10 reasons youth and students may shun Atiku come February

10 Reasons why Atiku and PDP’s power at all cost posture is not in Nigeria’s interest

The difference between the two men cannot be any starker, as the latter has always had a cloud of allegations of corruption hanging over him and in the build-up to the elections, the mirage clears and his candidacy time and again is proof of what Nigeria does not need at this critical stage.

One of the silent power blocs in Nigerian politics is the youth. The young people of the county who make up nearly 70% of Nigeria’s population and whom the establishment (which Atiku is a part of) has never allowed into their ranks. Here are ten reasons why they will shun him and vote Buhari come Saturday.

Since 1992, Atiku Abubakar has been seeking to be Nigeria’s president. He was a member of the SDP and was disqualified from contesting the then Gongola State gubernatorial election. He became a presidential aspirant and lost to Chief MKO Abiola. By the return of democracy in 1999, he had teamed up with the PDP, which eschewed the ideals of the SDP and Abiola’s legacy. After his fallout with his principal, Olusegun Obasanjo, he departed the PDP for ACN. In 2014, he once joined the APC and went back to PDP in 2017. His lack of ideology is clearly a red flag.

An American congressman, William Jefferson was indicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison for corruption charges. Atiku was named in the charges and is the reason he could not travel to the United States for close to a decade. His recent clandestine jaunt after paying $1 million dollars to a lobbyist Brian Ballard did not convince Nigerians that that was “proof of his innocence”. Rather it paints him a desperate light.

While describing Titi Abubakar, the first of his five wives, she inadvertently revealed how corruption was an integral part of his DNA. “I was on my way back to Nigeria from Benin Republic where I visited my aunt and was accosted by customs officials at the Idi Iroko Border who demanded for payment of duty for the pair of brocade material which was a gift from my aunt. The officer, who was Head of the Command at that time intervened, paid for the duty charge and gave me the receipt. One thing led to the other, we hooked up later and the rest is now history.” His fourth wife, Jennifer was also implicated in the Jefferson case.

For much of his campaign, his handlers have unsuccessfully attempted to diminish President Buhari’s distinguished military career, which includes the prestigious Aldershot in England. On the contrary, Mr Atiku’s highest qualification is a diploma he acquired in 1969, fifty years ago.

Another proof of his unpatriotism and lack of ideology is the reason for running against PMB. For whatever reason, Atiku had erroneously assumed that he would have access to the corridors of power after the 2015 elections and get a free pass to continue to benefit from corruption, but when that did not happen, he chose to stay in Dubai and complain about not being consulted on national issues, rather than stay to build the country as an Elder Statesman. Insiders say he's known for his childish tantrums who leaves hastily rather than build for the long-term, and day after day, just as he did during his short lived stay with ACN (Led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) between 2007 and 2008. He has proven them right. 

At no point in Nigeria’s political history have young people been given the opportunity to lead as now. Even when Mr Atiku was vice president, he and ex-president Obasanjo were unbothered by the clamour by youths to be given a chance. On his part, President Buhari signed the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill, which among other things reduced the age eligibility to as low as 25, into law.

As Nigeria’s capacity to generate electricity gradually improves, Atiku who was VP for 8 years and had his party in office for 16 uninterrupted years, he acknowledged that he and his party did not do the right thing all these years. If we had handled the issue of electricity when we were in office, by 2005 we would have provided enough electricity… but unfortunately, we did not follow that route.” In 2019, young Nigerians know that the PDP cannot change.

The sixteen-year era of PDP is still fresh in Nigerians’ memory. While Nigerians groaned under the hydra-headed monster of corruption, scarcity and terrorism, PDP members were touting their intention to “rule for 60 years”. They had no road map to improving the country, just a thirsty desire to be in office. Today, it hasn’t changed by much- PDP states are still lagging behind in terms of development and future plans.

It’s hard to disagree with the candidate himself, especially when he’s not reading a speech written by media advisers. At a town hall meeting he attended with his running mate Peter Obi, he swore to sell the NNPC and added “And I am also not going to enrich members of my family, but my friends. Are my friends not entitled to be enriched?” This is another proof that he puts friends and family over due process.

While millions of Nigerian youths struggle to get educated, it is inexplicable that a public official would own a private institution. Not only that, the American University of Nigeria is the most expensive higher institution in the entire country. By their votes, young people in Nigeria will let him know that profiting at the expense of Nigerian citizens is not something their willing to endure.

This is a featured post.

The views expressed by this writer does not represent the opinion of Pulse.

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