Abubakar Atiku, former Vice President, entered his PDP presidential nomination run with a simple, if cynical, formula: the Arewa native to retain power for the “North” and reclaim power for the PDP.
Those were would-be personal gains, garnished with collective spice, served with gung-ho relish: first, the Atiku lolly for the “North”; then, the Atiku gravy for PDP: the former ruling party, drawn to power as a mad and furious bull is drawn to red rag.
Indeed, the real “deal” for the PDP, in the Atiku magic playbook, was the “sure banker” of playing ace cynic, spewing humbug, roiling emotions.
You don’t need to promise much; even less, articulate anything. Just sit down and point fingers at explosive current challenges, to roast the present order — hardly illegitimate in election seasons!
To be sure, the environment was rife for such cynical roasting at the stakes. Muhammadu Buhari is fulsomely demonized as “abject failure”, on account of security and inflation. Both tick with emotive grenades!
Insecurity is fleeting difference between life and death — negating the very basis of the Social Contract, the very fundament of government. Inflation makes the pocket to hurt. When the stomach rumbles who can think straight?
At Owerri, on his latest visit to Imo State on September 13, PMB self-canonized his efforts, saying his government had done very well, given the pare resources available and the harsh conditions it inherited and continuously found itself — even if those that should say so are not.
Now, that was no flippant claim. In truth, the media is fairly charged — and rapturously guilty — of flashing up challenges but burying strides.
Witness the on-going uptick in power. The instinct of the media was to ignore it, until the people themselves started pointing media attention to it in a macabre reversal.
True, a tiny segment may have abandoned their strict professional ethos and hugged blind bias. A good number plead good, old ethos of circumspection and healthy skepticism, one of the great canons of ethical journalism.
But clearly more than many are yodelling to sweet doom-and-gloom, not unlike up-country yokels easily impressed and misled — a far cry from supposed clinical minds, professionally trained to dig deep and ferret out the truth, no matter the alluring lies.
Journalists in this bind often bluster with sweeping generalizations, which provide soft, fixed but flawed premises, that lead to outrageous conclusions.
But pray, how can you use fixed premises, when the issues you analyze are dynamic, and still think you won’t miss the road by miles?
That’s the media noise that has tried and condemned PMB as “failure”. Yet, his government, citing what lawyers would call “notorious facts”, is credited with greatest strides in infrastructure and agriculture since 1999, not to talk of the first comprehensive effort at social safety nets, as a federal programme, in Nigerian history — and all that in season of vanishing cash.
That was the dirty pool Atiku and his PDP were betting to sink their opportunistic snouts until Wike — sorry, Karma — happened!
Since then, the falcon has become stone deaf to the falconer, things have utterly fallen apart, and mere anarchy loosed upon their world, in a neo-Tower of Babel!
Yet, Karma did give enough early warnings.
Alarmed at Atiku’s northern push and sensing own presidential dream up in smoke, Peter Obi did a quick, double march out of PDP, to find new, if fleeting, anchor in the ever-whoring Labour Party (LP).
Since then, Obi has been spawning funny tales, backed by fancy stats, enrobing himself as glorious new Paul, emergency redeemer of the youth. Still, cold facts affirm he is nothing but rotten old Saul, proud scion of the old mess.
Only Obi and his most romantic goons fall for this comical pantomime. Worse: all are lost in the wilful wilderness of own spiteful creation, from which they have no way out — since each passing day they make, for selves, more foes, not friends.
But the real karma boomed after Obi’s exit: Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor.
Now, let’s get this straight: Atiku’s northern irredentism, as his opportunistic boon to corral the PDP ticket, wasn’t exactly all nonsense, by PDP internal dynamics.
Notorious facts: of the 16 years PDP bossed federal power, the South accounted for a little over 13 years while the North (under the ill-fated Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) had just a little under three years (29 May 2007-5 May 2010).
So, if Atiku galloped into town, raking panicked folks with his belching gun, pissed by a clear northern short-change in the PDP sweepstakes, you can at least understand.
But legitimate as that is, how does it pan against the national optics of another northerner taking power from PMB, after eight straight years? No sweat, the Atiku camp seems to crow, Arewa has the numbers!
Why, even old man Bode George is crying blue murder and threatening raw thunder, if Ayu, the convenient casus belli, for this Wike-powered intra-PDP war, didn’t “abdicate”, to make for some optical balance!
The little fire Wike lit in Rivers is blazing in the South West, flaring intra-zonal PDP mini-wars. Who knows where the blaze would hit next, and what new heights it might reach?
Still, would all of these have happened had Atiku picked Wike instead of Ifeanyi Okowa? That’s Karma, the immutable!
In fairness to Atiku, no one would expect a future commander-in-chief to yoke himself to a braggart-in-chief of Wike’s hue, and expect to rule happily ever after. Yet, picking the calmer Okowa has fetched him nothing but pre-election catastrophe.
Just one false move — which nevertheless felt like the sane one when it was made — has thrown Atiku and his PDP right at the stakes where they were hoping to roast PMB and his APC! Karma the immutable!
Atiku gallops into electoral battle on a PDP stallion echoing an out-and-out northern cave: presidential candidate (North), national chair (North) campaign council chair (North)!
It’s the sort of scenario our ace liberal and Teflon reformer would gladly crave a fit, just to zealously point fingers! Yet, here we are!
Still, it appears morning yet on the day of woe. Come the elections proper, Obi’s South East children of anger might well go ga-ga, taking their pound of flesh! The portents are dire.
Nevertheless, do all these put the rival APC in the clear, romping to an easy victory? Not exactly. Indeed, not in any way.
The elections would be hard and maybe close. Still, every party would have to sweat for, and gun, clutch and claw at every single vote.
That would be far better for everyone than spewing Arabic tales from Dubai, or statistical fibs from Samarkand, and beam that your sweet humbug has again scammed the electorate.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Kaaynan’s editorial stance.