The Demystification of the “Born Again” Atiku Brand
The political field is getting charged everyday especially as new gladiators come on board to declare intention to contest for the No. 1 slot in the country’s political hierarchy.
Though, not a politician, yet one is worried, the economy’s not helping matters and so more than a handful of citizens are worried if not disillusioned. Some so called political savvy individuals, compound the situation making it a sure case of picking between the devil and the deep blue sea! The vociferous “atikulated” team’s “unwholesome” thought that the best alternative for the country for now is former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is currently the PDP presidential candidate in the up-coming 2019 general elections.
The logic of this school of thought is that it is better to wrestle the reins of power from the current “inept” APC leadership and hand it over to the Atiku for no reason other than he is a businessman, and likely to stop the slide. Buhari they reason isn’t an entrepreneur and may care less if the entire economy crumbles.
No doubt these positions look myopic, simplistic and self serving in all indications. However, the high sounding (new) preference for Atiku isn’t just dropping from the blues. It’s orchestrated by his onetime arch enemy and former leader, Obasanjo. The warlord who had said posterity will not forgive him if he allowed Atiku to get into the saddle of leadership as the president of the nation, suddenly made a detour as the PDP Wisemen visited his hilltop residence.
“If I support Atiku for a political office other than the one I supported him in the past when I did not know him … God will not forgive me”, were Obasanjo’s exact word earlier offered on the PDP flag bearer.
Commenting on a rather “remorseful” Atiku during the visit, Obasanjo in his now famous but precarious endorsement speech, “From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.
“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you”, said Obasanjo, PhD, Christian Theology.
Despite the former President’s unpopular political disposition especially on the third term agenda and his role in grinding the PDP to a halt in the last dispensation, Atiku political camp and fiend opposition to the incumbent took Obasanjo’s blank cheque to town a-la-carte.
Based on the endorsement, the “Atikulated” is said to have garnered real or imagined “enormous goodwill and brand equity” looking fit and prim for the Aso Rock come 2019.
But one person, a woman isn’t taking any of these lying low. She is not impressed and refused to be silenced in the face of opposition! Dr. Oby Ezekwesili another member of the member of the Obasanjo cabinet will not take any of his former boss’ endorsement for his words.
Dr. Ezekwesili, known for her frankness, in her declaration speech in Lagos did not hide the fact that she is out to ruffle feathers, using data to justify her position while she basically didn’t see any difference between the two frontline parties. “The PDP is not in opposition to the APC. The candidate of the PDP has over the past 14 years gone from PDP to AC, AC to PDP, PDP to APC and now back to PDP. For these terrible Nigerian politicians, corruption is all fun and games”.
Showing her disdain for the Atiku brand especially, the ACPN Presidential candidate noted, “I served in that government with one of the candidates who is running under #APCPDP in this election. Kai! No, no, no. Six and a half years after, I had fought the fight that had to be fought from within, and then I left government knowing for sure that if this political order is not changed, the work of good governance that we do within government will never last”, she declared.
Standing marketing lessons 101 on its head, Oby chooses to attack “celebrated” Atiku and his more formidable PDP headlong, damning whatever the marketing gurus of this world would have prescribed as consequences! “For goodness sake, what has fundamentally changed about that PDP we have always known? What lessons did the party really learn after its defeat in 2015? Is this not the same PDP that looted the monies meant to equip our military, so that our soldiers had to run away at the sight of Boko Haram, because they had no weapons? The same PDP that spent precious days denying that our Chibok girls were kidnapped and so allowed the terrorists get away? Is this not the same PDP that conducted a recruitment exercise for the Immigration Service that killed scores of our young people and yet nobody was sacked or punished? She queried adding how can we forget so easily!
Speaking to the supposed high ground that the PDP candidate has run successful businesses and therefore will be good for the economy at a time like this, Dr. Ezekwesili flawed what she called half witted thinking.
Quoting from a 2005 email from the president of Atiku’s university which was obtained by US investigators, pointed out that the success of that Atiku’s private business is dependent on our commonwealth.
“…The flow of revenue to the university will slow dramatically if Atiku’s political fortunes continue to wane… Construction delays on campus have also raised fears that the prospects for the university are linked to Atiku’s political success.”
In similar vein, she also noted that a special report by a US Senate Committee on Foreign Corruption concluded that “over an eight-year period from 2000 to 2008, Atiku and his wife, Jennifer Douglas were able to bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States…”
This alleged infractions become serious as the ACPN Presidential candidate noted that all these happened “at the very time that this person was the Vice President of this very same country”.
She could never imagine or rather finds it difficult to comprehend the fact that these are the people Nigerians want to put in charge of the national treasury? In charge of the money for your children’s education? Of the resources for our country’s hospitals? Of the budget for our depleted army and our impoverished police force? These and more posers expressed her disdain for oppositions’ alleged kleptomaniac tendencies.
According to the “Bring Back Our Girls” advocate, “there is nothing to respect about the power that they have. They do not know anything that you don’t know. These are not men worthy of your regard. All they know is how to grab power. And we can shake them off in 2019”, she affirmed.
Explaining that opposition is stuck in the past, she noted that these people are still talking about oil when the world is counting down to the end of the oil economy? “In fact, we should just give them the oil to drink since it is what they really want so that they can leave us alone to focus on the work of rebuilding our economy”.
Highlighting the point of differentiation between her and the oppositions, Madam Oby noted that her agenda is about creating wealth – growing the pie exponentially, creating jobs, building shared prosperity and taking at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“It is to mobilize the energies of the people and our private sector, invest in upgrading our capacity capabilities to compete globally, and end the bad policies which have turned Nigeria into Poverty Central”.
An Oby Ezekwesili presidency, according to her, will not only work to create an enabling environment for our young people to explore their greatest potentials and be globally competitive, but they will actually power the government.
“Building our young human capital will be an urgent priority of our ACPN government”. One of such is to transform 20 Nigerian universities into world class institutions with strong showings on the global rankings.
The strategy to attain her craving for the position, “our actions will center on mobilizing the youth, building and adopting science and technology to disrupt the status quo in every sector including governance, implementing the reforms and reorganization to reduce bureaucracy, and making government a partner instead of an enemy of progress. This will in turn create jobs, turbo-charge businesses and fight inequality”.
Dr. Ekwesili as an accomplished technocrat, led the World Bank’s operations in 47 African countries for five years, delivering up to $40 billion that helped countries tackle development challenges across a range of issues including actual work of rebuilding nations.
Against her background, competencies and achievements nationally and globally and having interacted with the opposition at close quarters, she noted “These people are so incompetent that they make issues like infrastructure and human development, agricultural production and productivity, private sector development and economic reforms look like mission impossible”.
Oby was privileged to be a cabinet member before 40, and a minister at 42, implementing the reforms that changed Nigeria’s broken and corrupt public contracting system to one of a global standard.
As minister of solid minerals she led the repositioning of the country’s mining possibilities for private sector leadership; She was education minister for less than one year, but in that time, the ministry embarked on the most comprehensive reforms Nigeria has seen since 1999.
“We revamped the Federal Inspectorate Service and began the first ever nationwide inspection of secondary schools. We built the Nigeria Education Management Information System, collecting data and using it to analytically plan and make education policy. We introduced the private sector supported Entrepreneurship Studies as a compulsory General Studies course in all higher institutions”, among other initiatives.
Madam Oby is entering into uncharted waters and so she is resolute on her pursuit as she declares, “with a deep sense of responsibility but a clear understanding that I had no choice, we have waited too long, and it is time for us to get in and fix this country ourselves”.
“I don’t just know ‘business’. I know capital. I understand economies. I know nation building”. Hence, she wants you to trust that under an Oby Ezekwesili presidency, “we will get to work immediately lifting a minimum of 80 million Nigerians out of debilitating poverty, I mean business”, Dr. Oby re-affirmed.