After he discovered the method of finding the exact amount of Gold in a crown, Archimedes the ancient scientist of Syracuse, Sicily was said to have ran through the streets exclaiming ‘eureka’ (I have found it).
For making discovery that led to the formulation of the principles of flotation, Archimedes’ joy overflew its bank.
Like the excitement exuded by Archimedes, there appears to be a ground swell of joy by a spectrum of the society following the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It reminds one of the palpable joy that swept across America, especially among black communities on the receipt of the news of former President Barack Obama’s victory at the poll, or the joy that greeted the release of former President Nelson Mandela form prison in South Africa, after 27 years of incarceration.
The eureka being shouted not by great Archimedes, but by people in the country is reminiscent of the immeasurable excitement that accompanied the lowering of the Union Jack in October 1, 1960 for the Nigerian national flag, as the British imperial lion took the exit route, allowing us to decide our destiny.
As part of the Atiku attraction, everywhere you go, you see people with glee on their faces, asking ‘having you been Atikulated? A question usually followed with a guffaw. To be ‘Artikulated’, a new coinage in our political lexicon, simply means to be immersed in the political philosophy of Atiku Abubakar or to like his person.
Inside worship places, bus stops, newspaper stands, markets, taxi cabs, and public places, what appears to be eclipsing every other discussion is the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the promise it holds for Nigeria. If you are not seen discussing the Atiku phenomenon, you are seen as being anachronistic as the agenda for every discussion is Atiku.
The Atiku attraction seems to have been taken to another level, with a young man, Kamaludden Bashir electing to trek from Zaria to Abuja in support of Atkiu emergence as the Peoples Democratic Party presidential flag bearer. Listen to him ‘I am really happy with the victory, that is why I am trekking to Abuja to show him that I am with him 100%.’ Can you beat that!
Bashir was also quoted as saying, “along the way, I will sensitize thousands of youth to join me in the campaign to make Nigeria great under Atiku Abubakar”. For a man to arrive at such a decision, is only a testimony as to the wide support that Atiku Abubakar appears to have gathered since emerging as the presidential flag bearer of his party.
In journalism, which is the natural habitat of the writer, there is something called the ‘unusual’, which is one of the yardstick that news men use to measure the news worthiness of events, and that played out not too long ago, with the story of one Lawan Faro climbing a 40 metre billboard hanger in Yola in protest of President Buhari’s handling of issues of the state and in support of Atiku Abubakar.
The man threatened not to come down until Atiku Abubakar shows up to assure him that President Buhari would not lead Nigeria come 2019. On the receipt of this act, what comes to the writer’s mind was Atiku’s attraction in motion.
Another of the Atiku attraction narrative that deserves attention was that of a Rivers State based lady Cecilia Dikibo who took to her Facebook page to beg for the hand of Atiku Abubakar in marriage. She pleaded to be made the fourth wife, so that the South-South zone can throw their weight behind Atiku’s presidential bid. For a woman to break the African cultural norm, by being the one making proposal of marriage to a man instead of the other way round equally give the Atiku attraction a mileage.
With the political gladiators that struggled to clinch the Peoples Democratic Party ticket, but lost it to Atiku Abubakar, the expectation was that most of them were going to leave the party or work against him, but neither of that happened. Today, as one writes, the Senate president Dr. Bukola Saraki, one of those that contested against Atiku Abubakar is the Director General of Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign, with the other contestants occupying the zonal coordinators position. For Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Aminu Tambuwal, Ahmed Makarfi and others to be working for the success of Atiku’s presidential bid, speaks volume of goodwill that Atiku has garnered.
For the men of God, Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah and Sheik Abubakar Gunmi to agree to take Atiku on a reconciliation meeting with former president Olusegun Obasanjo , shows that everything appears to be falling in the right places for Atiku. It came to many as a surprise when Chief Obasanjo who earlier have vowed not to forgive Atiku, made a volte a face, by publicly forgiving him.
He did not stop at that he declared Atiku Abubakar as president to be.
Regarding the momentum the Atiku attraction seems to be attracting, most people were amazed when the Archibishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby paid a courtesy call to Atiku Abubakar at his Maitama residence.
Archbishop Welby did not visit Atiku alone, he went with outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria Paul Arkwright.
Angered by the Atiku attraction, the personal assistant on social media to the president, Lauretta Onochie had to take on the presiding Bishop of Divine Seed of God Chapel Ministries, prophet Wale Olagunji for predicting that her principal was going to lose to Atiku. Media report has quoted Prophet Olagunji as saying ‘‘let me congratulate President Mohammadu Buhari for winning the ticket of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and let me also make it clear to him that he will lose to Atiku’’. To Onochie, the cleric took his admiration for Atiku too far.
While it is not possible to have every Nigerian on one page as to Atiku’s presidential bid, one thing is crystal clear, and that is, the scramble for Atiku is reminiscent of the European powers scramble for Africa before the Berlin conference of 1884. If the Latin maxim of vox populi, vox dei (voice of the people is the voice of God) is to play out in 2019, the outcome then could be as sure as the rising sun.
–Akunebu is a media consultant and author based in Abuja.