Protocols, just so we don’t run afoul of courtesies. The ATIKUlate nation; the twittering hegemony of the swashbuckling hashtag – #Letsgetnigeriaworkingagain; the ubiquitous OBIgatory foot soldiers; the Atiku/Obi Campaign organization whose directorate is in the able hand of the #GrowNigeria anchor man – characteristically described as a Traditional Doctor by the Chair of the ruling party; and of course, the people’s policy document crafted in the Arabian Peninsula – the Tokunbo document that will get Nigeria working again. This alludes to the fact that Nigeria has worked before, but it is not currently working, and it has to get working again.
Let’s get into further details. They said that Atiku does not have the competence to govern the country. They need to be reminded that the hallmark of leadership is to identify talents. Atiku’s current campaign organization abounds with great talents, A-list campaigners with track records in their chosen fields (Ben Bruce, Dino et al).
More importantly, Atiku single-handedly assembled the A-team of the 1999 to 2007 golden era in our political history.
The era saw the assemblage of youngsters and Generals who oversaw the affairs of the country. Wailers are now shouting that those talents were only smart with spoken English, not competence and results. They are making reference to the failure in the power sector after so much investment went into it. Between 1999 to 2007, the Power sector was at different times managed by Bola Ige, Segun Agagu and Liyel Imoke. Let’s even admit that the Power sector was a huge failure for Atiku/Obasanjo, the trio of Bola, Segun and Liyel tower above the wailers’ Babatunde Fashola in terms of talent. Forget delivery and results, what was needed was talent and Atiku delivered it. Talent was enough! Period!
Adamu Ciroma, Okonjo Iweala and Nnenadi Usman (now standing trial) were the top strikers of the golden era of Obasanjo/Atiku, making the economy the biggest in Africa and were almost dragging Nigeria into G20 membership when 2007 election suddenly eroded that move. They negotiated debt forgiveness and reduced official corruption to what was only possible between Obasanjo and Atiku. The duo experimented with it in sacking NASS leaders in quick succession and confirmed that only them could enjoy sleazy engagements. At some points, they started competing with the experiment. What a success story. Till today, that represents the peak of our anti-corruption success.
Still on the A-team, Mohammed Arzika, Haliru Bello, Cornelius Adebayo, Obafemi Anibaba, Frank Nweke, Femi Fani-Kayode, Chukwuemeka Chikelu, Jerry Gana led the communication/information bit at different times. Soft spoken, inspirational and exemplary communicators, these talents were the poster boys of the Atiku/Obasanjo era. They opened up the communication sector with Atiku signing and issuing the licences.
Obasanjo as the big boss, only sat back and watched as Atiku led the team to revolutionise the communication sector. Wailers are arguing that mobile communication was a global revolution and Nigeria unwittingly tagged along. But they need to be reminded that Atiku pressed full throttle to ensure that Nigeria was ahead of the world.
From the get-go, Atiku ensured that basic communication tools – phones, SIM were affordable and available to the common man on the street. Nigeria suddenly became flat, internet penetration skyrocketed and everyone became upwardly mobile, even you!
If given the chance, Atiku will do to the Power sector what he did to the communication sector.
They said Atiku’s inconsistence claim on his number of employees is a bad signal. But Atiku has been running companies, smartly and patriotically avoiding taxes. Even if he clones his employees to increase them from 50,000 to 100,000 because of elections, that is a trivial matter, the same way we have trivialised our double-body story.
What wailers will not tell you is that Atiku has bold ideas. He will sell NNPC, I am sure he will buy back the DISCOs and re-sell them just to get them working again. He has done it before when he led the privatization of critical aspects of the economy. Even in the education sector, he opened it up such that he is now a key private player as well as Obasanjo. He knows how to sell and buy, and that is what economics is all about, that is how he will create jobs, that is how he will lift all Nigerians above poverty line. Nigerians will become dangerously wealthy.
And that is how to get Nigeria working again, albeit dangerously!
They said Atiku does not have character and that he is notorious with corruption. Let the one without sin cast the first stone. Let’s even admit that he is notoriously corrupt as they claim and as indicted by the US government as well as his former boss. It means he knows the ways of corruption, he is familiar with the economics and mathematics of corruption.
Therefore, he knows the science of anti-corruption. Atiku will fight corruption to a standstill, to the extent that the success recorded by GEJ in his anti-corruption crusade would be a child’s play.
They said Obasanjo wrote scathing remarks about Atiku in his book, My Watch. This is a no issue as Obasanjo himself has willed their joint tenure from 1999-2007 to Atiku alone. So for the sake of politics, that era which did not witness any physical infrastructural investment can gracefully be regarded as The Atiku Golden Era.
Let’s stop here and come back to reality.
Ours is a sorry story to tell, we have to consciously avoid sending our memory as envoy into our past. We have on our hands a situation where failure is reinforcing another failure. If we have to get Nigeria working again the way it has been described between 1999 to 2007, then we have foreclosed the redemption of our nationhood.
May we not throw our last salute to our own nation state.
Obajeun Jonah Ayodele writes from Lagos and blogs via www.obajeun.com. He is on twitter @Obajeun