Like a wounded lion, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, continues to agonise over his electoral defeat, enduring the sting of the immense humiliation he suffered at the presidential polls. Weighed down by the heavy burden of loss, Atiku grapples with the harsh reality of conquest, as he licks his wounds in disappointment and dashed hopes.
So great was his setback, that it has now transformed him into an attack dog, relentlessly criticising every move of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In his conquered-fueled spirit, he has no doubt found a new vigor to challenge and oppose the ruling administration at every turn. Undermining their efforts and casting doubt on its capacity to govern, Atiku relentlessly issues statements aimed at disrupting the ruling administration’s progress and fostering dissent among the populace.
However, with the audacity he uses in condemning the present government, one will think that Atiku would have been a better President if he had won. But it is nevertheless not lost on us that the same Atiku, while campaigning ahead of the presidential elections unveiled his agenda, part of which advocated for fuel subsidy removal and floating of the naira.
As far back as 2018, Atiku made it clear that “it is worth the risk to float the naira, even if it leads to inflation” So what has now changed? The fact that he suffered a humbling loss and failed to become Nigeria’s President? This abrupt change in stance raises questions about the consistency of his convictions and whether his motivations are influenced by personal ambitions rather than genuine concern for the country’s economic stability.
While Nigeria’s problems did not start today, Atiku has been part of the Nigeria’s democratic growth since 1999. It begs the question how the economy fared under him particularly as head of our economic team. The records are there; his performance was below average. On the other hand, what has been his contributions to Nigeria’s national development? Allegations of embezzlement through corrupt practices, kickbacks and misuse of public resources for personal gains? Is it not widely known that as Vice President, he built a private university even when such was against the constitution? Do we begin to delve into the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) saga? Same Atiku concluded plans to sell national assets to his friends and cronies when he becomes president and audaciously asked us why his friends should not be enriched.
He who comes to equity must do so with clean hands. A man like Atiku is not qualified to make such judgments, particularly when his own record is tarnished by allegations of corruption, failure and ethical misconduct. His credibility to assess or critique others is undermined by his own questionable conduct and lack of integrity. He should, therefore, save us from his incessant noise-some banters of attacking the President at every given chance. If only karma would work faster than people hope, some persons do not deserve to speak on national issues again. Atiku is such.
While Atiku luxuriates in his faraway enclave in Dubai, he stokes the fires of animosity towards the President Tinubu to mislead Nigerians. Having failed to secure victory at the polls, Atiku seems to revel in the notion that if he cannot rule, then the country should be consumed by chaos and flames. His actions are fuelled by unquenchable vengeance rather than genuine concern for the nation he claims to love.
This is not patriotism. As rightly pointed out by the present administration, rather than churning out ceaseless criticism, he should recommend workable solutions and stop with the blabbering. It is becoming increasingly embarrassing and unbecoming for a man who, by now, should be regarded as an elder statesman to engage in such behavior.
There is no gainsaying the fact that opposition plays a vital role in democracy. It is the responsibility of the opposition to bring accountability and transparency to governance in order to act as a check on the administration in power. Nonetheless, opposition should not devolve into mere pettiness and theatrical displays. Even in developed countries, opposition is not solely focused on obstructionism. Constructive criticism goes a long way in fostering progress. Atiku should therefore borrow a leaf and emulate this approach.
When President Tinubu took over the reigns of leadership, he never promised Nigerians the coming months would be a walk in the park. If Atiku were to be honest with himself, he would admit that the difficult decisions taken by Tinubu were necessary. In an effort to ease the suffering of the people, Tinubu allocated billions to State Governors for palliatives and interventions to mitigate the effects of the challenges being face by citizens. If these measures did not reach the people, then it is fair to question the actions of the governors rather than solely blaming Tinubu.
Furthermore, a committee was recently established to review the minimum wage after careful consideration. These are a few among other interventions, the administration is doling out. Atiku should acknowledge and commend these moves. The current administration is actively working to stabilise the situation and improve living conditions of citizens. Instead of criticising, Atiku should demonstrate patriotism by advocating for patience and setting aside political agendas that could harm the nation.
While it is accepted that times are indeed challenging, let Nigerians give the President an opportunity. Let us extend him the benefit of the doubt as he navigates us through these muddy waters. It is crucial that citizens are cautious of self-serving figures like Atiku, who, disenchanted by their failed political endeavors, attempt to stoke division and evoke negative sentiments among the populace to further their personal interests. Rather than prioritising the collective well-being of our nation, they sow discord and turmoil. Let Nigerians unite in support of the president’s efforts and work together towards a brighter future for our nation.
Mustapha Abdallah, writes in from Gusau, Zamfara State