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POLITICS

Furore Over Atiku’s Dubai Meeting

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There is anxiety and panic in the polity about the motive behind the recent meeting of the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar with leaders of the party in far away Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Ordinarily, every meeting is held for a purpose. But the reality is that while some meetings are converged for good reasons, some others might be organised with sinister motives.

However, truth is that whatever the reason behind any meeting, the participants of such gatherings are usually the ones who know its outcome.

By right, a group of persons or political leaders can meet anywhere so desired, to discuss issues affecting them. One thing that is true is, if such meeting poses a threat to security, there may be worry but if not, there is no qualms.

Given the current political situation at the moment, these are strange times for the country. There are fears, and strategy retreat by major political actors can quickly become a serious issue to ponder.

The bigwigs are certainly on a mission to outsmart and acquire power. To complicate things, the political campaigns are handy and have become a source of anxiety.

Untill recently, there was no furore over convergence of bigwigs of any party. But recent inexplicable occurences have since altered the equation. Both the rulling party and opposition are neck to neck, and on no joke mission to spy and get hold of strategic plans of the opposing camps.

From the ruling APC to the opposition PDP, the SDP, APGA and ADC, among others, jittery is word. None of them is resting. Strategies upon serious arrangements have become order of the day for the political parties.

What could be the source of such dangerous anxiety? If there is, then certainly, it is not more than which party ousts the ruling APC and takes over power. At the same time however, the APC is bent on not letting power to leave its sleeves.

As a matter of fact, more and more meetings would be held and political parties will continue to strategise.

In attendance at the Dubai, United Arab Emirates meeting were party stalwarts, including  the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Senator Ben Murray-Bruce(Bayelsa East); erstwhile Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, and ex-aide to former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, Governor Samuel Ortom among others.

It was said that the main aim was to strategise for the polls and ward off the prying eyes of agents of All Progressives Congress, APC.

Also, it was obvious that the Dubai retreat was to enable Atiku and PDP strategise on how best to run the campaign expected to begin soon.

One thing that became a source of contemplation for some political analysts was that no official statement, either from PDP leadership or Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCO), was issued on the essence of the meeting.

Along the line, it was speculated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency had perfected plans to send spies to infiltrate PDP team, hence the choice to meet outside the shores of the country.

Quickly, the  APC requested security agencies in the country to investigate the strategy meeting of the leaders of the PDP held in Dubai. The party had alleged that PDP leaders have sinister motive.

According to media reports, the APC said the purpose of the trip, which it claimed was to plot strategies to oust President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s election was rather “comic and ridiculous.”

This was contained in a statement by the APC’s deputy spokesman, Mr. Yekini Nabena. It said that the agenda of the meetings was spurious.

“Clearly, the meetings held in Nigeria did not yield their desired results, hence, a follow up meeting in Dubai. But we know the way of these politicians and the political party they represent.There is more to the meeting than meets the eye. Nigeria has enough meeting/conference rooms, many of which meet international standards. It is, therefore, clear that the Dubai meeting is for other sinister political purposes ahead of the 2019 elections.”

Nabena alleged that “Cash and carry politicians must be prevented from moving illicit cash around to induce voters and sponsor election violence and rigging.“Again, relevant agencies must check suspicious movement of cash both locally and internationally by politically exposed persons under the guise of a Dubai meeting or any clandestine meeting,” he said.

But as frightening as the meeting appeared, some APC heavy weight insisted that there is nothing to fear.

Of course, Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), categorically dismissed the threat posed by the meeting by Atiku Abubakar and his party, saying is not in anyway jittery.

Tinubu told media men that “We don’t fear. Whether it is in the jungle, or it is in Dubai or it is in Abu Dhabi, people are free to meet and strategise in anyway they want but we are not going back to the illusion of the PDP.”

Sensing mischief and sordid plans to cause acrimony and paint it in bad light, the Peoples Democratic Party, lambasted the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress for attacking it’s presidential candidate for holding a strategic meeting in Dubai.

PDP said the attack was “defeatist and a clear sign that they are already petrified ahead of the 2019 electoral contest.”

This position was contained in a statement by the party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan who noted that since the emergence of the former Vice President as its Presidential candidate, APC and the Presidency had abandoned governance for smear campaign.

Be that as it may, it is a pity that here in Nigeria, we love to play politics with everything. When it comes to issues of development, we are not seen being audacious. But when on issues of power play and pull down syndrome, the stage is well set and the bigwigs engage in battles of wit.

For a party holding a strategic meeting, whether in or outside the shores of the nation, it makes no difference. But what is going on is the escalation of premordial sentiment and clear demonstration of mischievous tendencies. All political parties are freely required to strategise as the general election is fixed. There should be no panicking and at best, a sincerity of purpose and level playing field for all.

Today, there is unnecessary tension and sinister plans by the ruling party to clamp on opposition political parties. It has become a do-or-die mission by the ruling party. The atmosphere of chaos is imminently poised to repeat the national tragedy, with the way and manner things are going. This should be clear to the majority electorates.

Some analysts have advanced the view that the ruling party should not be seen to panickingly countering the strategies of other political parties, because they are competing other blocs in a general election that has attracted serious interest of all Nigerians. And it has not to be with it taking to tantrum exercise or smear camoaigns. Rather,  it should cleverly be seen in good governance, strategising unceasingly with all sense of concentration.

That is why a politics watcher, Hon. Uche Sam, posited that for the ruling party to verbally attack PDP over a meeting it held abroad and call for probe,  does not brightens its already dwindling chances of acceptability by the generality of people. He said, instead, the ruling party is seen to be unnecessarilly desperate and quite afraid,  detecting a fear for experiencing defeat.

“It is rather a pity.  The APC is the ruling party and must conduct itself as such. Whether PDP hold strategic meeting, it is their right. Alleging that PDP is planning to move cash does not arise. If anything, it should at best appear  that if the APC does not also focus to evolve its strategies, and rather embark on baseless allegation voyage, their open defeat is may be obvious and the people can come to see their desperation that is garnished with mischief,” he stated.

At the other hand, some faithful of the ruling party are vehement, very categorical that for PDP to hold meetings, whether in the jungle, does not signal that APC is jittery. One thing the APC agents are advocating is that the PDP must be decorous and should not be seen in any political plots that can threaten the peace and tranquility, or politically wound the APC.

Elder Musa Abu is an APC stakeholder. He said, “the APC is not jittery about any meeting held by PDP. But what the opposition party must not joke with is to not plan to rubish the APC. We know there are allegations that it is moving cash to foster vote buying in the poll and it is fast becoming a reality. And PDP must also not strategise to threaten the security of the nation. APC is ready to win in 2019 insha Allah.”

At the moment, the political storm is gathering as it is now evident in strategy meetings political party leaders have began to hold.

Again, we must not forget that PDP is not the only party that can strategise. Let the APC not be jittery. The majority of people are disenchanted with the party’s abysmal performance that has propelled hardship and serious economy instability. Instead, the ruling APC should avoid chasing shadows and concentrate on rolling out their achievements,  if any, to convince Nigerians for mass votes especially now that critical point of political campaigns is to kick start.

Also, the PDP must not forget that APC is bent on retaining power. Therefore, it must be well organised, avoiding anything that can give room for further implications.

As it stands,  the political battle has just started and more allegations, accusations and counter accusations, bickering and sharp manneuvers, as well as diatribe would continue to forge. It will take cleverness of political parties to sail smoothly, without prompting any political chaos. But as events unfolds, time shall tell.



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