Former Vice President and PDP presidential candidate
By Philip Agbese
The consistent noise everywhere and manner the 2019 presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar allegedly looking for his “stolen mandate,” is probably one of the most hilarious jokes trending in Nigeria today. Nigerian politicians are gifted in comedy and theatrics, but Atiku has elevated the art to an enviable level and rib cracking point by its stimulating humour.
Nigerians are quite familiar with the ace comedian, John Okafor alias “Mr. Ibu.” He is noted for his hilarious comics delivered through foolish or imbecilic actions. There appears to be an exact replica of “Mr.Ibu,” in the actions of an incensed Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging at the Court, the victory of President Buhari in the 2019 general elections.
Atiku’s petition against Buhari is being interrogated by the Court. But Atiku lacks the simple discipline of muteness to wait for the court verdict before going berserk with unfounded claims to victory. Every day he is either personally in the media or his legion of personal aides speaking on his behalf, boastfully spew nonsensically about reclaiming his “stolen mandate.”
And what has compelled Atiku to cling to the angle of indiscernible victory so loquaciously is his claims of obtaining the “authentic” results of the 2019 presidential polls from INEC server based on “State to State” computation. It sounds hollow and foolish, but nevertheless, Atiku and his cahoots have tenaciously held unto this humorous joke.
Whether the court entertains official documents extracted unofficially or dubiously is left for the jurists to decide. But Atiku and his party would have been silent to allow the discretion of judges to prevail without these verbal harassments.
Dangerously eager, they have launched a tripartite war on Nigeria and INEC. Atiku screams victory; his party, the PDP roars about a victory they won and Atiku’s aides bark like Asian dogs in support.
End of last week, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Youth and Support Groups, Ambassador Aliyu Bin Abbas issued a public statement titled, “A message of hope to the over18 million Atikulated family members,” which again assured their supporters in very certain diction of the inevitability of reclaiming the “stolen mandate.”
Atiku haughtily claimed in the statement that “Like never before in the history of presidential election petition in Nigeria, the plethora, overwhelming, watertight and barefaced evidences at the disposal of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP has put us on a track to glory.”
This has been followed by an alarmist statement issued by the PDP National Publicity secretary, Kola Oladongbiyon claiming INEC has hired ICT experts who have been dispatched to State INEC offices to tamper with the servers and alter the results. But if PDP/Atiku believes the INEC servers are susceptible to alterations, what is the compelling reason to obviate the possibility that the unofficial presidential results Atiku is brandishing as obtained from INEC server is not also doctored by him and his agents?
Atiku, the PDP and his clan of supporters need to learn some wisdom from Gov. Nasir el-Rufai who submitted that “You do not go to court in an election petition by quoting INEC server or any other server. Anyone can create a server, I can go and buy it, it is a piece of equipment and call it INEC server.”
An assessment of some of the places where Atiku is claiming to have won like Borno, Benue, Gombe, and Kaduna states among others. It is possible for Atiku to have scored more votes than the three senatorial candidates in each of these states put together, as reflected in the personal result he has circulated? It’s not possible and he knows this truism.
The case of Gombe State is particularly striking. The incumbent Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo who is about completing his second tenure as Governor of the state vied for a senatorial seat in the same election on the platform of the PDP, but lost. He was mercilessly defeated in spite of his political clout even as a presidential aspirant who morphed overnight into a senatorial candidate.
By Atiku’s crooked results, he is also claiming victory in Kaduna state, the traditional political base of President Buhari outside Kano and Katsina states among others. It is therefore ridiculous for Atiku to have claimed by his unofficial results that he defeated Buhari in Kaduna with 961,143 votes; while Buhari polled a paltry 469,002.
Predictions of victory in politics or elections is sustained by historical antecedents. Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has refreshed Atiku’s memories about Buhari elections and Kaduna state.
The Governor bluntly stated thus, “Let me say this without any fear of contradiction, since President Buhari started contesting for the presidency since 2003, he has never lost Kaduna. So, PDP has never won elections in Kaduna from 2003, even with a sitting governor in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015. It has never happened. I don’t know what will happen that Atiku will win Kaduna in these elections this time.”
Unknown to some Nigerians who are inundated with Atiku’s claims of victory in the 2019 presidential polls, the PDP lost the election from the outset by their candidate’s unguided public statements. During campaigns Atiku de-marketed himself by portraying his leadership of Nigeria as elitist, if elected. He made no conscious effort to connect with the poor, but harped on patronizing and enriching the perpetual ruling class which have brought Nigerians to her kneels for decades.
The poorest of Nigerians sensed Atiku’s deceit by this posturing, as it conflicted and contradicted his publicized working plan slogan of #GettingNigeriaWorkingAgain. He was not connected to the grassroots and his articulated working document betrayed him and convinced the masses that he was not a good choice of a leader.
Atiku did nothing to vacate the impression Nigerians had on him as “a big man;” whereas Buhari had a strong message he sent to the Nigerian masses. He rendered himself as a poor man, who feel the pains, poverty, and depravity of the Nigerian masses and it sank deeply into millions of ears. And to know Atiku strikes like a comedian is his imagination of defeating President Buhari in his immediate Northwest constituency. Just dreamy excitement.
Therefore, Atiku’s hoopla of reclaiming a “stolen mandate,” is a faux pas and untimely. But he should be sensible enough to stop the judicial blackmail and the ego -tripping over an imaginary victory.