By Usman Garba Santuraki
Atiku Abubakar ventured into the murky Waters of politics by persuasion. The late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’adua, who was a one time, Chief of Staff, Surpreme Headquarters invited Atiku to leave his job with the Nigeria Customs and joined him to play politics.
This was after Atiku assisted him when he was incharge of the Murtala Mohammed Airport and this was a period when he had disagreement with the then ruling party” National Party of Nigeria” and those in authority were bent on dealing with him but Atiku, out of respect and magnanimity to the late General ordered that the seized goods be released to him without even asking to see him and bearing the consequences.
It was after this episode that Yar’adua sent for him and that begun their mutual and cordial relationship which greatly blossomed over the years. At the inception of General Ibrahim Babangida transition programme in 1989, Yar’adua and Atiku founded a political association which was known as the Peoples Front (PF) and following the formation of the Social Democratic party (SDP) in 1990, there was a struggle of control of the SDP between Peoples Solidarity party (PDP) and Peoples Front. At the convention, the PF won a decisive victory with the election of Babagana Kingibe as the Chairman.
Atiku immediately wanted to test his popularity as a politician when during the gubernatorial primaries in the then Gongola State, the factional war reared its ugly head between PF and PDP and he became a victim having being defeated by late Dr Bala J Takaya in a very controversial primaries that transformed Yola to a war front with his supporters taking over the SDP Secretariat in Yola. At least three persons lost their lives.
Because of this, the then National Electoral Commission disqualified both Atiku and Takaya which paved way for the emergence of Alhaji Saleh Michika vs Mr Boss Gida Mustapha, thé present Secretary to the Government of the Federation which saw the former occupying the Dougerei Government House for two years before the take over the reign of government from the politicians by late General Sani Abacha.
In 1993, Atiku Abubakar vie for the number one slot in the SDP primaries in which he come third and later withdraw for late Chief Moshood Abiola. During the constitutional conference election, Atiku took active part and won the election to represent Jada in the constitutional conference and later with the formation of Political parties he pitch his tent with the National Centre Party but later co-opted into United Nigeria Congress party by the then National Security Adviser to Abacha.
When General Abdulsalam Abubakar, assumed the mantle of leadership of the country after the death of General Sani Abacha, he dissolved the Political parties and ask politicians to formed Political associations. Atiku Abubakar, spear-headed the political machinery of his mentor and benefactor Shehu Musa Yar’adua in mobilising people and other groups to formed what is today known as the Peoples Democratic party (PDP).
Due to his political sagacity, he was able to bring together the conservatives and the progressives to formed the party. Those he bring are the late Chief Solomon Daushep Lar, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Professor Jibrin Aminu, Chief Don Eteibet and late Dr Alex Ekwwueme etc. By this feat, he was able to prove wrong those tended to underestimate him. Atiku Abubakar commands widespread admiration from the people. A very humble personality who most of the time descends so low to relate and dine with his political associates.
The support he has from the people that cuts across the length and breadth of Nigeria made it possible for him to come and vie for thé governorship of his state (Adamawa) under the platform of the Peoples Democratic party. He won with a convincing votes by beating his opponent the late Dr. Bala J Takaya of of the All Peoples Party. Determined to put PDP in power, Atiku Abubakar, brought out all the men and women who are supporters of his political mentor, Yar’adua because he was the arrow head of the group he supplied funds for laying the party on ground. He therefore succeeded in persuading General Olusegun Obasanjo who was the former boss of late General Shehu Musa Yar’adua, to come out to contest the election as Presidential candidate of the PDP.
He became the pointsman, who mobilised the then Governors- elect as well as Chairmen elect of the Local Governments of the country to elect Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, at the PDP convention. He played the same role when he left the PDP for the APC in 2015 by supporting the Presidential candidate of the party then General Muhammadu Buhari, wholeheartedly thereby setting the space, that saw the then President Goodluck Jonathan being defeated by then General Muhammadu Buhari.
In 2019, he pair as the Presidential candidate of the PDP after leaving the APC and stand for election with President Buhari in which he made an impressive outing that year.
His understanding of the art of politics is that which is not backed by naked power. He has a clear political vision and his personal dynamism, industry and the great love the masses have for him make him a formidable opponent.
He has a remarkable intuition which enables to force his most sophisticated opponents into morally indefensible corners.
Now, that he has once again clinched the ticket of the Peoples Democratic party as well as 2023 is approaching, it is time, that ideas should come into the minds of the people of the country to critically analysed the blueprint he will outline for the good of the land.
Atiku Abubakar as a public servant especially when he served as the Vice-President has put meritorious service inspiring the youths of the country in what he believed to be the common cause. He is a citadel within three powerful Atiku- nationalist Atiku- socialist and Atiku- struggling daily for mastery.
A good politician is supposed to be at home in every state even as the Mayedoro of Lagos,Aware Adimura of Ife in Osun State, Eze Igwe Enyioha of Enugu State, Zege Mule ‘u’ Tiv of Benue State, Shettima Biu and Wazirin Adamawa. Which ever state at all Atiku Abubakar has friends, loyalists, faithfuls, die hard supporters who will lay down their lives for him.
He is honest and open and doesn’t discriminate on religion and tribe. Atiku Abubakar, is a complete gentleman and if having given a total room to operate can harness a formidable political future for our nation.
Is a Public/Political Analyst
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