THURSDAY Column with Mohammed Adamu
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It seemed like some kind of ‘after death, the doctor’, when Atiku Abubakar reportedly resigned to invoking the metaphysical: “We’ll all die and give account to God”, said the Waziri –implying that he has been dealt with unjustly by the recent judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. In truth it is not yet ‘after death, the doctor’. Because with the appeal, Atiku’s hope for victory is not dead yet. There’s still one last doctor ahead –the Supreme Court. But concerning the Tribunal’s recent verdict which has brought the ‘believer-Atiku’ out of the ‘conniving-Waziri’, one wonders ‘what was Atiku thinking?’ -that the Tribunal should’ve ruled that from the fictitious result sheet which his anonymous internet ‘fraudsters’ obtained from some mythical ‘INEC Server’, he had won the election? Or that in spite of the ridiculously scanty evidence he presented to prove rigging and substantial non compliance with the electoral Act, the Tribunal should still have ruled that he won? Or that in fact it should simply have declared him winner on the ridiculously ‘technical’ ground that a Buhari that we all know to be far more educated, more experienced and definitely more patriotic than him, merely had an affidavit in lieu of an ‘original’ secondary school certificate? It is unthinkable that any reasonable judges would’ve done that. Any lamentation here is itself lamentable.
But Atiku’s resort to the ontological -warning about the inevitability of ‘death’ and the certainty of giving account in the ‘after-life’, although it is such commonplace truth to tell by any believing person, yet coming from an Atiku, or from any Nigerian politician for that matter, that was actually genius. That was Atiku, confirming that politicians do not necessarily have to be truthfull, to be virtuous. “How wonderful”, as Shakespeare would say “when the devil tells the truth”! But then the question arises ‘do politicians also cogitate death and accounting before God whenever they rig elections or whenever they steal from the common purse? Or does the ‘divine’ only matter when they lose elections or when they have been rigged, or out-rigged? Or by the way, now that Atiku has found the uncommon courage to tell truth about the ‘after-life’, shouldn’t he also tell us truth about the ‘here-and-now’? -like they do, say in the Catholic Church: ‘forgive me lord for I have sinned: I have paid money in the past to influence the vote’. Or ‘forgive me lord for I have sinned: I have paid money in the past for thugs to snatch ballot boxes’. But no, here was a man whose philosophy in life has always been that: ‘whatever is worth having is worth cheating for’ now telling us about the ‘after-life’, ‘God’ and ‘divine account’.
‘Being sincere’, Descartes said ‘does not mean being truthful’. And it is the reason they say that ‘the truth you tell with bad intent, beats all the lies you can invent’. Therefore, one wonders again, aloud: what does Atiku think?’ That he can blackmail judges by invoking the divine and the metaphysical? That, having failed to purchase the conscience of judges at the Tribunal -like he allegedly did those of his party men- he may now, at the appeal, inspire in judges a divine dread or attract from them some juridical sympathy? Whatever it was that prompted Atiku’s ‘lamentable lamentation’ about death, ‘after-life’ and account, is definitely not of God. For God cannot be on the side of the more prayerful, but as the Christians would say, on the side of those who pray in truth and in spirit. And just as the wind is on the side of the ablest navigator, so are judges on the sides of facts and of the law. No lamentation will change this time-honored judicial practice.
But what goes around, they say, comes around. Whatever you mete to others, the good book says, even that shall be meted to you. Shakespeare had a title on that: ‘Measure For Measure’. Atiku’s private PDM group, in 1999, under the PDP, self-servingly rocked the boat in Jos for the rarest opportunity that the South East had under a pan-Nigeria, Sunday Awoniyi-led ANC, to present Alex Ekweme as PDP’s flag bearer. PDM, in cahoots with the military, brought in fresh from prison, Obasanjo with a good motive on the surface to appease the South West, but beneath that was Atiku’s scheme something personal. Atiku would thereafter abandon his Adamawa governorship mandate; he would conspire with fellow Governors-elect under the PDP to virtually blackmail Obasanjo into nominating as VP ‘one of our own’ (Governor-elect) in the person of Atiku as condition for supporting Obasanjo at the general election. That ‘joker’ would be the beginning of the end of the political career of Abubakar Rimi who was otherwise Obasanjo’s personal choice for VP. Up until Rimi died –and may his soul continue to rest in peace- I have no recollection that he ever lamented!
Atiku would be Obasanjo’s VP and he would no sooner than that start his schemes to prevent his principal from going for a Second term. In fact by 2003 Atiku would have a weakened Obasanjo physically kneeling to beg him to remain on the OBJ-Atiku ticket and to rescind his decision to challenge his benefactor at the primaries. Obasanjo would escape that Atiku routing only by the whiskers. In 2007, Atiku would secretly be in league with the ‘renegade’ section of NASS to frustrate his Principal’s Third term ambition, not for altruistic reasons, mind you, but only so that he could have a shot at the Presidency. He would pay the price thereafter as a vengeful Obasanjo would back a terminally ill Yaradua and would bring the entire weight of his government each step of the way, to frustrate Atiku’s ambition. Almost belatedly, Atiku, under the Action Congress, AC, would narrowly escape Obasanjo’s many legal hurdles to make a poor showing in the election and would thereafter take his lamentation to the courts -making as his chief ground for challenging Yaradua’s election the fact that state machinations against his political ambition did not allow him convenience for full electioneering.
His separate prayer at the Supreme Court, for the cancellation of Yaradua’s victory would be granted by a lone dissenting judgment of Justice Oguntade, even as Yaradua’s runner up, ANPP’s Buhari’s petition, on the grounds of rigging and substantial non-compliance, would be denied on a split decision. Buhari was the bereaved of 2007 election, yet, Atiku almost lamented the verdict more than Buhari did. In 2011, Atiku –now back into PDP again- would scheme, this time, to compromise the electoral process to edge IBB out of the Adamu Chiroma Arewa Committee’s Shadow election, to emerge the anointed Northern PDP candidate to trade tackle with Jonathan. Ironically, at a Presidential Primaries in Abuja, even Atiku would now be paid back in worse coins by Jonathan’s crude hawks who, knowing his reputation for delegate-buying, would put an eagle eye on Atiku. He would brazenly be barred by most PDP Governors from coming to their states to campaign to their delegates. At the Eagle Square Primaries he would be made a pariah and delegates, sardined and hidden away in secret hotel locations, would be guarded against Atiku’s dollar-forays, until the last minute when they would be escorted –men and ammunition, guns and bayonets, tanks and mortars- into the Square to cast their votes.
To be concluded