Tag Archive | Adewale Adeniji

Our Nation_Political Permutations for 2019 Presidential Elections Series. Atiku Abubakar_Can He Overcome His Miscalculations?

 

img_2194(Warning: Long Post)

On the back of my series on President Muhammadu Buhari, how I feel the odds favour his re-election if he is a contestant, someone suggested that maybe I should consider some of the other presidential gladiators. I would like to take up that challenge. 

In this series, I shall endeavour to examine some other eminent Nigerians who have indicated their intention to contest in 2019 and share how I see them going into the 2019 Presidential Elections ‘pre-season’, to borrow a sports metaphor. I would like to begin with our former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

I strongly believe that by this election cycle (2019), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should have served out two terms as Nigerian President, but for his miscalculations. Decisions he has taken that will continue to dog his quest for this political Golden Fleece.

That he is still running for office of President is his first major political mis-calculation. I will explain. I used to be in awe of Alhaji Atiku’s political manoeuvres until the run-up to the 2003 Presidential election season.  Remember MKO Abiola and the cancelled June 12 elections? Atiku was one of Abiola’s rivals for the SDP presidential ticket. He slugged it out with Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe in Jos. And what a delight that contest was! 

In this 3rd Republic, Atiku came into the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with a bloc group of the Shehu Musa Yar’adua machine – the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). So, he did not come alone. He came with many powerful politicians. For example, Chief Tony Anennih (a.k.a the Fixer), who went on to be a powerful pillar of the PDP was of the PDM political family. Atiku was elected Governor of Adamawa State, but before he was sworn in, President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) tapped him as his running mate. Long story short, he was elected Vice President in 1999. 

That the then sitting Vice President had the structure of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his vice grip (even though he was not the official party leader),  was not in doubt. In his inimitable way, Atiku had successfully out-foxed his boss, OBJ in cornering the support of majority stake holders who will decide who flies the party’s flag in the 2003 presidential election. – the PDP state governors. They were ready to go to the PDP convention and change the headship of their party’s ticket. And with no viable opposition in sight, who ever had got that ticket would have been elected President (as it eventually panned out).

OBJ realised this, and because of what had happened between him and Atiku during their first term (story for another day), he knew Atiku had him over a barrel! And Atiku knew he held the aces! But he made his first, and perhaps brutal mis-calculation of all. Instead of fighting for the ticket within his grasp, he vacillated between OBJ and Alex Ekwueme, who to support. He eventually gave in to OBJ’s ‘begging’ (accounts have it that OBJ in fact knelt down to apologise to Atiku for slights real and imagined during their first term!) instead of seizing the moment for himself!

Now, you do not trade strength for weakness – a truism about power! No matter what Obasanjo may have promised, Atiku, with respect, was naive not to press his advantage! Worst case scenario, both himself and OBJ would have contested for the ticket, and even if OBJ had got the ticket, Atiku would have proved too strong to ignore, too connected to be shafted; and would have still been on that ticket, albeit in a stronger position! By yielding so easily, he lost face with the state governors who had been banking on Atiku to protect them from OBJ’s over bearing sanctimony. That was when OBJ knew he had Atiku. Students of Nigerian political history know that OBJ still has Atiku. Otherwise, how does one explain Atiku’s belief that he has to perennially ‘beg’ OBJ  for support. He, who was once a strong man of PDP politics. The rest, they say is history! 

Not only was he super marginalised during his second term as Vice President, it was made abundantly clear to Atiku he had no future in the party his PDM group co-founded . So, he had to leave the PDP. And then he made his second mis-calculation.

What I regard as Atiku’s second misstep was the party he joined after he was ‘forced’ out of PDP. Now follow me. Atiku had always been a man of immense resources (this piece is not about the source or purity of those resources, please). He had always been a money man. One should wonder then, why with all his resources and immense contacts nationwide, Atiku chose to join the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which was then a regional party in truth, rather than form a national based party where his word will be final? Now remember that this was the route the present occupant of Aso Rock (President Muhammadu Buhari) took when he was shunted out of old All People’s Party (APP). He simply formed the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), went on to win a state – Nasarawa – and get his supporters into the National Assembly. You couldn’t ignore Buhari thereafter. One couldn’t therefore but wonder at Atiku’s tactics, post PDP. But I suspect why he chose the APC option, rather than form a party of his own.

Atiku wanted a ready made platform, rather than build one from the ground up. Why? Because that requires time, patience and gritty work. Precious inputs he was impatient to wait upon. Yes, it would have taken time to build a formidable party to drive his ambition and perhaps delay its realisation, but it would have shown Atiku to be a man of conviction, ready to put his money where his mouth is. Rather, many saw an opportunistic politician – only looking for a ready made political vehicle. This makes him one of the motley crowd, not the primus inter pares image he needed to portray! Same is playing out with his full-circle return to the PDP for this presidential election season! *sighs* 

And Atiku’s chosen modus is so strange because that was not Shehu Musa Yar’adua’s play book. For the uninitiated, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’ardua (elder brother of late President Umaru Yar’Adua) is acknowledged as Atiku’s political patron.  In all his years in politics (except for when IBB ‘corraled’ the political class into two groupings of SDP and NRC), Shehu Yar’Adua had always built his political movement from the ground up. Atiku apparently tired of his patron’s playbook.

Atiku’s third mis-calculation is encouraging the senate presidency of Senator Bukola Saraki. Now, before you dispute it, this fact is now so common knowledge that those involved and in the know accept its truth. Having lost out to PMB in the APC presidential primaries in 2014, many thought Atiku would have pulled out of APC to look for another platform. But he did not dare, then. For these reasons: First the primaries were so transparent and his ‘betrayal’ by Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Jagaban) so well planned that it would have been seen as sour grapes. Secondly, it was obvious to the knowledgeable that PMB was the man of the moment, given the bumbling

of the then incumbent. Going against him would have been political suicide. Thirdly, Atiku did not even come second in the APC primaries! He came third behind PMB and Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano, whose second was even distant! Remember that Atiku lost to two northerners in that primary. So, how could he now go and run as a ‘northern alternative’ to President Goodluck Jonathan? I digress again, sorry.

So, to remain relevant and act as unofficial opposition within the APC, Atiku leveraged on Saraki’s ambition and ‘contributed’ to the emergence of both Senator Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara as presiding officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly, in flagrant disobedience of official party preference. 

So far so good, yes? No! He was blind sided by Saraki’s own grand plan! Take this from me, if Atiku has read Saraki’s play, the latter would not have become senate president! 3rd miscalculation, and the last I would discuss.

In conclusion, Atiku, for me, has not shown enough political deftness, the like that would bring him his desired result – Nigeria’s presidency, when by now he should have become a former President! He had it all laid before him, but wrong political choices continue to deny him. I wish him well in his on-going quest.

© Adewale Adeniji. 20th September 2018.

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 1.

If you follow me on social media, you should know my politics by now. If not, let me be clear.

I am, if you prefer categorisation, a centre-left oriented political animal. I believe in government creating an enabling environment to help citizens get a fair shake in life. While that is liberal leaning, I equally believe in fiscal responsibility as a means to ensuring that resources of the state are not unduly wasted . To some, that is conservative. So, I regard myself as a centre of left.

I did not start there though. In my political formative years I was a dyed-in-the-wool communist sympathiser. Beret wearing, lingo speaking comrade! 🙈. But I was weaned of this with the collapse of the communist system and the inequalities it could not cure. So, to my many friends from way-back, ‘life’ happened to my ‘aluta’!😀

I need also to state that despite my love for politics, it is not a vocation I can take up anymore, for reasons I’d rather not go into. So, this series is not about angling for political office (elective or appointive).

But I remain and intend to remain an active voice in the politics of my country – to contribute to the narrative, and hopefully to national development – as a non-partisan voice, but free to make choices as they arise for the development of my nation.

Since the beginning of Nigeria’s 3rd Republic, I have voted in all presidential elections. And since I am putting all my cards on the table, let me tell you how I have voted over the years, because in this series, I want to show why I will be voting the way I will next February, if God permits:

1999 – Olu Falae (APP/AC Coalition)

2003 – Muhammadu Buhari (ANPP)

2007 – Nuhu Ribadu (AC)

2011 – Goodluck Jonathan (PDP)

2015 – Muhammadu Buhari (APC)

So, you can see that with the exception of 2011, I had always voted for the anti-establishment party because I always believed that the establishment party had produced candidates I couldn’t support. So, why did I vote for Goodluck, the establishment party candidate? Because I hoped that with the election of a president who did not come from privilege, may be he will place the under privileged as the centre of his policies. We are all living witnesses to how that panned out!

Enough of my political conviction and my voting background. I needed to put that out of the way to answer several questions I have got in my in-box from readers who wonder why I seem to support PMB now.

In this series therefore, I will be putting across my views of the 2019 presidential elections and why I think President Muhammadu Buhari should win it (please note my choice of ‘should’).

So, please join me for part 2 next time.

Comments are welcomed, even when you disagree. I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable. But please if your comments are abusive and are based on premordial sentiments of religion and ethnicity, or pure, unreasonable hatred, I reserve he right to delete and block!

©Adewale Adeniji. 2nd September 2018.

Nigeria Go Better!

We were once, all of us,
young and free, vibrant together.
Neither pretense nor grudge.
Then we grew up, and we
became competitors. Nay enemies.
Where has our salad years gone?

But, I cannot hate anymore
You, refuse to fight me any longer.
Even if we all may be hurting …
You may be down, I may be lost.
But together we are not out, not yet.
All we can do is carry each other.

All we must do is fetch for one another.
One for all, our horde for one.
Together … Stronger … Bolder
living, learning, laughing, loving.
That is all that is left to do, as we age.
No more jostling. Let us bare each other.

Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Urhobo,
Bini, Birom, Baruba, Bachama, Anang,
Ishan, Isoko, Ikwerre, Degema, Efik,
Eggon, Egun, Gwari, Gwoza, Nupe
Ibibio, Igala, Idoma, Ijumu, Tiv … and more.
All together, carrying water for Nigeria!

© 14th July 2017. Adewale Adeniji.

Marrying Who? Part 1

Marrying Who?, 01

Its our wedding day, great expectations…

All roads lead to us, our own unique moment.

All hail the groom, decked out in his best!

All hail the bride, decked out ….

Wait a minute. Where is my Egwu Eji*, my Amaria*?

Who, perchance art thou, lady in white?

What? Idonbilivit!

Is that you, my love? What happened to your face?

Decked you are all right, but is that you behind the mask?

Yes, I know it is called ‘make up’ now, but…

Is that the nose I still tickled last week?

Mba*, mba, mba! Ko je je be* now!

Ok. Where is the mouth I used to, you know…

Why is so pout? Blotting out your winsome smile?

Ha ha. Am I dreaming like Alfa Sule*?

What color is your skin again? Chai*! Te mi ba mi*!

To be continued ….

Glossary:

*Egwu Eji – Igbo language for ‘outstanding beauty’

*Amaria – Hausa language for ‘new wife’

*Mba – Igbo language for ‘No’ 

*Ko je je be – Yoruba language for ‘It cannot be’

*Alfa Sule – A local comic.

*Chai – Wow.

*Te mi ba mi – I am in trouble.

Literary Cautions:

This is a literary work. No offense is meant to any specific gender, please.

Photo Credit: Boscoe Holder.

© 14th March 2017. Adewale Adeniji

Build Your Own ARK.

Ark

 

Random acts, kindness redefined.

Poco a poco, one humanoid apiece.

Lots of folk asunder, aghast for fear.

Gather, cradle, nurture.

Baby steps, balancing acts.

Kindness exemplified, randomly useful.

One, long gone, built an Ark. You too,

your very own A.R.K can build

in many lives, one at a time, by your

Acts of Random Kindness!

 

© 13th February 2017. Adewale Adeniji.

Solitude

pix_solitude

Quietness of mind.

Cocooned, surreal state.

Fertile arena for ideas to float.

Doors shut against every rabble,

all noise-some pests.

Wondrous state to ponder anew,

plethora of potential possibilities.

Noiseless lonesomeness soothes

and nourishes my cranium occupant.

Medulla oblongata thanks you!

Reason refreshed on solitude’s

altar; matched only by silence itself.

Otiose state, abandoned in seclusion.

What heaven!!!

 

 

Yes, I love my own company.

This sequestration of my mind,

in my space, at my pretty pace,

for my peace. Soothing is the

privacy this isolation brings.

No, you are not welcome

to my state of incognito.

Better to remain faceless

in facing my issues; confronting

them fiends of progress, retooling

my smarts, recharging my batteries.

Oh, how I long to be festooned,

moored on these shores,

permanently!!!

© 20th January 2017. Adewale Adeniji

Broken Petals

broken-petals
 
 
Blooming, glowing signposts of beauty, now
sterile, dull epitaphs of spent elegance.
Yes, once admired, yet now scorned.
 
Soft, undulating folds of jowls, now
sunken, boney cheekbones;
lost to the mutability of life.
 
Ebullient rippling muscled masses, now
alas, plain proof of powerlessness!
No, not as before mate, not as …
 
Chutzpa for life; how fickle thou art.
We thought ourselves kings, lords, and all.
But end up mere broken petals, all flesh!
 
Anyone heading towards Sunset Boulevard*?
Sing along, “swing low, sweet chariot…”*
Enjoy the trip while life resets for another generation.
 
Mentions:
*Author acknowledges Copyright in Sunset Boulevard. *”Swing low, sweet chariot” is an American negro spiritual written prior to 1862.
Both used in this Derivative Work under Fair Use License.
© 13th February 2017. Adewale Adeniji