Pundits, political commentators, columnists and studio discussants have all bemoaned the sheer rascality of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the just concluded Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) convention in Abuja. That Atiku, the chief mourner, should ended up as a hectoring, vituperative and toxic grammarian against President Goodluck Jonathan is unsettling many disciples of genteel public conduct. Nobody, not even his PDPian cousins, ever thought that the urbane former VP carries the genetic imprint of a negative epigrammatist. What catalyzed the overdrive of his acerbic tongue was the fear of losing the primary to his arch foe, President Goodluck Jonathan. At last, the Jobian debacle found a bitter fulfilment: what he feared most eventually happened to him. He lost and lost brilliantly. Atiku was unplugged!
Thursday January 13 was a date with fate. A day when fatalists celebrate fatalism. The whirlwind of fatalism washed Atiku ashore in a spectacularly tsunamical fury. Rather than walk in from the cold all wet and jittery, Atiku soaked himself in baleful bile against a humble Jonathan who later emptied his political dream. Landslide became respectable once more as a political lexicon on that fateful day. Atiku Abubakar, like his political cousin Ibrahim Babangida, is a restless politician still prowling the grassland of this blessed nation for delicious game to feed his voracious appetite. His former position of Vice President gave him that rare chance to hunt and he hunted as far afield as Dubai and South Africa stashing up the old trophy of his hunting days. Atiku, Obasanjo, Babangida and Buhari have all proved right the theory that former leaders could only live fulfilled lives only when they are the cynosure of political activity.
Atiku’s shattering fall hinged on manifold circumstances, all of them typical aberrations of Africa’s political class. First, Atiku calibrated his lustful neighing for power on narrow ethnic irredentism of an ancient political order of a bygone era. He worked on the emotion of his Northern sympathizers as to make Jihadism a no contest. The disappointment of it all was that the destiny of Jonathan would not allow the old hegemonic contradictions between the North and South play out as to serve the wilful desire of Atiku. Even, the Jonathan magic worked its sorcery on neoconservative wannabe Northerner like Bukola Saraki. Saraki turned out to be a bad tooth and a foot out of joint in Atiku’s bid for victory at the PDP convention. A hard lesson in placing confidence in an unfaithful man. Saraki was the burglar who stole Atiku’s coat in cold weather.
And Saraki, being a pragmatist rat, unleashed the most fatal blow of the primary’s shenanigan and delivered his Kwara fiefdom to Jonathan. Enfeebled by Jonathan’s sorcery at the moment of decision, Saraki had to opt out of the antinomian deal requiring his support for Atiku and further damaging the myth of an impregnable Northern political hegemony.
Secondly, Atiku started on a wrong bellicose footing. He opened a floodgate of nasty spat with an incumbent Jonathan who calmly and methodically seized on the lofty dream he has for a future Nigeria. Atiku cavilled more on the old corruption charges levelled against Jonathan by EFCC when he was in charge of Bayelsa State. The irony here is huge. A case of a pot calling the kettle black. Atiku’s handlers in going for Jonathan’s scandalous money laundering scam may be shameless victims of amnesia. Patients of memory barricade! As at the inception of the primary contest, Atiku had the controversial PTDF indictment hanging like a sword of Damocles on his head. On the day of the primary, a devastating, character-sinking advert of US Congressional investigation of Atiku’s unresolved money laundering littered all the dailies. Atiku’s past became fair game and a treasure trove for Jonathan’s men to dig for dirt and death.
Thirdly, Atiku’s gratuitous attacks against the PDP when the honeymoon was over were exhumed. Jonathan’s men converted them to long nails that sealed off Atiku’s coffin. There were relentless public reminders of the damning and damaging comments he infamously made when he morphed from a sceptic PDPer to a converted ACN.
His epic migration from PDP to ACN and back to PDP is a stuff of political harlotry of Adamawan orientation. He fulfilled the proverbial dog returning to his own vomit and by extension, a fool repeating his folly. This restless political hustler and prostitute is in 2018 doing the same thing – moving forward and backward. Habit die hard you might say? Hmmm!!
Alternative theories clustered around his fall like steel filings to a magnet. Atiku is perceived as dynastic-driven, irascible, tyrannical, bellicose zealot, lover of political turmoil and hero of hectoring dissonance against political foes. Atiku’s combative language deployed so assiduously mirrors the unbroken command and control mentality of the North toward uppity Southerners looking for power- power which the North has long hijacked as their birth right! He led a political rebellion against both the PDP and Jonathan through the firestorm fusillade of rebellious words. While the ugly effusion lasted, he committed sin against public decency all the way. All agreed that his political obliteration was a just and resounding punishment for his hubris. Atiku, while the primary election lasted may have injected opprobrium, colour, malice, anger, tribal antipathy, jealousy and abuse into the sterile governance of Jonathan, but was he ennobled by it all or brought down to earth from his ethnic perch?
Did his sermons announce him or was he announced by his own ill-sounding sermons? Articulating Atiku to be disarticulated even in Adamawa, his home state, announced the obituary of his political life. However, there is life after politics. He could do a John Stonehouse, the errant New Yorker who assumed a new identity and walked away into the dark night. He could also embark on a prolong Indian summer which would give him plenteous time to interrogate his restless soul. Whichever way, Atiku has ditched into a crushing political dilemma.
Note: This article was written over seven years ago. Atiku is unravelling yet again in 2018 as the most confused and Nigeria’s greatest political prostitute.
. Tijani writes from [email protected]