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Atiku Is Atiku After All

January 24, 2009
I remember with nostalgia those interesting days of blogging on the PM News online site. To be exact, the period was between the last half of 2006 and May 2007.

The atmosphere at the blog was always charged, every Tom, Dick and Harry had unrestricted access to contribute without any form of identity or user name. Tantrums, insults and obscenities were hurled at will once it was confirmed you were differing in political opinion. The charged and tensed virtual environment was a true reflection of the feelings Nigerians had at that time. The structure of contribution and exchange on that blog was unprecedented and on flip sides; it was rich, literate and informed and the management of PM news on occasions gathered some striking contributions from the blogites, paraphrased and published on their hard copy street edition; nevertheless, often time’s decorum was tossed aside and gutter language was deployed to scare and intimidate the faint hearted, at times discussions were too pedestrian as paternities, potency and sanity were questioned or insulted. Some so scared left, others bold enough stayed, some rather than be cowed, changed their aliases to wear new virtual identities and personalities while staging a come back. It was a war ground and till today I am at a loss as to how PM news managed such user traffic.

 The Obasanjo – Atiku pre 2007 wars defined the blog at the time, there were three camps, the Obasanjo, Atiku and Buhari camps. Obasanjo camp had a handful of proponents and these individuals collaborated to reply and repel all insults and aspersions from the other camps. I admired those chaps because like their hero Obasanjo, they were never fazed by the insults; they loved, worshipped and saw no evil in Obasanjo. Atiku’s camp had the majority and the followership was intimidating, Atiku was the darling of everyone then because of the persecution he was facing; Nigerians as symbolized by the PM news blogites forgave all the sins he committed between 1999 and 2002 as de facto President and lined up behind him because Obasanjo’s antics, oppression and victimization was despicable.

Buhari’s camp was peopled by personalities like my humble self and another selfless writer from Sweden; we shared the notion that Buhari possessed the sincerity, uprightness, rigid stubbornness and sagacity to force development, attitudinal change and reform on Nigerians. Interestingly we often jumped camp to shore up the Atiku offensive. Such was the discipleship Atiku enjoyed in the virtual world and amongst Nigerians. He was admired, prayed for and urged on by 85% of the PM blogites; Atiku turned around 360 to become the peoples advocate, he spoke and championed the popular views held by Nigerians during that period, he won all his court cases and he effectively dorned the toga of the vindicated one. With a very effective PR and propaganda machine marshaled by his Campaign Office, he turned the tide against Obasanjo who possessed the Federal might, his PR infantry directed by the able Shehu shot from the hip with very sensitive official leaks.

Details were churned out on Obasanjo’s adulterous harem, his billion dollar vote for weapons to silence the Niger Delta militants. The combined poisonous but caustic tongues of Fani Kayode, Akin Oshuntokun and Uba Sani couldn’t cow the determined coalition of Atiku and Nigerians. I remember some made it a duty to curse Obasanjo in the morning and evening over Atiku’s predicament before signing out for the day. The day the third term was kicked out by the NASS, the PM site crashed briefly because of the virtual back slapping and celebratory rejoinders of the Atiku boys. Atiku was somewhat of a hero.

However, as all this virtual and traditional brick brouhaha carried on to new phases, a strange and new chap logged into the blog and posted a comment which till today is replays in my mind. He wrote:

 “Fools, Atiku will remain Atiku, the Leopard never changes its spots, he is pro Nigerians today because he is at the receiving end, at the right time he will join back his clique of Obasanjo PDP oppressors and you all will be shamed”

And the prediction of this individual who never posted again before the PM management wielded the big stick has come to pass. Atiku has continued to romance with the forces of doom in the PDP and crowned it last week by a visit to Abeokuta to dine with the same man that scourged him and Nigerians with scorpions. One thing is constant and must be stated that Atiku is guided by his selfish ambition to be President and is ready to have lunch with the devil to achieve this. He is the typical Nigerian politician that would stoop so low to attain power. He won’t mind sacrificing his true friends. I don’t know how his closing ranks with Obasanjo can benefit Nigeria but let him know that his latest belated Abeokuta theatric is what will bury his 2011 dream yet again.

 AC should wake up to the reality that is; Atiku’s heart is in the PDP and start building a post Atiku progressive opposition party that will voice out for Nigerians. Atiku belongs to the one party state school of thought and they should stop dwelling in their fools’ paradise. Let me remind them also that the Atiku brand is a liability and in any free and fair election held devoid of multiple thumb printing and ballot stuffing, he would never garner enough votes to win even a local government election.

Atiku is Atiku after all; his antecedents will continue to speak.

Norris Benedict writes from London

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