There has been a clarion call on the peoples of the Northeast geopolitical zone where Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) comes not to miss this opportunity to produce the president of Nigeria after waiting for more than 40 years or so. It has been argued that it would be foolish and so unwise to lose what the call maker calls “this God given opportunity”
Engineer Muhammad Abba Gana, elder statesman and former Minister for the Federal Capital Territory under the Obasanjo administration said in a statement addressed specifically to the geopolitical zone Tuesday in Abuja that the Zone cannot wait any longer but to make February 16th, 2019 “our chance and opportunity”.
He is asking the people of Borno State to vote wisely for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP whom he calls their in-law and friend; the people of Adamawa State to do so for Atiku, “your able and patriotic son”; the people of Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States to follow suit for Atiku, “your able and dependable ally, friend and patron”.
In what must be the most forthright rolling up of the sleeves for the PDP candidate in his home base, Engineer Gana’s argument is that there is no knowing how long the Northeast would have to wait to get another candidate like Atiku Abubakar, who he credits with a proven and well known ability, capacities, national network and personal resources to emerge and get elected to become President of Nigeria.
“If we lose this God given opportunity on February 16th, 2019, I do not know for how long we will wait”, asserted the usually very careful elder statesman who was a radical and remains a crusader for social justice and decency. It suggests a powerful critique of the Buhari persona and Presidency although he refrained from bashing beyond calling him a military dictator who was removed from office by his own colleagues in uniform. Calling President Buhari a convert to democracy, Gana opined that he is still a democrat on the learning curve who still habours some military sentiments and instincts. Beseeching God to give President Buhari the wisdom of conducting a free, fair and credible election and handing over peacefully like former President Goodluck Jonathan, the former Minister reminds all the people of the six states of the Northeast geopolitical zone that opportunity knocks once at everybody’s door. “I sincerely and honestly believe that the year 2019 is the year in which God the Almighty and All-Knowing our Creator and Sustainer has chosen for the people of the Northeast zone of Nigeria to produce a Nigerian President. Those who agree please say YES. Those who say NO are not from the Northeast geopolitical zone”
It is not clear how this might shape the outcome of Saturday’s poll but this opportunity, according to him, is coming after a 40-year waiting and trying, said Gana who mentioned how the late Waziri Ibrahim (GNPP), late Adamu Ciroma (NPN), Bamanga Tukur (NRC), Babagana Kingibe and Atiku Abubakar (SDP), all from the present Northeast zone but who all failed to get the ticket in each case. Meanwhile, he profiles the Northeast geopolitical zone to occupying about 1/3 of the total area of Nigeria, contains some parts of the Lake Chad – the second largest fresh water lake in Africa, crisscrossed by many rivers like the Benue, Gongola, Jamare, Yobe, Yatsaram etc. And these are besides being home to vast reserves of oil and gas and the Mambila Plateau, also home to the 3000 or so megawatts hydroelectric project and enormous agricultural and livestock potentials, said Gana in the brief statement that went to five pages typed.
The former Minister is equally crediting the Northeast with producing some of the best technocrats as well as some of the best and prominent Military and Police officers who helped to run Nigeria at the Federal level and in the former Northern region. Re-instating his belief that it is time for the zone to produce a Nigerian president of Northeast extraction, he reminds all the peoples of the six states of the Northeast Zone to make well informed and beneficial judgment based on still pervading insecurity and complete absence of real economic opportunities and activities within the Zone.
Engineer Gana is not leaving the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) out of his homily. Calling his job the most difficult job in the world because most Nigerian politicians are not actually looking for convincing and honourable victories in elections, the PDP BoT member says he could not escape the blame no matter who wins the February 16th, 2019 election for the fact that he is also from the Northeast which has not been able to produce the president since 1979 after many attempts by previous candidates and aspirants. “Your most difficult but not impossible task is to, by all means, ensure transparently free, fair, credible and peaceful election. Once this is achieved the Almighty and All-Knowing God, our Creator and Sustainer will take care of the rest of the matters”. Invoking the saying that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat to be very apt in the current circumstances, Gana contends that most of the country’s major political crises which terminated her 1st, 2nd and other Republics were caused by rigged elections which produced leaders with unconvincing and dishonorable victories.
He is, therefore, calling on Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to continuously monitor the progress of the conduct of the election in every constituency of Borno State, in particular, alleging this was where INEC, the Borno state government and security officials declared landslide victories for ALL the APC candidates in the 2015 General elections in the state at all levels, notwithstanding verifiable and substantial presence of the PDP since 1999. Warning that “landslide victories must not happen in highly competitive multi party general elections”, the elder statesman said this is because the PDP had been producing Senators, House of Rep and House of Assembly members in previous general elections in the state except in 2007 when the PDP boycotted in protest.
There might be no reactions to Engineer Gana’s statement because it has apparently been calculated and timed to make such reactions possible but it is still a waiting game. The Northeast has been termed the battleground in this election because while that is where Atiku Abubakar comes from, it is also where Muhammadu Buhari was military governor in the early seventies.