Buhari and Atiku. Photo credit: The Sun Nigeria

2023: Is Atiku Now Becoming Serial Contender?

4 mins read

In the long list of the sorely needed qualities of Nigeria’s political class is integrity.

Political decampments, self-serving governors and senators, ethnic saboteurs and money-monger opportunists are common sights on the corridors of power in Nigeria.

Their antics heighten, and move from subtle alignments to shameless betrayal of the common interests and parleys with their people when elections come near. How hilarious that almost all the five governors of the Southeast have displayed attitudes that betray promises made to them by present power brokers that they would be president, vice president or both at the same time!

Some People Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts say that it was such unfortunate promises that could only explain the almost unimaginable decampment by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State from PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). It is the same with the dance and body language of some other governors in the Southeast region.

Recently, the media was awash with news of the absence of Mr Peter Obi at an Atiku-Abubakar-for-president campaign train in Anambra. Obi was a running  mate to Atiku in  the  2019 presidential election won by  President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.

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The first implication of Obi’s absence at Atiku’s  2023 presidential bid rally in Anambra (Obi’s home state)) is integrity by a man, who may not have found a moral obligation in conscience to play vice president to an aspirant not of Igbo extraction at this time.

Again, the statement by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, leader of the team, that Atiku was the only fitting match to Bola Tinubu in the contest for 2023, is a slight on the Igbo aspiration for president. Obi’s absence is an unvoiced, yet the most strident response to Dokpesi’s indirect but hollow political aspersion on Igbo.

Dokpesi led his campaign delegation to the home of Valentine Ozigbo, defeated PDP flagbearer in the just concluded Anambra elections. As if starting a presidential campaign on the heels of a failed campaign, Dokpesi lamented that Ozigbo failed due to selfish interests of some PDP members. It is this selfishness that Obi does not want to replicate in the camp of the PDP, who will do very well to make the right choices devoid of a northern candidate in the spirit of equity, fairness and federal character.

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Dokpesi himself mouthed the merits of rotational presidency when he said it was to prevent the emergence of Super Nigerians by allowing people from every part of Nigeria to lead. The first then is, Why Atiku from the north where the president and almost anyone that mattered in the present administration hails?

It is gladdening to note that other notable members of the PDP have spoken  up.  Prince Kassim Afegbua, a chieftain of the party, recently berated Atiku for his relentless quest for the presidency through the PDP.

Afegbua premised his strong argument on Atiku’s age and the need to respect the turn of southern Nigeria to produce the next president. Afegbua also made allusions to Atiku’s efforts and  tendency to being a perpetual candidate and professional contestant. He also cemented the obvious truth that southern Nigeria had capable  leaders` when it comes to the issue of quality and credibility.

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All said, the onus lies on the Southeast to work out their political salvation with astute negotiation, not with  trembling and fear.

Dr Marcel Mbamalu is a Development Journalist and trainer

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