Kudos And Knocks For PDP’s Atiku

Atiku Abubakar

The immediate reaction of the Presidency yesterday to the emergence of Atiku is to  point out that rather than be a candidate of the North as being bandied in media  reports, the former Vice President is a candidate of the Adamu Ciroma-led NPLF.

“Atiku is the consensus candidate of the Adamu Ciroma led NPLF and not the North as  being mischievously played in the media. This is unless our definition of the North  now excludes the Middle Belt, the large sections of the North East and sizeable  chunk of the North West that have thrown their weight behind Jonathan,” Ima Niboro,  spokesperson for President Jonathan said in a statement.

P.M.NEWS however gathered that there was wild celebration among the aides of  President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday when news filtered in that the former Vice  President has emerged as the consensus candidate of the North. As was gathered, this  was because former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida was considered a more  formidable opposition. Also, the former Vice President, in the opinion of some of  the aides and the campaign manager of President Jonathan, has lost a lot of ground  in the PDP with his defection to the Action Congress in where he ran for the  presidency in the 2007 elections.

They also pointed to the fact that Atiku has been having a running battle with  Murtala Nyako, the Governor of Adamawa, his home state which has led to crisis in  the state chapter of PDP. It was thus believed that he may not have the total  support of his home base. It was gathered that the presidency also believed that  Atiku does not enjoy the support of most of the state governors. Just like the  Presidency, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Chairman, Conference of Nigerian

Political Parties, CNPP said the with the emergence of Atiku, the task of defeating  the ruling party in the 2011 elections by the opposition has been made easier.  Balarabe also agreed that Babangida would have been a more formidable opponent in  the coming polls if he had emerged as the consensus candidate. But Senator Jubril  Aminu told journalists that the emergence of Atiku is in the best interest of the  North. He however said the consensus arrangement will enable the North to maximize  its voting strength during the presidential primaries of the PDP.” It is very  important in the contest of our defensible and non defensible geo political interest  to pick one person and that is it”, said the lawmaker. But an Abuja based lawyer,  Barrister Chukwuemeka Chimezie said the choice of Atiku is the best among the four  candidates being considered by the Ciroma Committee. He however noted that the  former Vice President has a lot of baggage that can be used against him. Barrister  Yamah, another Abuja-based lawyer said Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State would  have been a better choice, as a youthful candidate. The Abuja based lawyer agreed  that as a candidate, Atiku has access to enough resources to prosecute his ambition.  He dismissed the whole idea of a consensus candidacy, saying it is divisive and has  resulted in enough bad blood in the Nigerian political firmament.

Also, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, the former governor of Ogun State, said the matter is  for the PDP and not ACN, adding that Atiku’s selection has no effect on the  programmes of the ACN.

“We are not bothered at all. We are not going to make the same mistake that we made  in the 2003 when we did not field any candidate for the presidential election. This  time around, we are going to have a candidate for the election.

According to Bisi Adegbuyi, ACN senatorial aspirant for Ogun East, “we are not in  anyway concerned with whatever politics that is going on in the PDP. The PDP is  bound to lose this election, no matter who emerged as their presidential candidate.

“The strong anti-incumbent sentiment that is spreading all over the world is bound  to negatively affect the political fortunes of the PDP, just as it affected the  Labour Party in the UK, Republican party in the US and lately the Democratic Party.

“People are disenchanted with political incumbents and Nigeria cannot be an  exception. Nigeria is worst in the hands of the ruling PDP,” he said.

According to the Lagos State Chairman of the ACN, Otunba Henry Ajomale, the  emergence of Atiku emerging as the consensus candidate of the PDP has nothing to do  with his party, adding that as far as he was concerned, ACN is going to defeat the  PDP in the forthcoming general elections.

Ayo Opadokun also described the emergence of Atiku as another instant of the dubious  nature of Nigerian politics, adding that the fact that a crowd of politicians in the  north had to pick Atiku speaks volume of the democratic nature of Nigeria.

“For all intents and purposes, Atiku is a complimentary specimen to the political  system of Nigeria. His political tutelage was not that of an ideological spectrum.  The basis of their politicking therefore was the commercialisation of Nigerian  politics.

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“So, I therefore imagine that the idea of consensus politics is not a complimentary  competition of liberal democracy.

“I hope they would be much more engaged in discussing issues rather than  personalties, ” he said.

In his own reaction, the national leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima  Shetima, described the selection of Atiku as a PDP affair “and PDP is not the only  party in the North.”

“In the present dispensation, people like Adamu Ciroma should not talk as a  representative of the North because he and the candidate that is being showcased  have failed the people of the region before now. Both Ciroma and Atiku have no  credibility.

“If you look at all the contestants, you will realise that Atiku has the least  credibility. From reports reaching me, the decision to pick Atiku was influenced by  former President Olusegun Obasanjo because Ciroma and Obasanjo are very close and  Obasanjo sees Atiku as the next best alternative to work with, if Jonathan does not  emerge.

“We reject this decision. When the time comes, we will make our statement, but I  know the decision of the committee will not see the light of the day,” he stated.

Commenting on Atiku’s selection, Head, Goodluck Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation  in Lagos, Kenny Okolugbo, said the organiation was not moved by the decision of the  Adamu Ciroma-led committee.

“ For sometime now, we have been waiting patiently for the committee’s decision. The  fact that you say you want a consensus candidate showed that they are scared of  Jonathan as a contestant for the presidency. Atiku should have been an institution  because of the way he fought the Obasanjo-led government and won several times. He  deviated from the objective because of his desperation to become the president.

“His desperation further made him to ditch the ACN for the PDP, a party he had  several times insulted. Atiku is an unstable politician and a child we should not  trust with a country such as Nigeria,” Okolugbo submitted.

He disclosed that the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation had successfully won over  the states in the South West through Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the  South East with the cooperation of Enugu State Governor, Martins Elechi and the  South South.

He added that the group has also made inroads in states in the North which has  increased his confidence that Jonathan will emerge as the PDP candidate and  eventually elected as president of Nigeria in the 2011 elections.

—Oluokun Ayorinde/ Abuja, Yisa Jamiu &  Eromosele Ebhomele

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