Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former VP of Nigeria, the Waziri Adamawa, and the presidential candidate of the PDP lost to President Muhammad Buhari In the election held on the 23rd of February, 2019.
Before the election, Atiku, had the wind behind his back. His supporters were visibly enthusiastic, and gloated about his impending win. Atiku himself, grew so buoyant in hope and expectation that he began to see himself as the presumptive president of Nigeria. His supporters Atikulated everywhere. After all, Atiku was coming to Get Nigeria Working Again! Nigeria, in the overwhelming opinion of the Atikulators, was not working under Buhari.
So, why did Atiku lose the election he could,or should have won? Many of his supporters, believed that Atiku actually won, but he was rigged out by INEC. He did not.
The views expressed here, are mine, based on my understanding and interpretations of the factors that determined the outcome of the election. You don’t have to agree with me!
ENDORSEMENT BY CHRISTIAN LEADERS AND SHEILK GUMI.
From the moment Atiku became the candidate of the PDP, top Christian leaders in the country endorsed him. Sheik Gumi, a top Islamic leader, also joined the Atiku bus. At the meeting held in Ota, Ogun state, to reconcile Obasanjo with Atiku, Bishops Kukah and Oyedipo, were present. Sheik Gumi, and some leaders of Afenifere, the Yoruba social-cultural group, were also in attendance. Bishops Kukah and Oyedipo, explained their presence in Ota, as in pursuit of peace between Obasanjo and Atiku, a few people believed them.
The open endorsement by some prominent Christian leaders, only helped to reinforce the thinking that Atiku was the candidate of the church. A friend said to me” Kurtis it is fascinating to see how our Christian leaders have made Atiku, a Fulani and a Muslim as Buhari, a Born Again Christian by fiat”. The apex Christian body CAN, was not left out in the scramble to endorse “ brother Atiku”. Many pastors openly endorsed him to their members. Pastor Suleiman of Omega church said” I prefer a man who will come and steal my money and property to the one who will come and cut off my head”. He got a standing ovation from the church members. Many pastors threatened their members with causes. Some were ex-communicated for the support for Buhari.
The support by the Christian leaders for Atiku, did not go unnoticed by the moslem leaders,and moslems in general in the country. Many believed that Atiku got the support of the Christian leaders because he was more amenable to their desires and dictates. Others said he was pliable, and supportive of the Christian agenda for the country. He was therefore perceived as a weak and compromised moslem.
This perception, had the effect of consolidating support for Buhari among moslems. Many who were wavering on supporting Buhari,threw their support firmly behind him. They began to see Buhari as a victim of a high conspiracy by Atiku and some Christian leaders.
They also attributed the support of Sheik Gumi for Atiku to money. After all, he was quoted as saying his supporters and his organization, are now poor because Buhari, is president. Atiku, he said, was coming to make them rich.
They were also many Christians that were turned-off Atiku by the support he had from some Christian leaders. They do not understand why their leaders will chose in such a forceful and offending manner,one Fulani moslem against another Fulani moslem! They couldn’t fathom why their leaders choose to support openly a man in reputation for corruption against a man reputed for integrity. Many were offended and still offended by this behavior. They voted against Atiku. The endorsement of Atiku by some Christian leaders and Gumi, had the opposite effect. Instead of winning support for Atiku, it turned away many from him to Buhari.
ENDORSEMENT BY OBASANJO.
Atiku was undone by the needless endorsement by former President Obasanjo. Atiku was Obasanjo’s VP between 1999-2003 Both men had a difficult relationship while in office, culminating in Obasanjo literally sacking Atiku as VP. They also accused each other of corruption. Obasanjo, however, was more frontal and devastating in his attacks against Atiku. He attacked Atiku at every giving opportunity of corruption and abuses. In his 3 volume book, My Watch, he said Atiku has propensity for corruption, propensity for bad judgment, and the use of Marabouts,and money to solve all problems. At a point he said” God will not forgive me if support Atiku to be president”.
For almost 12 years, Obasanjo kept tearing at Atiku’s reputation, eviscerating him, but all of a sudden, Obasanjo was willing to forget every terrible thing he said about Atiku, all because he was now opposed to Buhari, a man many believed was unwilling to be used by Obasanjo, or dictated to.
The reasons of Obasanjo gave for his change of position on Atiku, was even more offensive. He said” Atiku came to beg me for forgiveness and he said he has learned his lessons and has learned so much from me and I believe he will be better than the man there now”.
At another meeting with Titi Abubakar( Atiku’s first wife), and other women, who visited Obasanjo in Abeokuta, he waxed” all the things I said about Atiku are true. He has come to beg for forgiveness and I will support him. If he fails I will work with others to remove him”. Everything Obasanjo said, and the reasons he gave were all about him, not Nigerians who will be voting to elect Atiku or Buhari. Many were offended by Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku.
Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku, after damaging him, reminds me of Bernie Sanders endorsement of Hillary Clinton, after eviscerating her during the primaries. Bernie’s attacks on Hillary during the democratic primary contest, became Trump’s most effective ammunitions against HC. Bernie accused her of being a puppet to corporate America. He joked about her giving paid speeches to Wall Street in such a devastating manner. He lampooned her for supporting terrible Trade Agreements such as NAFTA and TPP. He said the agreements were accelerators of job losses. He jabbed her by saying she was referred to the TPP- Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the Gold Standard of Trade Agreement.
After Sanders lost to Hillary, President Obama, got Sanders to endorse Hillary at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Sanders endorsement of Hillary did little to wipe away the resentment of his supporters toward her. It also couldn’t undo the damages his attacks on her had done to her candidacy. Rally after rally, Trump kept hammering her using Sanders talking points and playbook. Trump won. Like Sanders,Obasanjo’s attacks on Atiku has been ingrained in the hearts and minds of many Nigerians. Obasanjo’s endorsement, did nothing to help Atiku. On the contrary, it turned away many people from Atiku.
To Be Continued.