By Hamidu Attahiru
Atiku Abubakar has been a constant fixture in Nigeria’s ever-changing political landscape, where careers can rise and fall like the tide. For decades, the once-tagged most powerful Vice President, reigned supreme and yielded such enviable authority with brazen audacity. Atiku whose pedigree is one of rising through the ranks of the Nigerian Customs Service became the Vice President of Nigeria by sheer political fortune. He has since embarked on a fruitless journey to become the President of Nigeria. However, his untamed ambition induced in him, amnesia that he forgot the phrase ‘modesty is key to success’. Illusive figures, like Atiku, who use deception, corruption and ethical grey areas to achieve personal gain fail to adhere to this golden principle, thus their eventual and inevitable downfall. Atiku’s character is unarguably shady, that his former boss, President Obasanjo, dedicated a whole chapter in this book “My Watch” where he described him as a highly corrupt individual, a betrayer and most of all a shameless liar.
Due to his corrupt tendencies, many of his close associates had also at various times referred to him as a corrupt politician whom Nigerians should not dare entrust their country to. For example, in a viral audio shared by his former aide, Michael Achimugu, he narrated how he took charge of Atiku’s onshore shell businesses that served as a conduit for syphoning humongous public contract funds. In addition to this, an investigative report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) files of the US Department of Treasury reeled out records of Atiku’s involvement in illicit financial flow into the US. So notoriously devoid of character, as former Vice President, he presided over the worst privatisation transaction in human history as chairman of the National Council of Privatisation. Under him, a policy which was to rejig Nigeria’s economic fortunes to the envy of the world became a debacle! Multibillion-dollar public investments were sold at pittance to himself and his associates. The impact of Atiku’s actions were so damaging that his excesses, as head of the NCP, were attested to by many as the beginning of Nigeria’s economic woes. By implication, this contributed immensely to the extreme poverty and unemployment being currently faced in the country. However, it is somewhat soothing to know that these extravagances, combined with Atiku’s insatiable desire for riches, foreshadowed the fall of his political career.
Among the many retributions Atiku suffers today, is the shameless neglect of his indigenous State, Adamawa. To add insult on his already wounded kindred, he runs the most expensive University in the country right under their noses, with exorbitant fees hardly affordable by indigenes of Adamawa State. Despite the ostensible power he wielded in the centre, Atiku did not meaningfully impact the great people of his State, let alone the northern region, all through his tenure as Vice President. He was only deeply obsessed with enriching himself and his immediate family. He so relegated his roots to the extent that his region, north-eastern was one of the poorest and his state, Adamawa, was nearly cut off from the rest of the country due to bad roads. As shocking as this may sound, there had been no motorable road leading to the former Vice President’s hometown until President Buhari intervened in 2022. No wonder, he commands no credible loyalties except from commercialised elements like Dino Melaye. Even for them, it is chop and run! His political indices have diminished greatly that since his fallout with his former boss, Obasanjo, he has continued to jump from one political party to another, all in futile attempts to return to power.
Sadly, due to his wanton pride and piggishness, Atiku has refused to face reality or accept that his political career has ended. He and his cronies have also failed to recognise that Nigeria’s political landscape has changed significantly in recent years and that the electorate has evolved, necessitating adaptability, responsiveness and strategic political manoeuvring. So tied to getting his way, he refuses to see these shifting dynamics and that his tactics and strategies are outdated and disconnected from the needs of the Nigerian electorate. This situation has further marginalised him politically and exposed him to sitting in a crowd yet standing alone, in shame and misery. This lack of sagacity pitched him against Nyesom Wike and the G5 governors before the just concluded 2023 general elections, resulting in the embarrassing failure he is currently being faced with. These among others lead one to conclude that Atiku is not destined to be Nigeria’s president and that his political career, has become a wrecked and sunk ship.
The earlier he realises that his political dynasty has fallen apart and that he has become a political liability, the better. Gone are the days when his name Atiku commanded respect in the Nigerian political arena as well as installed fear in the minds of his political opponents. Nowadays, the name is only associated with serial losers and failures. Oh, how the mighty has fallen! Even political parties do not want to be associated with him, including his own party, the PDP. His recently flopped case in the United States against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is likewise a hoax to gain public and political support for his intentions to run in 2027, but even his ambition is already potentially doomed to fail. Nigerians are not as gullible as Atiku and his cohorts think; they will never again entrust their country to kleptocrats, capitalists and self-serving politicians like him. It is better for him to retire from Nigerian politics for patriots that are ready to lift our beloved nations to greater heights. For those who are wise, a mere word is adequate.
Hamidu Attahiru writes in from Jimeta, Yola North, Adamawa State.