Atiku: Treading a road to self-destruct?

Nigeria: EX-PRESIDENT Obasanjo’s quoted comments about his Vice, Atiku Abubakar, which appeared on the front page of the Daily Trust edition of Monday, 30 March, 2009 and which Atiku’s media office belaboured to refute  on March 31, 2009 in the same Daily Trust fore-grounded again, the essential thrust and objective trajectory of the views which I expressed over a month ago about Atiku — a dispassionate assessment of the place of morality, honour and integrity in Nigerian politics, but a view which elicited nothing but obscene outburst and insensate diatribe from Atiku himself and his retinue of media goons and hirelings.

Obasanjo’s characterisation of Atiku  must be placed in the context of the latter’s journey of forgiveness and reconciliation to the former, an episode that held in absolute contempt of the struggle for democracy, due process, constitutional governance and level headed leadership between 2006-2007. The consequences of that visit and the whole unsavoury and 

nauseating details about who begged and fawned for forgiveness before the other pales into insignificance in the context of Atiku’s betrayal of the cause of progressive politics in Nigeria, his conception of power as an individual enterprise without moral content or mass impulse, and his whole scale negation of the stand of the courageous men and women who stood with him in his over-advertised confrontation with Obasanjo; a stand that eventually took the lives of a number of patriots, ruined businesses and exposed others to all manners of threats, intimidation and vulnerabilities.



As Atiku nurses his self-inflicted wounds, as he muses over his “betrayal” by his friend Obasanjo  and as he weighs within his bleeding conscience the karmic law that has apparently ensnared him, he must pause to reflect on my earlier comments and come to the inescapable conclusion that I was prophetic enough to see beneath the hollow; self-serving embrace between him and his former boss.


He will avow with me that the road to Abeokuta is akin to the passage to Golgotha without any of its redemptive force, a high road to perdition with the material and transcendental properties of deepening political ruin, moral miasma and spiritual waste.

I am not gloating over Atiku’s current political dilemma, indirection and crisis of moral consciousness but has as a student of society, in all my thought and action, I have always been guided by fidelity to facts which are derived and always conscious of the larger implications of my conduct as it affects a wider public.

It was this objective premise of examining reality that guided my comments about Atiku’s state of political conviction, his betrayal of the high moral ideals on which the struggle against Obasanjo was founded opportunistic abandonment of his political allies in his futile quest for political redemption.  I never spoke as a single individual but as the articulated voice and pain of a generation that felt let down by his ill-advised misadventure.

Fully aware that a political enterprise that is couched on perfidious terms will not only be deconstructed and imploded but will ultimately self-destruct, I was not in the least surprised that Obasanjo merely trapped Atiku into a quagmire with a potent nail on which he intends to hammer his political coffin. The door to the PDP remains barred for him. His diminished comfort zone in the AC has all but evaporated. The journey to an uncertain political future has just begun for him and the depleted ranks of the journeymen who dotter his environment.

When I made my point I was not being insultive for I came from a cultural space and tradition that honours and respects elders but also permits the younger members of the community to speak words of truth to them when they err, derail or become possessed by arrogance. All across the country my belief in this paradigm of elders is proven and secure, just as my courage.

It was therefore my intention to remind him of the following facts he may well have forgotten and the lessons deriving therefrom which seem completely lost within the bowels of his tall ambition: Over 20 PDP governors rallied around Atiku when he declared his interest in the PDP presidential nomination for the 2003 general election believing him to be a better material given the suggestion that Obasanjo was becoming increasingly dictatorial, despotic and intolerant of contrary view.

I was among this group of governors and our stand was fully stated and readily brought to Obasanjo’s attention. Without consulting with us about his true intentions, Atiku abandoned and betrayed us to Obasanjo, pledged his loyalty to him and secured the vice-presidential ticket for a second term. Obasanjo, in his natural revenge-seeking manner ensured that those of us who managed to win the general election with a dint of hard work had a rough time for the next four years.

We were harassed, intimidated and bounded from pillar to post, a situation that still persists today given the coercive institutional resources he deployed to demonise us and tarnish our hard-earned reputation.

In spite of Atiku’s action, when his political conflict with Obasanjo blew open, some of us, without any personal score to settle with the then president and completely unaware that their quarrel had more to do with their personal issues, still rallied around Atiku, believing him to be a staunch democrat and true progressive who wants the best for the nation. For myself in particular, my unqualified support for Atiku left enduring scars.

I lost my airline, two banks and several oil businesses long standing before we worked togther to make Obasanjo president. I was forced out of the PDP and the EFCC virtually made Abia State their permanent abode. I was arrested and arraigned before the law courts on trumped up charges, all because of no particular quarrel with Obasanjo save for my commitment and dedication to Atiku’s cause, and my stated stand on Nigerian democratic process, a process I believe should be tolerant, inclusive and participatory.

I also wonder whether Atiku is aware that directly or indirectly, his quarrel with Obasanjo consumed the lives of so many Nigerian patriots.

Fully conscious of these facts and realities, the role of patriots, the judiciary, civil society, labour and the media, their tremendous courage and sacrifice, their staunchness and unwavering spirit in popularising his political agitation, and without due consultation, he embarked on his quasi-spiritual  pilgrimage to Abeokuta to extend his hand of forgiveness and reconciliation to the very same person who has vowed to deal with, and indeed dealt with most of those that aided him (Atiku) in his struggle.

History and myth are replete with tragic heroes who are essentially personalities of some substance, who sometimes desire to do good works but are often times consumed by fatal flaws of personality, and who fall from the high Olympus of honour and universal acclaim to the infernal region of waste and perdition. Atiku’s current journey is a testament to this mythical and historical truth. May his current state instruct us all about the transience of power and the frailty of humanity and may history not be over-harsh on him.

by Orji Uzor KaluVanguard