APC, Atiku and the arrival at the junction of the devil’s alternative-Bala Ibrahim
In his book, the Devil’s Alternative, investigative journalist Frederick Forsyth opined thus, “Whichever option I choose, men are going to die.”
In what seems similar to what is playing out today, between Russia and the Ukraine, Forsyth’s novel foretold a situation in which the entire Soviet Union wheat crop is destroyed by a devastating disaster, and the population was forced to come face to face with starvation.
Forsyth said America was ready to offer assistance by devising a plan to trade vital food resources with the Russians, in exchange for sensitive political information. But the Politburo, the policymaking committee of the Russian communist party had other ideas: the invasion of Western Europe, to commandeer the food for themselves.
The American president and leaders from around the globe were faced by a difficult choice: should they allow the loss of thousands to save the lives of many more?
With the completion of the PDP primaries this morning, and the choice of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential flag bearer of the party, the APC has arrived at the junction of the Devil’s alternative. Whichever option it chooses, the likelihood of a northern president has become predominantly pre-eminent for Nigeria.
Should the APC follow the footpath of the PDP, or move with the mood of equity, by allowing the emergence of a southern candidate, which could come with some casualty?
Like the dilemma of the American president and leaders from around the globe, should the APC allow the loss of victory to save the terms of a gentlemanly agreement in the name of zoning?
For starters, am not an Atiku supporter, so don’t make any mistake, by thinking that I am promoting his cause. I belong to the other side. But if the truth must be told, Atiku is now the ace, which cannot be axed without the advent of an adversity.
It’s either the APC follow suit by fielding a northern candidate, or get prepared to be crushed at the polls, come 2023.
The emergence of Atiku Abubakar is not accidental, it was meticulously calculated by most of the PDP stake holders, including the garrison governor of Rivers, H.E. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, I think.
Although some people are accusing governor Aminu Tambuwal of betraying Wike, by ditching him at the doorstep of the bridge, methinks it was a deal dutifully and beautifully done and delivered. Only the naive, who think that because in the 2019 convention, Wike supported Aminu Tambuwal against Atiku Abubakar, now is the time for pay back. No, good political scientists sometimes deliberately design disagreements in order to arrive at an agreement, and in the process, they deceive the gullible.
When my brother and colleague, Jaafar Jaafar, put out a tweet thus: “To the PDP, Wike is the proverbial lizard that perched on the lip of a clay pot. If they throw stone at him, they will break the pot, and if they allow him, he will pollute the water”, I said Gbwam! my brother has gotten the hoax. The whole thing, including the abracadabra of accusing Kwankwaso, who has since moved to the NNPP, was meant to reboot a ruse.
The biggest challenge before the APC is how to confront the conundrum, especially with regards the fate of the national leader of the party, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the thorny issue of zoning.
One big relief for the APC on the issue of zoning is that the principal promoter of the issue is the PDP, and from day one, Atiku Abubakar supported the idea because he thought he was going to be the biggest beneficiary.
When the PDP came to power in 1999, it was based on the unanimous agreement to zone the presidency to the Southwest, to placate the southerners, who were agitated over the death of Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 presidential election.
Hand picked Obasanjo, was quick to convince and handpicked Atiku, who had then won the Adamawa state governorship election, to jettison the seat of the governor and move to Abuja as Vice President.
Grapevine information said Obasanjo initially promised to do only one term, but later reneged on that and persuaded Atiku that after two terms as Vice President, he would continue in the villa for another 8 years as President. So he allowed him a second term.
However, Obasanjo did not only do two terms, but tried to run for a third term in 2007. Unhappy with Obasanjo, Atiku fought the third term agenda tooth and nail. For that, Obasanjo is said to have said, he would ensure Atiku never become the president of Nigeria.
So like the APC, with the emergence of Atiku as the candidate of the PDP, Obasanjo is now at the junction of the Devil’s alternative, as power is destined to remain in the north.
It may be recalled that in his book, ‘My Command’, Obasanjo said and I quote, “the British had always wanted the north to rule because it was more amenable and less radical and refractory than the south”. So now that the party that introduced zoning and made him the first beneficiary, has jettisoned the zoning in readiness to keep power in the north, as envisaged by the British, and give the power to his sworn enemy, he has to look for an escape route out of the junction of the Devil’s alternative.
But, like Tinubu said in his congratulatory message to Atiku, PDP would be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after squandering 16 years at the central government without much to show. Because, Nigerians are yet to forget the national ruin and mismanagement of our country for 16 years by successive PDP administration and this bad memory will dog the campaign of the PDP Candidate.
Yes, with PDP’s decision to field Atiku, APC may inevitably see it as a patriotic duty to also field in a northerner, because, the party is at the junction of the Devil’s alternative: whichever option it chooses, men are going to die.
Ibrahim , a media advisor writes from Abuja