Reactions are generating over the recent presentation of Abubakar Atiku by the northern council of elders as the ‘beloved son’ to carry the banner of the People’s Democratic Party in the next year election.
Many eminent personalities from the northern part of the country have reacted sharply over the choice sounding aloud ‘not in my name’ to dissociate from the so called consensus which saw ex President Ibrahim Babangida, Governor Bukola Saraki and Former Secretary too the government , Gusau crashing out of the northern choice.
Atiku’s former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo roaring in laughter mocked the prospect of his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, becoming the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The fell had fallen out over allegations of corrupt practices while serving as the Vice President to the Elder Statesman.
He had been described as an embarrassment to the government which ran from 1999 to 2007.
Obasanjo’s derisive laughter was engendered by President Goodluck Jonathan’s assertion that Atiku should be in jail and had no moral right to speak any national issue especially on the economy on account of his alleged culpability in sabotaging the economy while he was in government.
It would be recalled that former Vice President Atiku was a subject of character questioning about four years ago when CNN featured in one of its news bulletin a multi billion mansion in America bought by Atiku and worth about £500m.
The house was allegedly situated on the same street as ex President Clinton. CNN reported that while Clinton was still paying his mortgage, Atiku’s mansion was bought cash down with cash down and yet Clinton’s House was smaller than Atiku’s bided slot.
CNN investigation was frustrated as no action from Nigerian government about investigating the source of the money as put across by the world renowned Organisation.
Observers claimed, such situation had warranted the eventual fall of the ex Vice VP and his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.
However, Atiku had been rumoured to have been disowned at home by the Adamawa State government which flayed the process of his emergence as ancient and anti-democratic.
Reflective of the perceived lack of enthusiasm for Atiku by Northern governors, Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, said the North would speak on its presidential aspirant at the right time trivialising Atiku’s so called choice.
South-South coordinators of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation dismissed Atiku’s viability describing him as a regional politician in contrast to Jonathan whom they described as a national candidate.
However, Vanguard reported that there was a great moment for Atiku, with the endorsement he received from his long time associate and friend, former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu.
The endorsement is believed to have been specially welcomed on the basis of claims that Ayu was preparing the ground for his own presidential campaign.
*Back to Obasanjo’s comical reaction;
President Obasanjo’s comical reaction to Atiku came on the fringes of the Council of State’s meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja during a chat with reporters.
Asked to comment on the choice of Atiku, Obasanjo after adjusting his white coloured agbada brought out his Vicks inhaler and inhaled in both nostrils and thereafter burst out laughing. He uttered comically: “I dey laugh.”
According to a Vanguard report, after about one minute, he again said: “I am full of joy and I wish you (journalists) and Nigerians the fullness of joy. I wish you peace and joy always.” The reporters echoed: “Amen”.
Shema derides choice
Governor Shema who was in the same Council of State meeting equally pooh-poohed suggestions of Atiku’s choice as reflective of the Northern political establishment.
His session with State House correspondents ran thus:
“What’s your view on Atiku?
He is a presidential aspirant.
But, he is standing in for the North?
You have to ask the North
But you are a key member of the North?
Yes, I am but you have to ask the North because I am not the only person in the North.
What’s your personal view?
My view? The North will talk.”
Speaking to newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Vice-President Sambo affirmed that the PDP would use its constitution in choosing its presidential candidate even as he flayed the sectional process engineered by Adamu Ciroma as undemocratic.
Sambo asked: “Who said that there is a consensus candidate for the North, who said so?
“We are not aware of any northern consensus candidate because our understanding differs and the North has no consensus candidate for this election for PDP”, he said.
PDP has constitutional avenues; we have our constitution of the party on how we select our candidate for our different positions for election.
“And just two days ago INEC presented the timetable which I can assure you the PDP will follow that time table. We will follow the constitutional processes for the election of our candidate.”
‘Atiku should have been in jail’
Responding through the Director of Research and Strategy in the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation, Mr. Mike Omeri, Jonathan expressed shock that Atiku could be talking about the economy despite his role in eroding the health of the economy during his time as Vice-President.
Affirming that Atiku should rather be in jail on account of his alleged misdeeds, the campaign organisation said: “We are all witnesses to the kind of economy Atiku ran as Vice President when he mortgaged our common heritage to himself and his cronies. Atiku is the least person to talk about economy he ran aground.
“It is sad that Atiku who ordinarily should be behind bars for bringing the nation’s economy to its knees when he supervised the selling of our collective wealth in the guise of privatisation would have the temerity to speak ill of a hard working President like Goodluck Jonathan.”
While accusing Atiku of mischief, Jonathan maintained that the figures portrayed by his rival were contrary to facts and figures produced by international rating agencies and institutions.
However, a London based party stalwarts saw Atiku’s choice differently: ” It is a clandestine move to safe Ibrahim Babangida’s face in the event of his falling from grace to grass so that it would bne calimed that he lost out gallantly”
The party front-liner who pledged anonymity however said Atiku’s choice was only a stage acting aime at creating a different impression in the mind of the generality of the Nigerian voters.
Aditional Source: Vanguard