illegality of the contract between Intels and its subsidiaries with Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) is an indication that your greed is finally catching up with you. For me, that deal is like the rest of the dubious investments you are now flaunting, all of which is a textbook example of how crooked bureaucrats like you amass wealth through cronyism and graft.

So, accept my apologies. You, like your boy the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, represent the dangerously corrupt political elites in Nigeria. As you make an attempt at the Nigerian Presidency for the umpteenth time, know it that your reckless shame has expired. The period from 1999 to 2017 is gone, even though the mess you and Obasanjo left behind is still hunting Nigerians.

Sir, I love you, but, until we begin to challenge serving and former civil servants and public office holders like you that cannot explain how they acquired so much wealth, we cannot really claim to be fighting corruption. Shed some light on the source of every Kobo of your shadowed investments and businesses and shame the people you refer to as “political enemies”.

While I wait for your explanation, know it that I will be the first to raise my hand and campaign for you if you will satisfactorily demonstrate the source of your wealth the way you explain to a 3-year old that 1 + 1 = 2. I say this with as a much respect as I can muster, hoping that you will disgrace me with verifiable proof.

Until you do that, sir, you should shut up and bow your head in shame, if there is still any left, when Nigerians are talking about the serious business of fighting corruption.

You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi.

One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar

By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room. He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell.

Buhari Congratulates Two Award Winning Musicians

The two Music stars, Davido and Whizkid got recognition in the MOBO Awards. In a statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari joined the teeming fans of the artistes in Nigeria and all over the world in celebrating the recognition, which saw WizKid winning “International Best Artiste’’ award, while Davido picked the “Best African Act’’ award.

The statement read in part, “The President affirms that both singers have showcased the rich talents in the country, and brought pride to the nation through their many songs and performances, commending their dedication, hard work and charity works. President Buhari also calls on the upwardly mobile artistes to be cautious and mindful of likely distractions to their careers, urging WizKid and Davido to serve as ambassadors of the country and role models to up and coming musicians.”

Also, earlier in the week, prominent Nigerians including former president Goodluck Jonathan, Senator Ben Bruce as well as former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, also congratulated Wizkid on his award.

The former president took to his Facebook page to express joy over Wizkid’s win. His congratulatory message read, “When Nigeria does well, I cannot help but feel well. My happiness is tied to the happiness of Nigeria and when Nigerians break records and take the name of Nigeria to greater heights, it exhilarates me. Thank you, Wizkid for raising Nigeria’s flag high for the positive, not the negative. Your emergence as the Best International Act at the #MOBOAwards is a proud moment for Nigeria. And the fact that you emerged over JAY-Z and Drake makes it even more celebratory. WELL DONE. GEJ.”

On his part, Ben Bruce took to one of his social media accounts to say, “Dear @wizkidayo, I‘ve been in the entertainment business as an investor since 1980 and one of my proudest moments for Nigerian music is the day you defeated both Jayz and @Drake, two of the biggest stars in the world, to win the Best international Act at the #MOBOAwards. Well done.”

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, also congratulated both stars via his official Twitter handle. He tweeted, “My young friend, Wizkid @wizkidayo beat(s) other big international artistes to win one of the world’s biggest music awards. Congratulations! I hear young David O won too. Very good day for Nigeria.”

Now That Atiku Has Dumped APC, Who Next?

By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, these are not the best of times for the ruling Party, APC. It was a prophecy long foretold by me, though. As you all know, the trending news is that the serial “decampee”, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has done what he knows how best to do, decamping from one political party to another. Let no one say it is not a big deal. And even if it is not, it is still big news, and an even bigger embarrassment to a Party that coasted to victory on the wings of a major alliance of strange bedfellows and an unprecedented conspiracy that succeeded in unseating a sitting President in Nigeria. I therefore, wish to disagree vehemently with my brother, Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State, who said yesterday that Atiku’s exit from their embattled Party is a non-event.

If truth must be told, I believe this is just the beginning of a mass exodus from a fledgling Party that is certainly on the road to perdition, unless drastic measures are taken to stem the rot in the Party, seriously and sincerely heal wounds and massage miffed egos. Let no one fool our dear President Muhammadu Buhari into thinking naively that he would win the 2019 election like he did in 2015, on a platter of gold. The masters of the game are already goading him on by pretending to be endorsing him and telling him he is the best thing ever to happen to Nigeria.

All you have to do to expose their hypocrisy and charade is to go back in history to see how previous Presidents had been praised to high heavens whilst these praise-singers were actually sneering and collaborating in their downfall. We saw how some people misbehaved and mis-jived during the draconian era of the Abacha regime and convinced him that Nigeria needs him to rule for life. Well, nothing of the sort happened.

Here we go again, our leaders are staging their absurdist theatre by falling over themselves in endorsing a man most of them abuse and stab behind his back. It is just unbelievable seeing how deceitful human beings can be. This is why I salute the courage of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who has virtually become a pariah in a Party he partly founded and funded in recent times. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must also be mentioned, in this regard, for making bold to categorically assert that there is no automatic ticket or endorsement for President Buhari.

The reasons Atiku Abubakar adduced for leaving the Party are very valid to keen observers of events after the Party came to power, even though they may sound like sour grapes, coming from him. It is certain that APC failed to learn any lessons from how it sacked PDP and history is about to repeat itself so soon. This was how PDP allowed some of its golden assets to walk away from the Party. The same words being bandied now were the same we heard repeatedly then; “Rotimi Amaechi and company can go to blazes, they won’t be missed in PDP!” Unfortunately, their exit wreaked maximum havoc on the PDP, and today the Party is still wondering what hit it like thunderbolt.

I seriously doubt if Atiku would ever get the PDP Presidential ticket. I’m sure he is not under any illusion that it would be easy to defeat Buhari even if he gets the ticket. But what he has done is to put APC on the defensive from this moment on and probably try to encourage other dissenters to abscond and abandon ship as soon as possible from what appears a sinking ship. I would have been surprised if Atiku stayed much longer after the unfortunate harassment he’s received in recent time. His business interests have been under intense and incessant attacks and whatever love existed between him and his Party had since evaporated. If I were in his shoes, I will not contest again so that it doesn’t appear like I’m in politics and in any political party just to obtain a Presidential ticket. That may be wishful thinking given the man’s political history and his quest for the holy grail of the Presidency!

However, my opinion is that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar still has a big role to play in the affairs of Nigeria. At over 70, he is undoubtedly one of the most experienced and exposed leaders in our country. God has been very kind to him. He’s been able to establish a mega business conglomerate. He is blessed with a wonderful family. His children are well-educated and his brand is very big in Nigeria and beyond. He would do well to use his humongous resources to help drive the search for much younger and accomplished leaders for Nigeria. It shouldn’t always be about his personal ambition. I wrote recently that age is no longer on his side. Anyone above 70 cannot achieve more in Nigeria today. We supported Buhari in 2015 out of acute frustration against the recklessness and profligacy of PDP. For some of us, it was meant to be a stop gap. But as democrats, we believe the President has the right to run for a second term, if that is his wish but he should not be forced on the Party and cannot certainly be foisted on the nation.

I say with all emphasis at my command, that any attempt to impose President Buhari on his political party will backfire. The President should go through the laid down democratic processes and if he gets the ticket, fine and fantastic. If he fails, he should go home quietly and enjoy his retirement, finally. There is life outside power. It would be unfortunate if opponents of President Buhari are muzzled out of the race. The sweetness of democracy is in providing a variety of aspirants and wealth of ideas.

None should feel like a second class citizen in a political party that was jointly formed and consummated by many stakeholders. On attaining power, certain APC chieftains behaved like they had everything locked down and as if they forgot another election was going to come in a jiffy. Now that reality is beginning to dawn on them, they are hurriedly rushing frantically to please many of those they’ve ignored since 2015. It is doubtful if anyone would swallow the bait, hook, line and sinker, again. The talk in hushed tones is that President Buhari cannot change his style.

If he gets a second term, and chance, many politicians would be hauled into prison, for the right and wrong reasons. I hope the President gets the chance to read this script and adapt to the crisis situation he now faces. His current failure to do this, is why there would soon be a groundswell of conspiracy against him.. The trust issue would be a great determinant in the next election. Even if APC opens the vaults of the Central Bank to its leaders in the coming months, in clear and brazen disregard for its anti-corruption crusade, it is not going to be an easy ride this time around.

Now that Atiku has dumped the APC, I’m certain other rebels would be emboldened to follow his example. The Presidential race is looking hot already. I foresee the PDP ticket as being a much-coveted one because APC is likely to implode as a result of imposition. If PDP manages its affairs better, and more democratically, by eliminating fifth columnists among them, APC would be in hot soup. Nigeria is blessed with many fantastic leaders with proven records in both Parties. They should be encouraged to come out from hibernation. It is payback time and I’m suspecting that APC is about to be punished for its carelessness and insensitivity.

The tine to properly correct ills and wrong is now, otherwise it will be too late!

AND ROBERT MUGABE ACTUALLY RESIGNED

Wonders, as they say, will never end. One of those wonders of the world occurred early this week as President Robert Mugabe, one of the world’s longest serving leaders, finally agreed to step down after the military that swore to protect him as their Commander-in-Chief actually sold him out. After so much dilly-dallying and refusing to sign his resignation letter, he eventually agreed to handover to influential and his erstwhile deputy, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, aka the Crocodile, whom he had fired as a means of creating a smooth-sail for the Presidential ambition of his delectable young wife, Mrs Grace Mugabe. But this backfired big time. Indeed a veritable tale of a fall from grace to grass!

When I visited the then Vice President, Mnangagwa, in Harare a few months ago, at the behest of my good friend, Josey Mahachi,, little did I realise I was meeting with a President in waiting. He appeared and sounded very loyal to the old warrior, Robert Mugabe. He said he was happy to receive me and looked forward to partnering with Ovation International magazine in the promotion of investments and tourism in Zimbabwe. He promised to send a report to the President about my visit since I couldn’t wait the few extra days required to meet the old man in person.

I was thus dazed when news broke of the great rift between both of them. I had thought theirs was a perfect synergy until, it seems, Mrs Grace Mugabe’s unbridled and vaulting ambition put them asunder. The military intervention that eventually ousted and ended the nearly four-decade reign of Mugabe was exceptionally unique in its conception and execution. For the first time, we saw a military that refused to agree that it carried out a coup against a civilian government. The world was left confused and confounded by developments in Zimbabwe for a little while.

The Zimbabwean military, led by General Constantino Chiwenga, must be commended for the disciplined and professional manner it handled the impasse. It was a sight to behold seeing them showing respect for the President as he read that curious statement that had been predicted as a resignation speech but turned out to be a show of defiance by a usually loquacious and bewildered geriatric! The military was determined not to be tempted to derail democracy, but to be seen to correct an injustice and let democratic institutions do the rest. That is all history now. Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as Interim President yesterday in the presence of a tumultuous crowd.

Many are already wondering what the new President can and would do different from his former boss. He made a long and stirring speech in which he praised Mugabe for his service to their country and insisted that some of his policies including the controversial land acquisition from the whites were appropriate and would be followed. He asked for reconciliation, saying Zimbabweans should “let bygones be bygones”. However, he pledged to chart a new course and promised improvement in the economy and lives of Zimbabweans. He insisted elections would take place as scheduled and portrayed the image of a man of destiny.

He has the next few months to organise a credible election. I’m hoping that he would act like our own General Abdulsalami Abubakar by handing over power in record time, if that is the will of his people. The world would give him a standing ovation for it. But if he falls into the temptation of grabbing power, ignoring and curtailing the democratic will and zeal that brought him to power, it would be such a monumental shame and tragedy.

All eyes are now on Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe.

2019 And The Battle For A New Nigeria By Udenna Orji

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.

Read Atiku’s Reaction To Buhari Speech At 72nd UNGA Meeting

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on what he called a successful outing at the 72nd Session of United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Atiku, in a statement issued in Abuja by his media office on Wednesday, agreed with Buhari’s message of gratitude to the international community for their efforts in the Lake Chad region.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, also said that the President was right to draw the UN’s attention to the sufferings of Myanmar’s Rohingya people, cited by the UN as perhaps the world’s most persecuted minorities.

The Waziri Adamawa said that minorities all over the world deserved the cooperation of majority groups.

“It is my sincere desire that arising from President Buhari’s speech, the UN will increase its support to Nigeria and her neighbors in the Lake Chad Region as we redouble our efforts to rid the region of the scourge of terrorism and restore peace and prosperity to a once thriving zone,” Atiku said.