Barring last minute changes in the polity, time beckons on the Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Al-Hassan (Mama Taraba), to take a very important decision in her bourgeoning political life.
The minister displayed a rare candor last September when he led a delegation of Taraba politicians on Sallah homage to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar where she declared her total loyalty to him should he chose to contest the 2019 Presidential election.
Though a serving minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mama Taraba found it not inappropriate to declare support for Atiku who has never hidden his intention to vie for the Presidency.
The minister had said that should Buhari declare an intention to run for a re-election in 2019 and Atiku, her political mentor and benefactor do same, he would be left with no option than to resign her position and work for the latter.
In her remarks, the Taraba political Amazon had reportedly said in Hausa language but translated to mean “Your excellency, our father and our president by the grace of God come 2019. Before you are your people, your supporters for life, the people of Taraba State. They are here to show our homage and to greet you on the occasion of Sallah and for all that Allah has done to you because Allah has raised your status.
We heard that they are coming to extend their greetings, so we said we have to be part of this and we all come to you. Chairman of the party, come out chairman; he is our leader, because he is the chairman of the party, I was only made leader of the delegation.”
With this terse remarks, the minister demonstrated a rare trait of sincerity in Nigerian politics by openly declaring support for Atiku’s presidential ambition even when there were speculations that his employer may be eyeing a second term.
This however ruffled some feathers in the cabinet as many described her utterance as a manifestation of double loyalty. Some called for her immediate sack as they argue that loyalty to constituted authority must be total.
Day by day, the nation’s political firmament has begun to take shape with the President last week declaring his intention to run for second term on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Even when Atiku has yet to officially declare for Presidency, the Adamawa born politician’s body language has shown that such would just be a matter of time.
Having dumped the ruling APC for the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a party he co-founded with other statesmen some years ago, there are convincing evidences that Atiku would slug it out with Buhari come 2019.
He has since commenced consultations with his supporters across the country as a prelude to his official declaration for the exalted position in an election scheduled to hold next year.
Al-Hassan’s declaration of support for Atiku’s presidential ambition did not come as a surprise to politicians in the north eastern part of the country. The former Vice President has always been a bulwark of support to Mama Taraba who contested the 2015 governorship election in Taraba state but lost narrowly to the incumbent.
It was also learnt that the former Vice President played some roles in Al-Hassan’s nomination into Buhari’s cabinet. So, the minister has been a consistent Atiku’s political disciple with whom she may have chosen to swim or sink.
Immediately Atiku dumped the ruling party for the PDP, it was expected that his political god-daughter would follow suit for them to be able to further calibrate their chances in the opposition.
Nonetheless, she remained not only in the APC, but also in the cabinet. The President equally proved political scientists wrong when he chose to retain Al-Hassan obviously waiting for her to walk her talk. Well, some have argued that the minister’s continued stay in the cabinet and the party, even when her benefactor had since left, may be strategic.
Whatever, the clock is tickling as we await what Al-Hassan’s move will be just the world waits for Atiku’s declaration in a short while. The question is whether the minister will uphold her integrity by walking the talk or chose to recant and stay put like a typical Nigerian politician. Only time will tell.