When British political philosopher and legal luminary, Lord Acton, postulated “for forms of government, let the fools contest; whatever is best administered is best governed”, the great Victorian historian and essayist must have had his heart tortured by the rat race often associated with the political class of his time, particularly politicians’ desperate craving to lord it over one another in a cyclical style of hegemonic ascendancy.
That notwithstanding, monopoly of opinion is never known to be an attribute of civil rule. In fact, democracy would have failed in its own definition, as government of the people, for the people and by the people, if competition is taken off the affairs of men and women. Contest, therefore, opens the space for choice and options. Hence, the embedded principles of elections and fundamental human rights, the sweet taste of victory and the sour feel of loss, all make democracy a game of continuous search for the best hands as helmsmen the world over. Good governance and exemplary leadership therefore remain the ultimate goal in any political contest. And Nigeria is never an exception in this lure for power and service to fatherland.
Let’s therefore, for once, halt attention on the inanities and litany of errors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Let’s shift focus from unfulfilled political promises, scandals of certificate forgery and one-sided anti-corruption campaign, issues of police and security agents’ harassment, wholesome extreme poverty in the land, general insecurity and international repudiation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Let’s tentatively zoom our mind’s binoculars on the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). PDP Presidential primaries slated for this weekend will, without iota of doubt, present a veritable case study of a political rat race; one poised to pitch mere pretenders against real contenders. Over a dozen of them. The infamous number 13. Truly more than a football team. So unwieldy. Sadly, ego and the zeal to seal political deal with the eventual winner, has left both the gladiators and spectators alike in the uncertain terrain of suspense and eventuality.
Meanwhile, whatever becomes the end result of this epochal political chess game of the PDP would definitely ricochet like a rubber ball on the entire nation. The socio-economic and political lives of Nigerians and friends of Nigeria would practically be affected. For the fate of a visible and tangible opposition party in a democratic setting, determines the space for alternative government at the polls. Hence, PDP is now the cynosure of all eyes. How they tackle the choice of their main flag bearer for 2019 remains a spectacle in the global market square.
Let’s enter the vineyard and pluck the fruits for good leadership in a populous, heterogeneous and religiously inclined country of ours. Currently unity and equity are on the run, insecurity to lives and property pervade, and mass unemployment exists in a plagued economy, coupled with the ugly label of being the centrepoint for global extreme poverty. Which way Nigeria? To be or not to be? The world is askance. Thinking of an alternative government to be provided by the PDP.
Hence Nigeria’s main opposition party the PDP, in their leadership quest, should endeavor to seek out a statesman of class and panache, one who sincerely loves the country and has proclivity and affinity with the people, a patriot with empathy and compassion, a knowledgeable welfarist, a bridge builder and unifier, a charismatic and humble element, a great listener and team player, a business-minded executive with belief in both job and wealth creation, a defender of democracy and constitutionalism, a proven law abiding citizen and, in a nutshell, a congruent leader who fuses capacity, competence and character together to enhance and advance people’s-centered vision, to create and propagate equitable national developmental innovations. Such a leader is the answer to Nigeria of today. And it is not an Eldorado!
And who can fix this messy scene? No other but quintessential humanist and political bridge builder, a detribalised Nigerian, non fanatical man of faith, a wealth creator and educationist, Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria (1999-2007). His recent inauguration of a 60-man presidential campaign council, an assemblage of who’s who in the PDP nationwide, is a clear testimony to the fact that Atiku is the People’s Choice. He is a unique unifier and astute team player.
For a nation that is still recovering from a scary democratic summersault in Osun State recent gubernatorial election, which former Vice President Atiku Abubakar rightly described as a “travesty of justice and imposition of tyranny by the ruling APC”, depicts a bad omen. Hence the PDP urgently requires the services of a defender of democracy and believer in constitutionalism; a due process persona and a dogged fighter who won 14 landmark constitutional cases which today are helping to advance, nourish and polish democracy in Nigeria. One such epochal legal feat was the Supreme Court judgement that prevented a President or Governor from having the power to fire his Vice or Deputy, because of the political umbilical cord of a shared common and indivisible joint ticket on which they ran for office!
At tough times like this, it takes the wisdom and rare wit of a gentle giant to stake the odds. One who has been tested and trusted; one to embrace the tedious trips to law courts and pay huge legal bills to secure judgement in Nigeria. The experience of such a great leader of men and women is what PDP requires to tame the APC monster. No doubt, Atiku has the capacity and wherewithal to unweave the web of political entanglement that an incumbent administration can throw at any challenger gunning to become president.
Without prejudice to the dozen other contestants in the PDP Presidential Primaries slated for October 6-7 in the Garden City of Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, Atiku is head and shoulder above them. Atiku is the man for the job if PDP really and ideally wants Nigeria unified, restructured and secured. Atiku, the consummate philanthropist and large hearted welfarist is capable of wielding and cementing the fault lines of the country. He surely knows how to create and bring back jobs through viable and profitable private public partnership and direct foreign investments. He has even vowed to bring about equity, tranquility and development across the nation.
The brand Atiku, a household name needs little or no publicity. He is well known to all strata of society – be it the young or old, poor or rich, men or women, business class or the working class. Atiku is at home everywhere he goes. He is generous and charitable, compassionate and caring, law abiding and a seasoned politician, education investor and wealth creator, innovator of note and above all, a visionary leader with a mission to return sanity back to our common humanity.
Thus, PDP Delegates are enjoined to think right and help save Nigeria from falling off the cliff into implosion, self immolation and precipitous perdition. With Atiku, the best among the rest, Nigeria will work again.
Alaba Yusuf, a public affairs analyst wrote from London