That Atiku Abubakar has resigned his membership of the All Progressive Congress(APC) is no longer a news. The interesting aspect of this episode is that as speculated, he has finally reunited with his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). To Atiku and his teaming supporters scattered across the states of the federation, it is more of a homecoming as he explained that the issue that made him leave the PDP in 2013 has been resolved.
With the above in mind and considering our nation’s political platform where swapping of the tent is part of the game, one can safely situate that he committed no offense. But what made this development newsworthy is the frequency of his political switches which I view as both perennial and incessant. Added to this is the fact that he in 2013 declared that APC will be his last bus stop. These two reasons to my mind accounted for the ripple reactions that greeted his recent actions.
However, to the keen political watchers, the above remains a non – issue as our nation’s political space has become a ‘perfect market’ characterized by free entry and free exit. It is also seen as a platform where promises are not kept and words not honoured. These developments we have seen politicians demonstrate in recent times. So, Atiku might have learned from our political history which is littered with a long list of politicians that took this part in the past.
To further illustrate the above, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, shortly after the demise of General Sani Abacha and he (Obasanjo) subsequent release from prison in 1998 told the world that he was not interested in the nation’s presidency. He went ahead to query how many presidents Nigeria wants to make out of him? But the rest is now history as we all witnessed what later played out. On his part, Peter Obi stated in the time past that he will never leave All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). But today, he is a card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Again, our dear president Muhammadu Buhari after the 2011 presidential election stated that he will no longer contest for the presidency. But today, he is our president and chances are that he may go for the second term.
Having looked at the above, Atiku as a political veteran may have learned that in war,’ whoever that arrives first and take a position is at ease while he that arrives late labours. This fact to my mind must have informed his decision for this early departure while using non- inclusion of youths in the APC scheme of things as a political bullet-proof. This is permissible as he is entitled to the freedom of association as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
Critically important in my opinion is that these inter, counter and cross opinions may not be necessary as our nation’s political climate is neither hot nor cold and as a result, allows anybody to be at any place he/she may deem suitable.
In the same fashion, Atiku that is driven by personal ambition to become the Nigerian president someday, must have realized that APC, as it is currently positioned, is an encamped ground where he cannot do political battle and win, hence his decision to hand in his resignation in order to reunite with his first love, the PDP. But in doing this, the Waziri of Adamawa again failed to remember that hearing the sound of thunder does not translate to a keen ear.
The above position is hinged on my conviction that he may not be aware that the people’s support is the greatest assert he enjoys. That alone should have compelled him to honour his word as whispered in 2013.
But, with his sudden decision to move beyond the final bus stop, will he ever be trusted by his followers? More so, Atiku is oblivion of the fact that what binds every follower to their leaders is unwavering fate built on trust. Correspondingly, no one seems to have reminded the former VP that as a leader, he is watched closely, that people are noting every move he makes, that his followers are learning a great deal about him and what he really believes as opposed to what he said. This time to my mind is both trying and defining moment for Atiku Abubakar.
Still on the negative side, while this waiting game continues, it is very imperative for the former VP to remember that switching of political tent shares two sorrowful characteristics with borrowing. First is this belief that once you start borrowing, it becomes your character. Based on this fact, chances are that we may see more political movements coming from his quarter in the nearest future. Secondly, in borrowing, your reputation depletes. Invariably, in the estimation of Nigerians, this switching of political camps must be depleting the hard earned reputation of the onetime vice president of Nigeria.
In the same manner, it is pertinent that Atiku is aware that switching is not the major solution to becoming the president as he has other stumbling factors to contend with. One of such is the ‘’I dey laff’’ phenomenon as loosely used by former president Olusegun Obasanjo during the build-up to the 2011 election. It will be a practical demonstration of wisdom on the part of Atiku to use this moment to unravel what prompted that laughter in the first instance and go a step further to turning that laughter to a welcoming smile.
In the same token, it will also not be out of place if the Turaki Adamawa can tell us the programmes he has in stock for the youths as they are waiting anxiously. This is pivotal because not having any useful programme for the Nigerian youths was one of the reasons he gave for opting out of APC. So he should be in a position to provide leadership in this direction.
Finally, his triumphant entry to PDP today 3rd December 2017 has again changed the political game plan in both APC and PDP while reminding Nigerians that 2019 is around the corner.
By: Jerome-Mario Utomi.