The Oasis Reporters
February 18, 2019
By Greg Abolo
One salient feature of the interview with Kadaria Ahmed on ‘The Candidates’ was the monumental revelation Atiku Abubakar dropped that almost went unnoticed in public commentaries so far.
The 72 year old People’s Democratic Party, PDP showed utmost sensitivity and self awareness of his status as a grand old man to boldly declare that he as a candidate, is “ a bridge to the future”.
Atiku Abubakar realizes that as a septuagenarian who has good plans and deep love for his country, he would have no other choice than to prepare the younger generation for leadership and give Nigeria the good fortune of a Macron-like kind of leader as in France. Or what Canada is beautifully experiencing with Justin Trudeau. Even South Africa is cheering with Cyril Ramaphosa.
In other words, Atiku would not want to be like the Buhari kind of leader who has filled his corp of leadership with already retired and tired old septuagenarians and co. Besides, they are going to be diverse, and not the nepotistic group Nigeria is currently saddled with.
As soon as Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was made the Acting President in the order of the doctrine of necessity, Peter Obi did exactly what business and growth minded inspirational leaders do. He was at that time, the governor of the South Eastern state of Anambra. He knew that the moulds for an automobile engineering company owned by Chief Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson Automobile Engineering Company) were impounded by former president Olusegun Obasanjo simply because he didn’t believe that a Nigerian could start manufacturing cars and trucks successfully. He was equally angry that all the Motor Assembly plants he established as a former military head of state (Steyr in Bauchi, Fiat in Kano, Leyland in Ibadan, Peugeot in Kaduna and Volkswagen near Badagry) had all collapsed, failed.
But Obasanjo was no longer in power. Liberal and economy growing Jonathan was in charge.
Peter Obi took Innocent Chukwuma immediately to see Jonathan who ordered for the moulds to be released immediately. A few weeks later, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was at the Innoson Automobile complex at Nnewi to Commission the industry and test drive the first car made in the firm. It was unique, and shaped a new Automotive policy for Nigeria.
A few weeks later, the same Peter Obi invited Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to Anambra state to commission Orient Petroleum Refinery, privately owned by Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
At the commissioning, a buoyant and expansive Peter Obi spoke as host governor in the midst of smiling Igbo chieftains, populace and captains of industry that the presidency, having circulated from Obasanjo’s South West for 8 years and now in the South South after the unfortunate demise of President Yar’adua of the North West, he expected Jonathan to remain in power till 2019, then power should rotate back to the North for 8 years till 2027 before the South East would take its turn from 2027 to 2035.
As at the time Peter Obi was looking that futuristic, he was an All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA governor, but felt free to show that the Igbo were patient and unhurried for the presidency, as long as whoever is President is business minded, growth inspiring and who runs a unifying government. It didn’t matter that Igbo had not produced a President since the advent of presidential form of democratic governance in 1979.
While Peter Obi’s analysis was looming large from the background, God’s plans for Nigeria was slightly different. Jonathan lost his reelection bid in 2015 and the North had its shot, four years earlier than predicted by Peter Obi, with the Buhari presidency.
It is 2019 and Nigeria is at the threshold of another presidential election. The choice is largely between Muhammadu Buhari from the North West that has produced three executive presidents for Nigeria (Shagari, Yar’adua and Buhari), versus Atiku Abubakar of the North East, a geo-political region that has never produced any president yet.
Atiku Abubakar is highly expected to win, going by so many research analysts and predictions. Should he win, he is expected to preside over Nigeria till 2023, and for equity sake, power should rotate back to the South East, for equity sake. But since the South Eastern Igbo people are unhurried over issues of who becomes president as long as such candidate unifies, builds, support industry and trade as well as upholds human rights, Atiku Abubakar has a choice before him. They can let him get another four years without hindrance, if his performance is superlative. That is under the assumption that he would still be fit, alert, agile and good at the age of 76.
If Atiku Abubakar feels like retiring respectfully while the ovation is still loud in 2023, lucky man that he is, right on the Atiku Bridge to the future are outstanding performers who can grow Nigeria and take it to an advanced level, such that it becomes a tiger, like the Asian countries that were at par, or a little poorer than Nigeria at Independence in 1960.
Today, under General Buhari, Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world. Despite appointing almost all of his security team and leadership from his region, tribe and religion, his own region is the worst hit in security challenges. It shows gross incapacity to provide leadership as failure of the doctrine of nepotism.
Some of the outstanding men on Atiku’s Bridge are, Peter Obi and Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo. Peter Obi is a practical economist per excellence. He left 75 billion Naira cash for his successor and owed no salaries to workers. He will make an excellent future president. Right now, he stands firmly and loyally behind Atiku Abubakar on the bridge to the future.
Should Peter Obi become the next candidate for the presidency, an astute administrator to pick as running mate is Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, current governor of Gombe State in the North East. He’s cosmopolitan, having received most of his post graduate degrees from the South (Lagos, Abraka in Delta State, Okada in Edo state), and was once seen in the distinguished lecture circuit at the Ivy league University of Ibadan, South West Nigeria.
Dankwambo is an accountant by profession, who was once the Accountant General of the Federation, at a relatively youthful age. And as Gombe State governor, has received laurels for good governance, prompting the Nigerian Twitterati community to choose him as their choice presidential candidate in November 2018 during an online poll.
Nigeria must not toy with quality potential leaders that God endows us with, especially the ones with great ideas, vision, courage, stamina and love for country, for we have seen what divisive leaders and ethnic champions do. They divide the country and cause disaffection.