What are the Similarities between Trump and Atiku’s Campaign?
Well, I think the influx of young Nigerians into the political process is commendable. We actually need to start building and preparing our younger generation to take over from the older ones, especially with the population we have. However, I do not think victory on a large scale is possible for the youth in 2019.
I think we should first get into the process and then gather enough experience to take charge. What that ‘Not Too Young to Run’ law did for the youth is open up the space more for participation but it is not a blanket approval to take over power. In 2019, the opposition requires the service of an experienced politician with nationwide spread that will be acceptable to everyone across the geopolitical divides.
Personally, I do not. But if I am to be analytical with you, from the array of aspirants that have shown interest directly or indirectly within the opposition, only one individual stands tall to have the pragmatic capacity to defeat Mr Buhari in 2019 and that is former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.
However, I understand that lots of horse-trading are expected to take place before the primaries, but if the Peoples Democratic Party were to be strategic, they would use their best candidate.
It is a no-brainer. Of all the aspirants who have indicated interest, none possesses the experience and political clout like Atiku. We all know he is a successful businessman and a cosmopolitan fellow who enjoys acceptability across the country irrespective of ethnic or religion.
In a time of great disunity like ours, we need someone to unite the country and create an antidote to the cancerous Buharinomics operating today. Most importantly, Atiku has an established nationwide political structure that if fused with the support of the opposition Governors and leaders, the possibility of having victory is much higher than any of the other aspirants.
But that is my personal opinion, we will wait to see how the primaries turn out.While I subscribe to youth taking over the political process, I do not think the whole talk of age is tenable. I have a different opinion. Governance is not a training ground, what is a training ground is appointive position.
The way political office works is different from how business works. In business, you are profit-oriented and criticism is limited to the office environment. In political office, your first job is welfare, either it makes business sense or not. People will criticise your moves and you can not just fire them. So to me, what we require in 2019 is a president with experience and receptive mind and a very young cabinet made up of individuals with fresh ideas and innovations.
To start with, the issue of defection will continue to reoccur in our democratic process for a while until we have been able to attain an age of maturity. Make no mistake, our democracy even though stable is still nascent compared to other countries beyond the continent of Africa. If you look across our political parties, there is no clear cut ideology we can identify any of the parties with.
If any political party is to be formed today, for it to gain traction you will need the political bigwigs to come on board. So those that are moving, including Atiku, I believe are doing so because they feel either a sense of injustice or that the party they were in was no longer representing the ideology they thought it would uphold.
I think people should look beyond political parties though and start looking at individuals. Martin Luther King Jr. at a point in his life supported the Republican Party in the United States but that same Republican Party now is being viewed by some as a White supremacy party. So I believe the issue of cross-carpeting is merely a phase that will pass with time.
On the allegations against Atiku, few years ago, a friend of mine based in Canada was writing a contribution to a political journal and I had to help him with some research works. Part of my brief was corruption cases in Sub-Saharan Africa and in my course of research I came across the U.S. Senate report many now claim to have indicted Atiku.
I think the major issue with Atiku then was that he offended some very powerful individuals when he stood his ground on the third term agenda. The U.S. report many are now citing did not indict Atiku. The allegations bordered majorly on the Siemens bribery scandal and what the U.S. Senate tagged suspicious movement of funds.
If you look at the Siemens issue, you will realise that making reference to it is a mere waste of time. iGate, a telephony company in partnership with Siemens wanted a contract in Nigeria and a Louisiana Congressman, William Jefferson, who happened to be the leader of Congressional Black Caucus offered to help using his African root.
Around that time, Nigeria was lobbying the international community for foreign investment and Atiku represented one of such lobby sessions. From the report I read, that was how iGate was introduced to him. Along the line, the F.B.I suspected that the Congressman was engaging in shady deals and decided to conduct investigation.
In the course of the investigation, one of the iGate executive -I have forgotten the name now- was wearing a wire unknown to Mr Jefferson. So he met with Atiku and talked about the iGate project and the company’s proposal in private without the iGate executive but when Mr Jefferson later met with the executive, he alleged that Atiku demanded $100,000 from the company before the proposal could be accepted.
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