The Oasis Reporters
May 17, 2022
By Asile Abel, Jos
Nigeria’s one time Vice President, Atiku Abubakar literally chased journalists who had gathered at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Secretariat out, Monday, venue of a scheduled meeting with Party delegates, in Jos, Plateau State.
Atiku who arrived at the secretariat at about 2.19 pm seemed visibly angry upon seeing a very small crowd of supporters who had gathered for his scheduled address.
He mostly saw press cameramen and journalists who were taken aback at his sudden outbursts by shouting at the media while ordering them out of the hall, saying “I have nothing to do with journalists. I’m here to see delegates.”
Propelled by their boss’s misplaced and curious anger, his aides and security details pounced on the journalists, causing a stampede and in the process, damaged the tripod and camera of the Channels Television crew.
Not even the host PDP officials and delegates could calm the fuming visitor and his entourage and make a case for the journalists, who had covered such visits in the same secretariat by presidential contenders in the past weeks.
Party faithful at the scene could not help but wonder aloud why the former Vice President had put up such a disappointing conduct during such a critical time in the party’s preparation towards the 2023 general election.
With a total of 85 national delegates from Plateau State alone, the former Vice President may have been in the wrong to have ignored the fact that such a figure is significant, in a state that may be viewed as within his Adamawa home state catchment area.
Jos based political analysts believe that his attitude may further deplete his popularity at the wings, especially when viewed from the prism of his mantra about uniting Nigerians.
“What manner of unity can there be when even within the geographic north, Christians and other indigenous minorities can’t breathe ?”, Ayuba Yohanna told our reporter in Jos.
There has been an ongoing national discourse on the fair principle of zoning and Igbo presidency, and just as events were taking shape especially after the Southern Governors Forum across all parties resolved that power must shift to the South.
Besides, the national mood seems to be opposed to the possibility of another Fulani succeeding Buhari after eight years in office.
In Nigeria’s last election, Atiku Abubakar ran against Muhammadu Buhari, both of them northerners, Muslims and both of them Fulani. Four years after, Atiku is insisting against the current of the southern governors’ sail, asking that that clause must be expunged from the PDP constitution. He had his way. But his conduct and swagger are dissipating his goodwill before the people whose votes he needs to win even if he wins the nomination.
Unexpected events have also added to further alienate Christians, ethnic minorities and liberal politicians in the north who may choose differently this time.
Atiku’s burden of trust, depleted public perception, and unfavourable national mood were worsened recently after Muslim students of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, murdered Deborah Samuel Yakubu in cold blood over an alleged blasphemous statement.
After condemning the savage murder of Deborah Samuel, Atiku Abubakar was believed to have been pressured by reactions from a section of the core north to quickly delete his Twitter and Facebook statements, thus pitching tent with the threatening extremists by looking seemingly neutral.
Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal who is also a contender in the presidential race, respectfully elected not to physically present himself before Plateau State delegates. He nominated a Christian middle belt politician to represent him instead.
Jos is seen as the uncrowned headquarters of northern minority Christians who are mourning the assassination and burning of the northern minority Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, Miss Deborah Samuel.
“It would have been the height of insensitivity for Aminu Tambuwal to come to Jos at this time”, added Ayuba Yohanna in Jos.
Additional reporting: Greg Abolo.