In life, no season remains forever and similarly, situations also change one after another. When a storm emerges in an ocean, it creates violent wind and heavy rain, sometimes, causing a dreadful disaster but after some time there prevail a reign of calmness. Though the storm disturbs the man’s life, it will not remain for a long period as it soon disappears and calmness prevails everywhere.
This is the story of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa and the most powerful vice president Nigeria has ever produced. Though Atiku is easily the most prepared among all those who have sought or are still seeking the nation’s presidency in the last decade, his ambition has been repeatedly frustrated by persons who feel threatened by his profile.
Anytime he announced his intention to become president of Nigeria, his traducers will derisively ask: what exactly does Atiku want? Why is he so desperate to become president? Must he be president?
But not anymore. Things have now changed with many Atiku detractors shocked at the momentum his current effort to win next year’s presidential poll has started gathering.
An objective analyst would see that the key indicators to determine who flies the Peoples Democratic Party’s flag at next year’s poll lie more on how their campaigns have progressed in the last few months; how their popularity has been perceived and how their messages have resonated with the people.
Although pundits have predicted a keen contest between Atiku, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso at tomorrow’s convention scheduled to hold in Port Hacourt, a close look at the situation reveals the clear edge that the former number two citizen has over 13 other aspirants jostling for the party’s ticket in almost every area of assessment.
This conclusion stems not just from the way Atiku has managed to project himself to a level in which he is seen as capable and well-prepared for the task ahead, but also because the messages of other contenders are not well received by the people.
First, his submissions on restructuring and fiscal federalism have been applauded as a timely wake-up call, since his words bear a close resemblance to the aspirations of the citizenry, who have for long yearned for a new Nigeria.
From Grapevine, many hints on the likely outcome of Saturday’s presidential primary are emerging. Some governors of the PDP are receptive to Atiku’s aspiration because they see him as the only one with the capacity to rebuild the party and ensure that it takes over power in 2019. A deal has reportedly been struck in this direction.
Beyond what may be playing out in the realm of underground politics, the political situation in the north is clearly cloudy. Political loyalty is shifting very fast. The harsh economic situation means unconscious political reappraisal.
Indeed it is no longer news that in the northern part of the country, many are uncomfortable with the grinding paralysis that have come to signpost President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic programmes.
As much as the downtrodden in the North love Buhari, there is a gradual realignment targeting Atiku who they see as a likely new successor amenable to welfare politics and inclusive governance.
As a prelude to an elaborate campaign that will kick off after the primary election, Atiku’s media handlers have already put out art print adverts, world class jingles, and have held town hall meetings that communicate the strength of his party and his popularity to Nigerians.
The reality is that Atiku’s edge over all other aspirants in both the traditional and the new media has a lot to do with the consistency of his campaign strategy and richness of his meetings, visitations and town hall meetings.
But by far the most outstanding of Atiku’s communications strategy is the rich manifesto which addresses all the challenges currently confronting the country. No document from any aspirant within the PDP can match Atiku’s manifesto in terms of concept, content and creativity.
The same edge is seen on the social media where the Wazirin Adamawa is a household name. The import of this is that VP Atiku is by far more popular and more acceptable to the people.
It is also impossible to ignore the successes recorded by Atiku even before his foray into politics. A quintessential businessman and industrialist, with hard, wide network cutting across various sectors of our national life, Atiku has created several hundreds of thousands of jobs to many poor Nigerians. This gives Atiku a competitive edge in tomorrow’s contest.
While Atiku made reference to visible achievements to his name during his nationwide consultations and town hall meetings, other aspirants made big promises, sometimes pledging to build bridges where rivers do not exist.
That Atiku literally ran the first four years of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration gives the former vice president a head start in this contest.
At the Customs, Atiku stamped his seal of excellence. The groundbreaking achievements that the then Department of Customs recorded in terms of increased revenue generation for the nation speak volumes of the competence of the PDP presidential aspirant.
As a team player, he never shirked responsibility nor abdicate his chosen path of greatness. Humble, unassuming, articulate and trustworthy, Atiku often brings to his job a selfless disposition that thrust him up for greater service to God and humanity.
This disposition is consistent with the yearning of Nigerians from all facets of our national life-to raise the bar in public service and sustenance of a legacy of honour.
Shaibu, a public communications consultant writes from Abuja