By Ahmed Abba-Aji
It seems the resolution of the recent issues within the Peoples Democratic Party by the Supreme Court and their successful Congress last week, in the midst of the chaos in the ruling All Progressive Congress, has set off alarm bells within the government.
At a time when President Muhammadu Buhari is celebrating his 100 days in London, his spokesman, Garba Shehu was telling THISDAY that Buhari is good enough to run in 2019. Does he mean good enough to run for the job of Mayor of London?
That the APC and the Presidency is confused and desperate is not the issue. The issue is that they are trying to cure their malady by enlisting faceless intellectual imps to run beer parlour analysis that stands logic on its head.
One such that we have recently had to endure was by Abu Najakku in the Daily Trust of August 15th 2017 entitled ‘The many PDP myths’.
In that piece, the faceless Najakku shared a number of ill-considered theories that he wants the public to believe are reasons why the PDP is not an option in 2019.
The only theory that he came up with that sounds remotely plausible is the one where he identified former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the PDP’s best route to power, but then goes on to say that that route isn’t viable because, as he puts it, “Atiku is in and out of political parties seeking their tickets to contest the presidency and he has been running since 1992!”
However does Najakku not realise that if changing parties and a long-term desire to serve his country invalidates Atiku Abubakar as a candidate then that argument is even more potent for the love of Najakku’s life, President Muhammadu Buhari?
As he rightly said, Atiku Abubakar has been running for the Presidency since 1992 making him the most experienced Presidential candidate in Nigeria.
In his 25 years as a Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has contested as an aspirant under the banner of four political parties – the Social Democratic Party, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Action Congress and the All Progressive Congress.
In the case of the SDP, the party was dissolved by General Sani Abacha on November 17, 1993 so Atiku Abubakar had no choice to leave the SDP. In the case of the PDP, he was chased out of the party and his followers were denied re-registration, so his departure was not of his own choice. In the case of the Action Congress, the party folded up and became the Action Congress of Nigeria, and finally, Atiku Abubakar joined the All Progressive Congress precisely because on December 18, 2016, the APC led by its then interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and its leadership including President Muhammadu Buhari, visited him in his house and begged him to join their party to save democracy in Nigeria.
At this juncture, I must note that Atiku Abubakar did not join the APC because he left the PDP, rather he joined because the PDP had become factionalised on August 14th 2013 after its Special Delegates’ Convention produced two parallel national executives.
So if that is the extent of Atiku Abubakar’s political movements in the past 25 years, then I will not be so bothered especially when you compare his to the journey of President Muhammadu Buhari, who only began to participate in democratic politics in 2002 after Senator Kanti Bello (who now says he regrets inviting him to enter politics) convinced him to join his party, the All Nigerian People’s Party on whose platform he contested the 2003 and 2007 Presidential elections.
In March 2010, Buhari left the ANPP for the Congress for Progressive Change, a party that he had founded because he could not control the ANPP.
And then again in 2013 he left the CPC and joined the All Progressives Congress. With such a pedigree, President Buhari and his lackeys like Najakku (if that is his or her real name) should consider stepping out of their greenhouse before casting stones in the direction of Atiku Abubakar.
And when Najakku says that the “the Peoples Democratic Party (is) still smarting from the beating it received at the 2015 general election” he betrays a very shallow knowledge of politics.
It is true that in 2015, the PDP lost to the APC by two a half million votes. In a country of 170 million, I would not call that a beating. If Najakku wants to know what a beating is, he should examine every election between 2003 and 2015.
In 2003, President Olusegun Obasanjo defeated Muhammadu Buhari by 11 million votes. That’s not a beating. That is a walloping.
In 2007, the late President Yar’adua defeated Muhammadu Buhari, by 18 million votes. That was a technical knock out.
In 2011, Buhari was defeated by former President Jonathan by 10 million votes. That was a trouncing.
The fact remains that in 2015, Muhammadu Buhari only won because strong elements of the PDP, like Atiku Abubakar helped him secure his mandate. On his own, he would have suffered another massive loss. The key difference between 2015 and 2003, 2007 and 2011 was the input of Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu.
So please Abu Najakku, return whatever money you were paid for uttering such unsubstantiated clap-trap on behalf of your paymaster and use your time to study some facts about Nigerian political history before you inflict your ill-thought out diatribe on the public.
*Ahmed Abba-Aji, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Kaduna