Governance is a serious business; so it must not be left only to the whims and caprices of the ‘career politicians’. Why? Their sole intent is, generally speaking, predicated upon the selfish, the mundane and the absurd.Therefore, the Nigerian electorate does not need a seer anymore to make them decide who should be the number one man at Aso Rock this time around.Now that the much-awaited Presidential campaign is gaining momentum, it’s time to look beyond sentiments, to study the manifestoes, track records and profiles of the 2023 presidential candidates. We need to take heed however and single-mindedly ensure that the same mistake of picking a president whose credentials do not always match our over-ached expectations, be scrupulously avoided, going forward.That is, the man with the experience and the track record is the one to consensually elect and certainly not a joker, nor one chosen through primordial sentiments.Our next president must be the one who manifestly and transparently has the capacity and persona to lead us out of the present socio-political and economic doldrums. In surveying the field of contestants, Atiku Abubakar GCON stands out for his uniquely unmatched profile. A politician and businessman who served as the Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku is no doubt a blessing at this time for the opposition hoping to bring new agenda that will be sellable to the electorates.There are many reasons why Atiku Abubakar is the right person for the people of Nigeria at this time, following the uninspiring 8-year leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Atiku Abubakar has a blueprint for governance.
The former Vice President who enjoys the company of educated people and is an intellectual in his own right has prepared a policy document with his vision encapsulated in JOBS – Jobs, Opportunity, Being United and Security. In it, he sets out his superb mastery of the developmental challenges facing the country and how he will tackle them, sector by sector when he becomes president. On the 25th of April 2018, Atiku Abubakar outlined his governance and political agenda to a select and distinguished international audience of foreign diplomats, Nigerians, politicians, academics and leading businessmen at the international think tank, Chatham House in London, the UK. In the lecture titled, ‘’The Importance of strengthening States’ Economic Management Systems’, Atiku presented an outline of a cooperative and all-inclusive type of democratic government in which the states and the Federal Government would be partners in a transparent system built on prudent economic management, as against the present situation of master-servant relationship where the states get monthly handouts from the central government!
According to Atiku and experts who have reviewed the lecture, this system of national economic management will liberate the creative energies of the States and encourage them to mobilize and better utilize resources for development in areas where they have comparative advantages.Through his anti-corruption crusade for which Nigerians are grateful but which has unfairly targeted mostly opposition politicians nationwide, the APC-Buhari government has worked hard to taint most PDP members. On this score, Atiku Abubakar has been vindicated by no less a person than Prof Itse Sagay, czar of the president’s anti-graft panel. On the issue of corruption, it is now common knowledge that the former Vice President is only a victim of allegations, hearsay and suspicion because of his wealth and investment. These allegations are trite as none has been proven in any Court of Law, even when Atiku himself has gone to Court to challenge the allegations. And when one talks of Atiku’s immense wealth, one has not seen the name of Wazirin Adamawa among Africa’s richest men or even on the list of the World’s wealthiest. Rather, Atiku would always make the short list of those who have impacted humanity the most in this part of the world. Atiku’s investments are the Atiku Group of Schools in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and the development institution known as the American University of Nigeria (AUN), also in Yola. The AUN is the first development-oriented institution of higher learning in Africa.
Atiku also established Adama Beverages Limited in Yola, which makes potable water and fruit drinks, as well as Rico Gado Animal Nutrition which makes feed for all classes of livestock. The common trend that runs through all of these investments of the former Vice President is that they employ thousands of Nigerians directly and indirectly, provide quality education and provide skills and entrepreneurship as well as innovation, which is the catalyst of development. Aside from being a foremost investor and entrepreneur, Atiku has carved a niche as a good economic manager. As Vice President under former President OlusegunObasanjo, Atiku was the Chairman of the National Economic Council which started a revolution of sorts in the management of the national economy.Under the Obasanjo/Atiku administration, Nigeria did well in introducing measures and implementing policies that gave the entire national economy a lease of life and a breath of fresh air and created jobs and regular income for the majority of Nigerians. Several industries and companies, both local and foreign started business in Nigeria while those who had been in the country before 1999, expanded their businesses, and modernized their production processes.If we reflect on the fact that the PDP left office in 2015, for Muhammadu Buhari of the APC to take over, and since then, 13 million jobs have been lost and hundreds of businesses collapsed or relocated outside the country, it would be clear what a disaster the Buhari government has been. It is therefore a matter of urgency for Nigerians to elect in the February 25 presidential election, a man used to business and entrepreneurship and who gets things to work to replace Muhammadu Buhari, who clearly has failed to get his thoughts and bearing together since May 2015.Finally, a unique quality which sets Atiku apart from Buhari and which shows that Atiku is better for Nigeria in 2023 going forward, given the present sorry state of national integration in Nigeria, is that in Atiku’s thinking, there is only One Nigeria; whose citizens without exception deserve equal access to the good things of life. The way the former Vice President runs his businesses and his large family is such that there is no place for tribalism, no ethnicity, no nepotism, no exclusion or 97 versus 5 per cent! No one near him is made to feel unwanted, like a stranger or an outsider which are all hallmarks of the persona and government of the current Muhammadu Buhari. Enlightened Nigerians have offered interesting arguments as to why zoning shouldn’t be an issue in the coming election.
Candidates would be selling themselves to a national electorate that’s all too conscious that Nigeria needs a President that will be able to fix the numerous problems confronting the people. It is a good development that the former ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has come back to reckoning.It is equally a good sign for Nigerians who have had a rough time under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari that a humane and detribalized Nigerian, in the person of Atiku Abubakar, who is also a proven economic manager is the presidential candidate of the resurgent PDP. The good thing about Atiku’s candidacy is that at last, an alternative to the Buhari brand of leadership has emerged in the person of a man who is many things rolled into one, and in whom Nigerians will find the qualities they are looking for, in management and leadership. Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa and a Nigerian of fine credentials comes in as a breath of fresh air both from the resurgent PDP and from the larger Nigerian political space that has been poorly represented by the clannish administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. For the APC’s change of duplicity to be consigned to the trashcan of unwanted history, Nigerian voters need to vote for a real change under a man ready, eager and yearning for service. APC can only continue on the path of furthering the incompetent and divisive government it has been running under Buhari since May 2015. That the party has continued to openly deny responsibility for the promises it made to Nigerians during the campaign for the 2015 election shows that having them in power beyond 2023 is an unmitigated disaster in waiting.
ADEYINKA ADEFUMILOYE A PUBLIC ANALYST, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR WRITES IN FROM ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE