It would seem that the era of trying to toy with elections via the media has come to stay, as it was revealed over the weekend that an Israeli PR firm was hired to spice up the last elections with propaganda damaging the credibility of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the favour of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate. Even more so is the quest to engineer public perception and set the mob against a particular candidate, in the hopes that it would alter judicial sentiment at the election tribunals.
On another plane is the allegation that some political elements are working to sabotage the current government. In the days of the junta in Nigeria, once an individual – civilian or military – is accused of partaking in a coup, s/he better starts putting his/her house in order, because the end is definitely near. Now that we are in a democracy, we do not know exactly what to expect if such accusations were slapped on a politician or a hero or even a regular citizen. Would it really be the end? Could that be likened to a political suicide of such individual as enforced by the State; as it was done to some kings by the Council in Old Oyo?
Questions of this nature run through our mind, pondering the fate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who has been accused of being behind the machinations which has rendered Nigeria unworkable and ungovernable. The initial allegation filtered in when the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Buratai, issued a statement that he knows the elements which are disturbing the peace of the nation to be individuals who have failed in politics. And just about a day after, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated in a press release that the Federal Government has intel that Atiku is involved in a high-powered attempt to topple the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari. One would, at least, expect the accusers to provide more detail of this so-called ploy to destabilize the country.
With such an allegation, matters have definitely come to a head. Daggers have been drawn. But the challenge to step into the ring and defend his name or fatally wound his political opponents is yet to be publicly taken up by Atiku Abubakar himself. That this is also happening in the time of the deep mess of the controversies which has enshrouded the proceedings of Atiku’s case challenging the outcome of the 2019 presidential elections at the Court of Appeal Elections Tribunal is very telling of the many fights left which the man has to engage in.
Does he have any chance? It appears that Atiku is currently throwing all his weight behind the elections petition currently running its preliminaries at the Court of Appeal under the chairmanship of the controversial Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa. Bulkachuwa, who also is the President of the Court of Appeal, is said to be the wife of an APC Senator-elect whose son also contested and lost the last governorship elections in his state, under the APC. The Atiku litigation team, on learning that Bulkachuwa would be sitting on the elections petition panel, asked her to recuse herself from the case – as is the normal practice wherever a conflict of interest stands in the way.
Perchance, this lobby to get Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the petition did not fall through; one could say there is a higher likelihood that Atiku would lose out at the Appeal Court. And just in case he loses the petition at the Appeal Court, his possible contest at the Supreme Court is not guaranteed a win with the recent machinations by Buhari concerning Walter Onnoghen, the erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria, at the Supreme Court.
The war between these political bigwigs, currently being fought in court, on the media, and subtly on the streets by their loyalists, may not be ending anytime soon. But as the citizens themselves continue to observe the forces of democracy play out, much more on the table will depend on the resolve of Atiku to bear the weight of all that will inevitably come at him– in victory or in vanquish.
Featured image source: The Nation