WHY ATIKU ABUBAKAR LOST. By Kurtis Adigba.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former VP of Nigeria, the Waziri Adamawa, and the Presidential Candidate of the PDP lost to President Muhammad Buhari in the election held on the 23rd of February, 2019. Before the election, Atiku, had the wind behind his back. His supporters were visibly enthusiastic and gloated about his impending win.
Atiku himself, grew so buoyant in hope and expectation that he began to see himself as the presumptive President of Nigeria.
His supporters Atikulated everywhere.
After all, Atiku was coming to “Get Nigeria Working Again!” Nigeria, in the overwhelming opinion of the Atikulators, was not working under Buhari.
So, why did Atiku lose the election he could, or should have won? Many of his supporters, believed that Atiku actually won, but he was rigged out by INEC. He did not. The views expressed here, are mine, based on my understanding and interpretations of the factors that determined the outcome of the election. You don’t have to agree with me!
ENDORSEMENT BY CHRISTIAN LEADERS AND SHEILK GUMI.
From the moment Atiku became the Candidate of the PDP, top Christian Leaders in the Country endorsed him. Sheik Gumi, a top Islamic Leader, also joined the Atiku bus. At the meeting held in Ota, Ogun State to reconcile Obasanjo with Atiku, Bishops Kukah and Oyedepo, were present.
Sheik Gumi, and some Leaders of Afenifere, the Yoruba Social-Cultural Group, were also in attendance. Bishops Kukah and Oyedipo, explained their presence in Ota, as in pursuit of peace between Obasanjo and Atiku. A few people believed them. The open endorsement by some prominent Christian Leaders, only helped to reinforce the thinking that Atiku was the Candidate of the Church.
A friend said to me ” Kurtis it is fascinating to see how our Christian Leaders have made Atiku, a Fulani and a Muslim as Buhari, a Born Again Christian by fiat”. The apex Christian Body CAN, was not left out in the scramble to endorse “Brother Atiku”. Many Pastors openly endorsed him to their Members.
Pastor Suleiman of Omega Church said” I prefer a Man who will come and steal my money and Property to the one who will come and cut off my Head”. He got a standing ovation from the Church Members. Many Oastors threatened their Members with curses.
Some were excommunicated for the support for Buhari. The support by the Christian Leaders for Atiku did not go unnoticed by the Muslim Leaders,and Muslims in general in the Country.
Many believed that Atiku got the support of the Christian Leaders because he was more amenable to their desires and dictates.
Others said he was pliable, and supportive of the Christian agenda for the Country.
He was therefore perceived as a weak and compromised Muslim.
This perception, had the effect of consolidating support for Buhari among Muslims. Many who were wavering on supporting Buhari threw their support firmly behind him. They began to see Buhari as a victim of a high conspiracy by Atiku and some Christian Leaders. They also attributed the support of Sheik Gumi for Atiku to money.
After all, he was quoted as saying his supporters and his Organisation are now poor because Buhari is President. Atiku, he said, was coming to make them rich. They were also many Christians that were turned-off Atiku by the support he had from some Christian Leaders. They do not understand why their Leaders will chose in such a forceful and offending manner, one Fulani Muslim against another Fulani Muslim!
They couldn’t fathom why their Leaders choose to support openly a Man in reputation for corruption against a Man reputed for integrity.
Many were offended and still offended by this behavior. They voted against Atiku. The endorsement of Atiku by some Christian Leaders and Gumi, had the opposite effect.
Instead of winning support for Atiku, it turned away many from him to Buhari.
ENDORSEMENT BY OBASANJO.
Atiku was undone by the needless endorsement by former President Obasanjo.
Atiku was Obasanjo’s VP between 1999-2003.
Both men had a difficult relationship while in Office, culminating in Obasanjo literally sacking Atiku as VP. They also accused each other of corruption. Obasanjo, however, was more frontal and devastating in his attacks against Atiku. He attacked Atiku at every given opportunity of corruption and abuses.
In his 3 volume book, My Watch, he said Atiku has propensity for corruption, propensity for bad judgment and the use of Marabouts and money to solve all problems. At a point he said “God will not forgive me if support Atiku to be President”. For almost 12 years, Obasanjo kept tearing at Atiku’s reputation, eviscerating him, but all of a sudden, Obasanjo was willing to forget every terrible thing he said about Atiku all because he was now opposed to Buhari, a Man many believed was unwilling to be used by Obasanjo, or dictated to.
The reasons of Obasanjo gave for his change of position on Atiku, was even more offensive.
He said “Atiku came to beg me for forgiveness and he said he has learnt his lessons and has learnt so much from me and I believe he will be better than the Man there now”.
At another meeting with Titi Abubakar( Atiku’s first Wife) and other Women, who visited Obasanjo in Abeokuta, he waxed “all the things I said about Atiku are true. He has come to beg for forgiveness and I will support him. If he fails I will work with others to remove him”.
Everything Obasanjo said, and the reasons he gave were all about him, not Nigerians who will be voting to elect Atiku or Buhari.
Many were offended by Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku.
Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku after damaging him, reminds me of Bernie Sanders endorsement of Hillary Clinton, after eviscerating her during the primaries.
Bernie’s attacks on Hillary during the Democratic Primary contest, became Trump’s most effective ammunitions against Hillary Clinton. Bernie accused her of being a Puppet to Corporate America. He joked about her giving paid speeches to Wall Street in such a devastating manner.
He lampooned her for supporting terrible Trade Agreements such as NAFTA and TPP.
He said the agreements were accelerators of job losses. He jabbed her by saying she was referred to the TPP- Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the Gold Standard of Trade Agreement.
After Sanders lost to Hillary, President Obama got Sanders to endorse Hillary at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.
Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary did little to wipe away the resentment of his Supporters toward her.
It also couldn’t undo the damages his attacks on her had done to her Candidacy.
Rally after rally, Trump kept hammering her using Sanders’ talking points and playbook.
Trump won. Like Sanders, Obasanjo’s attacks on Atiku has been ingrained in the hearts and minds of many Nigerians. Obasanjo’s endorsement, did nothing to help Atiku.
On the contrary, it turned away many people from Atiku.
ATIKU LOST BECAUSE OF ATIKU.
Atiku Abubakar, is perceived as the most corrupt Nigerian Politician alive. The other person who had such reputation, was Umaru Abdulrahman Dikko, late President Shargari’s Minister for Transport, and Chairman of the defunct Presidential Taskforce on Rice.
After the Coup of 31st December, 1983, Dikko fled to London.
While walking on Streets of London, he was kidnapped, sedated and neatly tucked into a Crate and labeled as a Diplomatic Baggage at the Stansted Airport waiting to be shipped to Nigeria before some eagle-eyed Securitymen foiled the plot. Atiku is a rich Man. Some said he is wealthy. He was a former top Man in the Nigerian Customs where he was said to have made so much money.
After retiring from Service, he went into business. Nothing much is known about his businesses, but he is so rich. As VP and Head of the Economic Team under President Obasanjo, he supervised the operations of BPE, the Agency that criminally sold cheaply some of our prized National Assets. ALSCON, built at the whopping cost of $3.2B, was sold at a paltry sum of $120M. Atiku said he regretted the decision. Regrets are not enough.
Nigerians deserve to know the People who bought the Company, and why it was sold so criminally cheap.
Atiku’s reputation deficit was aggravated by the constant reference to Obasanjo’s character witness earlier mentioned, by the opposition APC. When President Buhari pointedly accused Atiku of corruption, he could only muster” some People in your Government are also corrupt”. His failure to challenge the President personally and directly on corruption, played into the narrative that Buhari is a man of integrity and Atiku is a not.
Atiku, in the course of the campaign, committed 2 unforced errors.
He probably spoke from the innermost part of his heart! While meeting with Business Leaders in Lagos, he said ”when we were in Government, we enriched our friends.
I’m going to enrich my Friends as President.
Is there anything wrong with enriching your friends?”
Yes Waziri, it is wrong to enrich your friends.
We do not want a Government that will chose Winners and Losers in Nigeria. All Nigerians should be Friends to their Leaders, not a select few feeding on our collective resources.
Atiku promising to enrich his Friends reminded many of his past; a past in which he sold our National Assets for peanuts.
This pronouncement, scared many People, and turned them against him. Atiku also promised to sell NNPC, the Country’s golden earner.
He said ”I will sell NNPC even if they kill me”.
Many were shocked by his declaration and concluded that he will sell NNPC to himself through proxies. Many who had intended to vote for him switched their votes to Buhari.
It was such a consequential moment for the campaign.
Many asked ”did Atiku just said he will sell NNPC … ? Oh no”. That was the gotcha moment for them. There will be no Atikulating for them. Kadaria Ahmed, finished off Atiku.
Atiku and Obi, his running mate had attended Kadaria’s political event. She had hosted President Buhari and VP Osinbajo earlier.
Kadaria, carefully walked Atiku into a deadly trap when she asked him to define corruption.
Atiku unsuspectingly said ”corruption is when you use your privileged position to enrich yourself, Family Members, and Friends”.
Kadaria then asked if enriching friends is corruption, why did he promise to enrich his Friends?
Atiku had no convincing answer.
A Guest asked him if a Person walked through his Door into his Office seeking for employment, will he employ such a person if the things Obasanjo said about him, were said about that man? Atiku again, mumbled some unconvincing words. Obi’s analogy of VAR, did nothing to reduce the collateral damage.
The cake was baked on Atiku’s corruption.
There is also the issue of Atiku not been able to travel to the United States of America, the only Super Power in the World, and unarguably the World leading Power.
Atiku, as VP had been linked to some corruption cases in the US. Congressman Jefferson from Louisiana , was jailed allegedly for receiving a $100k from Atiku. The money was found in his Deep Freezer. Atiku’s wife, Jennifer, living in Potomac near Washington, where Atiku owned several Property was accused with Atiku of money laundering to the sum of $40m to the US.
They both denied the charge, and fled the US.
For close to 13 years, Atiku could not travel to the US. This issue became hot button one in the campaign. Atiku had to procure the services of Trump’s Lobbyist for N31.5m($90k) per month to secure a Visa to the US, and obtain assurances that he will not be arrested while visiting the States. Atiku’s visit to the US, where he stayed in the Trump International Hotels, Washington, was celebrated as a huge win by his supporters but to his non-supporters, it further underscored why he should not be President.
Why should he lobby to be admitted into the United States at such a huge cost, was the question on many lips. Atiku, by and large, did nothing successfully to push back on the narrative that he is a corrupt Man, and that his election as President, will be an endorsement of corruption over integrity.
APC stayed on this message with devastating consequences for Atiku. Supporters of Atiku, were branded as supporters of corruption.
SABOTAGE AND LACK OF COMMITMENT.
Atiku Abubakar lacked men who truly were committed to him and his vision.
Many just wanted his money. Many of his henchmen were not completely in bed with him. Buba Galadima, a spokesman for his campaign said on Channels TV:
”I’m still a Member of APC. I only went to the PDP to support Atiku”. Another prominent one said his spirit was still in the APC. Top Leaders of the campaign in the Northern part of the Country abandoned ship, and defected to the APC with few days, in some cases, hours to the election.
Some of the Party Leaders Atikulating in the day were hobnobbing with Buhari in the night.
They were Atiku’s day time Friends, and Buhari’s night time Lovers. Many of them reasoned correctly that they needed Atiku’s money, but needed Buhari’s reputation more.
They worked and supported Buhari to gain credibility in their States.
They knew that the force of Hurricane Buhari, was unstoppable. They knew they needed some association with him to win.
And so they sabotaged Atiku. They took his money and worked against him for their own political survival. With fairness to some of them, they were never truly Atikulators.
They were Buhari renegades looking for succour.
Once they saw the possibility of getting back into Buhari’s good graces, they returned to him.
They gave Atiku false hope of winning.
They were never committed to his cause, vision, and ambition. In Port Harcourt, he won the Party’s ticket because of his superior and overwhelming war chest. He literally bludgeoned all the other Candidates to defeat with money.
Some of the PDP Governors he trusted so much to help him, failed him. They gave him victory just to show they delivered their States.
So in reality, Atiku oversubscribed his support in many States. In some States, we are hearing of tales of unused funds for the election.
Atiku, lost due to sabotage by an uncommitted bunch of Leaders, and very loud Social Media Supporters who did not vote, and could not vote because many do did not register.
If the election was held in Palo Ato, California, Facebook Headquarters, Atiku would have won. Unfortunately for Atiku, the election held in 120,000 Polling Units in Nigeria where he lacked support to win.
REPUTATION OF PDP.
Atiku Abubakar, is a founding Member of the PDP. He was elected the Governor of Adamawa State, on the ticket of the Party before he was picked by Obasanjo to be the VP nominee of the Party. This was at the time when Governorship and State Assembly elections, use to hold before the Presidential and National Assembly elections. Mr Bonnie Haruna, his elected Deputy, was sworn in as Governor in his place.
PDP won the election, and Atiku became the VP. The relationship between Atiku and PDP under the Leadership of Obasanjo, and thereafter, was not always a smooth one.
Atiku was literally forced out of the Party in 2007. He joined the Action Congress and was the Presidential Candidate of the Party in the 2007 election won by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Ardua.
His running mate was Senator Ben Obi, who also defected from the PDP. Atiku lost and challenged the results, but the election was upheld by the Supreme Court, even when the winner admitted that the conduct was deeply flawed. Atiku returned to the PDP before the 2011 general elections, and sought to be the Party’s Candidate for the 2011 Presidential election. He lost to the incumbent, President Jonathan. Atiku, the Sokugo(wandering) Politician, joined forces with other Parties and Politicians to form the All Progressive Congress(APC), a merger of some Political Parties.
Atiku again sought to be the Presidential Candidate of the Party for the 2015 election, and lost to President Buhari.
He came a distant third behind Buhari and Kwankwaso. This time, Atiku stayed in the Party. APC won, and Buhari, was elected President..Atiku was excited about the victory of the opposition Party and said ”I’m extremely happy to see an opposition Party win in my life time in my Country. It is not about my ambition to be President, it is about democracy”. For a time, Atiku enjoyed a robust relationship with the President and the top hierarchy of the Party.
He was given some Cabinet slots, and he filled them with his close political Associates.
Soon after, rumors began to swirl that Atiku was dissatisfied and was preparing to quit the Party. Atiku soon after served the Party a notice to quit. All efforts to persuade him to stay, failed. He soon rejoined the PDP and declared his intention to contest for the Presidency. No one can tell exactly when the relationship between Buhari and Atiku soured.
What we heard, was that Atiku was deeply angered by the demands made on INTELS (Atiku’s logistic Company at the Ports) by the Hadiza Bala led NPA to pay the backlog of fees running into hundreds of Millions of Dollars it owed to the FG.
Atiku it was said, had expected a waiver given his contributions to the victory of the Party.
Atiku Abubakar, emerged as the Candidate of the PDP at the Port Harcourt Convention.
He literally bludgeoned other Aspirants into submission with his well oiled deep pocket.
Delegates were offered huge sums of money in USD. Atiku as the Candidate of the Party, became the Leader of the Party. He inherited the Assets and Liabilities of the Party.
The Party, was predominantly in power for 16 years, a period Nigeria earned more money from Oil than any other.
The PDP in 16 years, with the never before seen resources, left the Country in ruins.
Our infrastructure, was the worst it has ever been. Workers were owed salaries for months unending in some States. The Country’s Treasury was looted without conscience.
There was gloom everywhere. In 2015, the APC campaigned on fighting corruption and won against the PDP. Once in power, President Buhari, unleashed the anti-corruption Agencies on all those alleged to be corrupt.
Egregious amounts of monies and so many Property were seized, confiscated, and forfeited to the FG. Majority of those trapped by the war on corruption, were former and current Leaders of the PDP. The daily and weekly revelations, were stomach turning.
It was so bad that some point some People began to question the veracity of the claims. But it was true.
Billions of Naira and Dollars, were stolen from the Treasury and stashed in private Vaults.
Some monies were recovered from Soak away and Pit Toilets. Billions of Dollars meant for weapons acquisition to combat the Boko Haram insurgency, was diverted and used to fund elections. Key operatives of the PDP, stole from the funds. This situation, led to a huge resentment against the Party.
Many vowed that the Party, will never to be allowed to return to power. This was the Party Atiku inherited and ran on. Uche Secondus, the proxy Chairman of the PDP, in recognition of this resentment toward the Party, had tendered an unreserved apology to Nigerians on behalf of the Party. He said the Party has learned from her past mistakes, and promised that the Party will do better if given the opportunity to govern again. The apology, did not accomplish much as many did not believe that the Party was truly repentant.
To many, the Party cannot be trusted to do things differently from the past. They preferred to remain with the ruling APC that was facing serious challenges, but gradually pulling the Country out of the economic and social holes she has been thrown into by the PDP. So the bad reputation of the PDP as a corrupt Party accentuated by Atiku’s reputation for corruption, turned away many Voters from Atiku and PDP to Buhari.
And Atiku lost!
APC STRATEGY WAS SPOT ON.
Another reason Atiku lost, was the strategy of the APC Campaign. The APC reasoned correctly that to win, it has to win big in the NW, NE, compete in the NC, SW, and minimize the damage in the SE and SS. APC won bigly in the NW and NE. The only State Atiku won in the NE, is Adamawa, his own State. And he won with a margin of less than 30,000 votes.
APC competed very well in the NC and SW.
It won in Lagos, Ekiti, Osun( by just 10,000 votes), and Ogun states. It lost in Oyo and Ondo States by small margins. In the SE and SS States, the traditional power houses of the PDP, APC, was out for damage limitation-prevent the APC from shellacking by the PDP. It succeeded. For the first time since 2003, Buhari secured 25% in 3 States in the SE and 2 States in the SS.
This depleted the expected vote tally for the PDP from the two loyal Zones. Atiku, unable to compete in the North, and having failed to blow out Buhari in the SE and SS, had no path to victory. Atiku and his Supporters, and PDP, believe that Atiku won the election. They are claiming that the APC rigged the election to secure victory.
The matter is before the Election Tribunal for determination. But let me say this: no Party in Nigeria, is free from rigging in one way or the other. Parties rig in the areas they are strong and acceptable. That is why the standard required for valid election, is not perfection( no election is perfect)but substantial compliance with the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of elections. It is my considered view that the results of the 2019 Presidential election, is a true reflection of the wishes of the People of Nigeria.
God bless Nigeria.