By Hajia Hadiza Mohammed
The year 2023 is still many months away but I am concerned about it because it is our electoral year. As a matter of fact, I am fixated about it because it apparently holds the key to the continued existence of this country. As a true patriotic Nigerian interested in the peace, progress and corporate existence of the country, I am deeply involved, my place of residence at present notwithstanding. Already, the country is in a state of topsy-turvy because of visionless and inept leadership foisted on us. Today Nigeria is ranked as a pariah nation in the same class with Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria. Among its ugly credentials, Nigeria is the poverty headquarters of the world. Nigeria is the most terrorized nation in the world.
Nigeria is a country with gross human rights violations…
So, getting it right in 2023 invariably means Nigerians installing the right leadership that will steer the ship of the rudderless nation to its preferred destination. It means rebuilding the battered economy riddled with debt, providing adequate security for lives and property, saving the nation from the throes of terrorism and banditry, uniting the nation factionalized by the divisive tendencies of those in power and making peace by building the needed bridges across the different political divides. It implies restoring true democracy, human rights and social justice, battered by the obnoxious policies of the present regime. It means restoring the nation to its status quo ante position when we were regarded as the true giant of Africa. It means letting Nigeria take its rightful place in the comity of nations. And the summary of it all is encapsulated in the phrase: “making Nigeria work again” as postulated by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (GCON), the Wazirin Adamawa, our indefatigable former vice-president.
Clearly, if Nigeria must work again, we as nation need a leader in the mould of His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to lead the nation. Nigeria needs a statesman like Atiku who is completely detribalized; who sees every part of the country as his constituency. Nigeria needs a leader that is exposed, articulate and tolerant. Nigeria needs a leader that is enlightened, broad-minded and exposed; a leader that is updated with what is happening at the global stage. Nigeria needs a leader that is truly democratic; a leader that understands the tenets of democracy, the principles of the rule of law, civil advocacy, interest aggregation and stakeholders’ engagement.
Atiku Abubakar as an accomplished businessman, a seasoned administrator and a technocrat understands the workings of the economy. He knows that there is abject poverty in the land. He knows the unemployment rate is soaring. He knows that the debt burden is unbearably high. He knows that the consumer price index is galloping. He knows that national productivity is declining in undesirable proportion. As one who has been there and well informed, it means he knows the problem and will find the right panacea. As an accomplished business who has built a strong business empire, it means he is result-oriented and therefore, he will strive to achieve result and make an indelible mark and his coming would not be for personal aggrandizement.
Atiku as an individual has an indebt knowledge of Nigerian environment. He knows the multifaceted nature of the country. He knows we are multi-cultural. He understands the political terrain, the socio-cultural differences. He knows our problems, our challenges and prospects. He has businesses in every nook and cranny of the country and therefore he would strive to promote general interest and not parochial interest. He has been in the political arena long enough to get his acts together. He has the political zeal, the will power and the clout to wrestle power from the cult of vampires holding the nation on its jugular and this why the enemies of the nation are always apprehensive when they hear the name, Atiku; another reason why they tend to sponsor smear campaign against his person.
His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a statesman of no mean stature with strong pedigree and towering personality. He is a bridge builder with a strong network of associates—business, professional and political—across the nation. As a true believer in democratic ideals, he is a firm advocate of truth. He speaks truth to power even at risk of his personal discomfort. His political philosophy is anchored on progressive ideology. He is an advocate of peace and politics without bitterness. Always, the general interest of the nation is uppermost in his mind and that is why he is the chief proponent of restructuring even when the North, his primary constituency is opposed to it.
Moreover, he is fearless and courageous. He has made enormous personal sacrifices for the enthronement and survival of Democracy in Nigeria. During the Abacha era, he was forced into exile because of his opposition to dictatorship. Prior to the return of Democracy in 1999, he played very active role, investing his time and personal resources to sponsor and support political activism. He has strong aversion to injustice and that is why he stood against the OBJ Third Term agenda that would have elongated his stay in government. It is for the same reason he left the current ruling party All Peoples Congress (APC) in 2017 when it was obvious that the party was anti-people and its policies and programs parochial and anachronistic.
Without doubt, the coming of the Wazirin would mean stability, economic progress and hope for the citizenry. To the professionals and business community, it would mean providing the enabling environment for real economic activities to thrive. To the different zone and political bloc it would entail solidifying our unity and peace. To his Fulani people in particular to which Atiku belongs, the coming of Atiku would mean improved image. The current administration has presented the Fulani people as a tribe of savages and therefore the coming of Atiku would correct this ugly impression by providing purposeful leadership. And to the political class, the coming of Atiku implies wrestling power from power hungry jackboot jackals masquerading as politicians and placing it firmly in the hands of real patriots and statesmen.
Indeed, if Nigeria must work again, we need a charismatic leader, a bridge builder who will heal the festering wound infested on us all by our collective past error, move Nigeria away from the brink and chart the way forward for peace, prosperity and progress. And that person is obviously Atiku. So as the march to 2023 beckons, I enjoin Nigerians to be circumspect and avoid the electoral mistakes of the past.
Hajia Hadiza Mohammed
An actress, social activist, politician
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily