Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari: A relationship of Patriots By Louis Okoroma
Posted On Jan 8, 2016
Wonders, they say, shall never end. Wonders, however, are made possible by the great hand of God who compels men to do what ordinarily they would not do, or places them in situations where they have only a particular line to tow.
The close and warm relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar would normally only be found in fairy tales. It is something that could only be possible in fables because each of these men, being great in their own rights, followed different pathways to greatness. Even in politics, where the two have become close pals, they started off on different political platforms until fate brought them together, albeit in the quest for the same prize.
Both PMB and Atiku Abubakar have contested for the Presidency three times. While the 2015 polls was the fourth time PMB would contest before he clinched it, for Atiku, popularly known as the Turaki (Adamawa), the 2015 APC primary election for the Presidency, was the third. It was on the convention ground, on the battle field that these two great men met; with other gladiators for the ultimate prize of the presidential flag of the APC though book makers had only Atiku and Buhari in their books as the men to watch.
With the insistence and help of the leadership of the now ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar, a veteran of the former ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which he left because of the latter’s’ hijacking by people with poor democratic leanings, decided to stay put in the APC and fight for a new government and a new party in power, or as is now popular, to fight for change in last year’s national elections. The rest is history.
Atiku Abubakar is a practical man and an ambitious politician. However, as a politician with Nigeria and the betterment of its people as his agenda and prime reason for his politics, he found a soul mate in President Buhari, a man equally passionate about making Nigeria a better country. This meeting of minds led to the historic alignment of forces that made possible the great victory of the 2015 Presidential election with Atiku deploying much of his political resources to give the fledging APC the historic victory that it recorded.
The wise and simple man that he is, the Mai Gaskiya has not forgotten and this has led to the two men forging a formidable political alliance that is set to change Nigeria for good and give the people of this country the better country that they yearn after, a country where things work.
The cooperation and friendship between these two men is albeit a quiet one, and it is doubtful whether most people and even political observers are aware of it. Atiku, the practical politician has ensured that things get done as long as the country stands to benefit. When the former administration of President Jonathan wanted its former Minister for Agriculture to become the President of the African Development Bank (ADB) at a time when the latter’s’ tenure had more or less expired, it wisely enlisted the support and goodwill of PMB. Seeing the election as an asset to Nigeria and putting politics aside, PMB concurred. PMB in turn, as a realist who knows the international profile and mileage that the Turaki can cover, made Atiku Abubakar a special envoy, to use his diplomatic influence to ensure that Dr. Adesina got the ADB job to the glory of Nigeria! Atiku delivered.
Atiku Abubakar has been playing other strategic and critical roles that would assist the government of PMB and indeed, the ruling APC realise the promises they made to the electorate. The task before PMB as President which he is totally committed to achieving are economic revival, employment creation and defeat of domestic insurgency followed by the rehabilitation of the millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the troubled northeast zone of the country.
On economic revival, the Turaki Adamawa supports the policies so far put in place by the government to bring sanity back into the nation’s economic affairs and improve national revenue through diversification. Atiku Abubakar is a keen entrepreneur and has invested in agricultural schemes in some parts of the country. When some of these projects reach their full capacity, they will contribute to export revenue through taxes to be paid to government in addition to the thousands of Nigerians being given employment.
Atiku’s many educational institutions including Africa’s first development tertiary institution, the American University of Nigeria (AUN), is impacting education and knowledge for development both to regular students and youths among the IDP population in the northeast of Nigeria not to talk of the thousands of jobs for Nigerians of every tribe, religion and social tendency. The role being played by the AUN in giving succour and food to IDPs in Adamawa State has to a large extent been a bulwark against utter desolation which the insurgency would have wrought in that part of the country.
As the Nigerian Army embarks on mopping up operations to finally erase insurgency from the North east, the focus of attention would move to rehabilitation and reconstruction of the devastated areas. Government has promised to embark on this programme soon this year for which purpose Presidential Committee has been set up which has retired General TY Danjuma and the industrialist, Aliko Dangote as members. One other member not mentioned is the Turaki Adamawa. PMB did not mention him due to his busy schedule but anyone who has been following the activities of the Turaki knows that the Committee would enjoy this tedious job by the time; Atiku Abubakar lends his immense support to their effort.
Atiku Abubakar enjoys his own philanthropy because as a politician and businessman, he says Nigeria, is his agenda. His reason for being in public service is to improve situation and circumstances of the nation, and its people and not for self- interest or personal gain.
Given all the above and in view of the dire straits the nation finds itself, one would expect that other leaders – politicians, business people etc., would be happy, applaud and promote the warm relationship between the Turaki Adamawa and President Buhari. On the contrary, much effort is being exerted by certain forces, within and outside the ruling party to sour this beautiful relationship and bring it to an end. The reason, to hurt the amiable Atiku and put his rumoured political ambition in jeopardy. This is even when the Buhari administration is yet to clock one year and the Turaki or any serious-minded politician has no reason to declare any political ambition for now, bearing in mind that there is not yet a vacancy at the Villa.
These busy-bodies and enemies of the nation are already busy planning for 2019 rather than lending a helping hand to PMB. And thinking that the Turaki is doing the same, are out insinuating everything under the sun, all for selfish purposes.
However, this writer is glad that PMB is focused, knowing full well that he has an important mandate from Nigerians to make the country work and be at peace. Nobody can choose his friends for him more so, when this particular friend, Atiku Abubakar, is one man who can get things done, in more places than one.
Louis Okoroma, a Public Affairs Analyst writes from Abuja.