WHY ATIKU/OKOWA TICKET IS NOT “NUMERO UNO”: A Rejoinder to Law Mefor’s “Why Atiku/Okowa ticket is Numero Uno”
By Dr. Luke N. Aneke
Just recently, our well-respected and versatile Law Mefor penned an article “Why Atiku/Okowa ticket is Numero Uno” in which he presented facts more favorable to the Atiku campaign and which tended to diminish the fortunes of Peter Obi, the Labour Party and the Obidient movement.
However, a careful reading between the lines reveals an analysis that’s purpose-driven to arrive at a predetermined conclusion, incentive-motivated to achieve that result and a deficiency in factual objectivity and balancing aimed at strengthening its postulations and derivative assertions.
The rejoinder has become necessary because if left unaddressed, it has the potential to dampen and diminish the enthusiasm and momentum of the Peter Obi campaign and Obidient movement regardless of whether, or not, it was the original intent of the article.
After its introduction, the article subtly began to undermine the Labour Party by describing APC & PDP as the two political parties “…with tried and tested party structures and requisite resources”. This is a regurgitation and amplification of the defunct and disproved Ihedioha/Soludo wishful thinking that Peter Obi is a non-starter in the presidential race and is in it to lose. The truth is that the Obi campaign, despite its hiccups and teething challenges, has demonstrated that it’s an integral part of the presidential contest and is in it to win it, notwithstanding the intentional underestimation of opponents and their apologetics.
The article continued to document and amplify the perceived negatives and drawbacks of the Labour Party while studiously avoiding its accomplishments and demonstrable milestones.
For instance, the article described Obi’s intended emergence as a “herculean task”, describing the weight of that burden as “quite high” even when Obi’s chances are foreseeable and achievable based on available facts and statistics.
Also, the article continued to list Obi’s hurdles, pointing out that there are 774 local governments, 8818 Wards and 176,000 polling units for Obi and Labor party to staff with manpower as the election approaches.
However, the fact of the matter is that while Labour Party should not relax its efforts, it should not be dismayed by all the negative predictions and connotations of opposing parties and their sympathizers.
The Labour Party is aware of its challenges and is tackling them with zeal and vigour.
For example, a few weeks ago, nineteen northern Labour Party state chairmen and other party stakeholders held a workshop in Kano to recruit and train the 93,000 representatives that will man the polling units in the north and other efforts are being made to ensure that the Labour Party and their candidates are ready for the election. Hence, the fortunes of the party are not as bleak as opponents will have them believe.
Also, on a regular basis, party stalwarts of PDP and APC are both covertly and overtly campaigning for Labour Party while others are quitting their parties outright to join the Labour Party. A few days ago, 600 PDP members, in Umuahia North of Abia state, led by Chief Israel Nwosu, joined the Labour Party in the state. And similar drifts are going on across the nation to swell the ranks of the Labour Party.
Furthermore, most credible polling organizations have repeatedly placed Peter Obi ahead of Atiku, Tinubu and Kwankwaso but writers sympathic to Labor party’s opponents have tended to ignore that and just magnify perceived Labor party challenges.
Before we conclude, let’s turn our magnifying glass on Atiku Abubarkar for a moment. The Atiku campaign megaphones love to tell us that Atiku is a unifier and a bridge builder, and I keep asking myself if they are serious or just drawing wools over the eyes of Nigerians.
Precisely, in a country of over 250 ethnic groups, Atiku, a Fulani (of less than 3% of the country) wants to grab power from another outgoing Fulani that has run the country for 8 years, albeit, aground. How can the perpetrator of such ethnic insensitivity, arrogance and provocation be described as a unifier and a bridge builder? I wish one of his political megaphones will answer this question!
The English people say that action speaks louder than words. Atiku’s insistence on taking over from Buhari (another Fulani) is an action that tells other Nigerian ethnic groups that they are nothing but spectators in the scheme of things, they don’t matter, their feelings don’t matter and they can jump in the lake, and it won’t matter. Otherwise, how else can you describe this consummation of political arrogance, brinkmanship and ethnic insensitivity?
On the vexing issue of insecurity, Atiku has used every campaign opportunity to promise and commit that he will tackle insecurity if elected president. However, it’s difficult to believe his promises when you see the divergence between his words and actions.
Do Atiku’s actions give one encouragement that he’ll do what he has promised? Absolutely not!!! And we don’t have to look far to find answers.
Not too long ago, this past October 2022, a band of Fulani herdsmen terrorists descended on Ukum local government area of Benue state and massacred women, children and the elderly in their sleep in the middle of the night.
But rather than condemn this genocidal slaughter by his kinsmen, Atiku described it as “sustained clashes between farmers and herders” and blamed it on what he called “escalation of intercommunal violence”, thereby drawing stiff condemnation from the President of Benue Youth Forum, Terrence Kuanum. Atiku also blamed the Benue state government for failing to treat Fulanis with inclusivity.
The pertinent question for Atiku and other Fulani terrorists’ apologetics is: what kind of “clashes” exist between victims fast asleep by 3.00 am and blood-thirsty Fulani terrorists who butcher them to pieces in their sleep?
How does Atiku’s failure to unequivocally condemn this massacre encourage anybody that he will, indeed, tackle insecurity perpetrated predominantly by his own kinsmen? Your guess is as good as mine.
If Atiku cannot condemn Fulani-induced mayhem now that he’s begging for our votes, is he more likely to do so after he has pocketed our votes and become president? Again, your guess is as good as mine.
Lastly, the Atiku megaphones have told us, and the Igbos in particular, that Atiku is the surest stepping stone to Igbo Presidency. But how credible is Atiku to be believed on this?
Believability is a function of credibility. If someone is credible, then you believe what he/she says but if same person is not credible, then you believe at your own risk.
What’s Atiku’s pedigree and track record in making promises and keeping them? Nothing to take home about! For instance, Atiku was part of the PDP constitution that guaranteed presidential rotation to different geopolitical zones but he worked against that provision so he could usurp the turn of the Southeast.
Also, Atiku agreed that if a northerner emerged as PDP Presidential nominee, then the northern party chairman will vacate the seat for a southerner. But what happened when it was time to act accordingly? He backed away and has not been able to resolve the fallout from that betrayal.
When Deborah Emmanuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, was brutally murdered, Atiku wrote on Twitter condemning the action. But when he was threatened with loss of voter support in Sokoto, he deleted the tweet.
Is this the same Atiku they want us to believe will help make an Igbo president?
So, when you consider the unstable, insecure and unsteady character and dispositions of Atiku, you have no choice but to ask…which Atiku are they talking about?
In contrast, Peter Obi is as constant as the northern star, his word is his bond, and both friends and foes know that.
Happy Christmas and new year season!
Dr. Luke Nnaemeka Aneke is a New York based practicing physician and writes from New York. He writes on behalf of himself, not Labour Party, and is responsible for the contents of the article.