At last, the rolling boulder of Egbaland, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has unveiled his October surprise. It is no other than Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. It is a big victory for the Turaki of Adamawa. There is a legend out there that OBJ never forgives. This is the first time, on public record, that the restless, talkative but grudge keeping Chief would admit to have forgiven anyone. It is indeed an earth shaking thing.
Most people are curious as to why OBJ forgave his former vice. The reason offered, which is that Atiku had shown remorse does not seem to be the whole story. Since OBJ declared that President Buhari was not worthy of a second term a few months ago, nothing tangible has been done by the former President and his hatchet men.
Given the brief campaign period allowed by INEC, it would have been impossible for OBJ to work on an alternative platform that will match the size and reach of APC and PDP or that can put forth a person of the stature of President Buhari and Atiku Abubakar.
Could this be the real reason why Baba had a change of mind? Some kind of “at all, at all nai bad pass” situation. Or could it be that Baba has lost some critical power and so, like a smart satellite that risks being sucked into an endless drift into space, decided to shut down some of its functions until it regains power? No one can say with certainty why Baba has flipped on his own words.
That said, Atiku needs to watch his back. He knows the former boss very well. The man will offer to carry you on his back across the river, but if you mess up, he would not hesitate to bring you back to drown. When OBJ bites, he buries his teeth to extract more than a pound of flesh. He is like a resident demon that can not be sent packing. He may hibernate for a while just to fill his venom pouch and wake up much more deadly. Never take his endorsement as a blanket cheque to hop around carelessly like a grasshopper.
What if Atiku becomes president? It will be a life time dream come true, a truly inspiring story of tenacity against all odds. The completion of a journey that began way back in 1992 when he reportedly took the first shot at the top job under the Social Democratic Party but later stepped down for the eventual winner M.K.O Abiola.
Nevertheless, that is where the sweet story ends. The challenges of Nigeria of today are much worse than those of 1992 and every year since then. And in the last three years, there has been some unimaginable bloodshed that left the country in trauma. Healing the open wounds that are still horribly and a people who vehemently question their oneness is not a cake walk or child’s play.
When you now add the challenges of a tottering economy which no one has been able to put on the straight path of growth and strength since Independence, the hurdles looming before the next president, should there be a change of baton, is disheartening.
Even more frightening is the fact that our foreign exchange earning will continue to be weak as the fortunes of crude oil flounders without the prospect of any meaningful support from other economic endeavours.
If whoever that is sworn in on May 29th, 2019 thinks it is still business as usual, Nigeria will collapse while we look on.