Former US President Clinton Calls Buhari Ahead Of Elections, While US Secretary Of State Michael Pompeo Calls Atiku + How Donald Trump Endorsed Atiku In 2018
The presidential elections which was supposed to hold today 16th February in Nigeria, has caused the palpable tensions across parties and candidates and ordinary Nigerians. However, Nigerians woke to news of the election postponement. The big question however is, WHO WILL FINALLY EMERGE AS NIGERIA’S PRESIDENT?
This very pregnant question seems to lack answers until the elections finally hold and the poll results are called. However, both the APC and PDP aspirants are hopeful, as very important personalities across the globe have been calling their chosen candidates and wishing them well.
Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, called President Buhari on Wednesday night, ahead of the forthcoming elections. Buhari who spoke to Clinton on phone revealed that he appreciated Clinton for his continuous support for Nigeria and the growth of her democracy. He also promised him that the country’s elections would be free, fair and credible. President Buhari aptly described Clinton as a friend of the country and commended his constant support for the peace, stability and progress of Nigeria under a democratic dispensation.
Speaking further about the Clinton call, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adeshina, said Clinton regretted his inability to visit the country to witness the signing of the final peace accord before the general elections. But that he wished Nigeria well as her citizens go to the polls.
It would be recalled that Former President Clinton was scheduled to have come to Nigeria to witness the signing of the peace accord before the elections, but had to cancel his visit, saying the visit could be “politicized”.
Two days later, precisely on Friday 15th February, US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo phoned PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubarkar over the elections. Pompeo made the call to affirm the international community’s commitment to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
According to Atiku who made the disclosure on his Twitter handle said, “Earlier today, I received a call from US Secretary of State, @SecPompeo, who reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria.” He also said that he was, “Wishing you all a peaceful election, wherever you are. God bless Nigeria.”
Is this some sort of competition between the republicans and democrats, on which party they chose to support? We may never know. What we do know is that President Donald Trump openly endorsed Atiku Abubarkar in October 2018.
Using his Twitter handle, where he posted a picture of himself holding a poster of Atikulated, showing images of Atiku and Obi, Trump also made several tweets about his position on the Atiku candidacy, and at same time explained what he knew about the alleged corruption case Atiku had with US, which reportedly made the bar him from visiting us.
“Well, I think the influx of young Nigerians into the political process is commendable. We actually need to start building and preparing our younger generation to take over from the older ones, especially with the population we have. However, I do not think victory on a large scale is possible for the youth in 2019.
I think we should first get into the process and then gather enough experience to take charge. What that ‘Not Too Young to Run’ law did for the youth is open up the space more for participation, but it is not a blanket approval to take over power. In 2019, the opposition requires the service of an experienced politician with nationwide spread that will be acceptable to everyone across the geopolitical divides.
Personally, I do not. But if I am to be analytical with you, from the array of aspirants that have shown interest directly or indirectly within the opposition, only one individual stand tall to have the pragmatic capacity to defeat Mr Buhari in 2019, and that is former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.
However, I understand that lots of horse-trading are expected to take place before the primaries, but if the People’s Democratic Party were to be strategic, they would use their best candidate.
It is a no-brainer. Of all the aspirants who have indicated interest, none possesses the experience and political clout like Atiku. We all know he is a successful businessman and a cosmopolitan fellow who enjoys acceptability across the country irrespective of ethnic or religion.
In a time of great disunity like ours, we need someone to unite the country and create an antidote to the cancerous Buharinomics operating today. Most importantly, Atiku has an established nationwide political structure that if fused with the support of the opposition Governors and leaders, the possibility of having victory is much higher than any of the other aspirants.
But that is my opinion, we will wait to see how the primaries turn out. While I subscribe to youth taking over the political process, I do not think the whole talk of age is tenable. I have a different opinion. Governance is not a training ground, what is a training ground is appointive position.
The way political office works is different from how business works. In business, you are profit-oriented, and criticism is limited to the office environment. In political office, your first job is welfare, either it makes business sense or not. People will criticize your moves and you cannot just fire them. So, to me, what we require in 2019 is a president with experience and receptive mind and a very young cabinet made up of individuals with fresh ideas and innovations.
To start with, the issue of defection will continue to reoccur in our democratic process for a while until we have been able to attain an age of maturity. Make no mistake, our democracy even though stable is still nascent compared to other countries beyond the continent of Africa. If you look across our political parties, there is no clear-cut ideology we can identify any of the parties with.
If any political party is to be formed today, for it to gain traction you will need the political bigwigs to come on board. So those that are moving, including Atiku, I believe are doing so because they feel either a sense of injustice or that the party, they were in was no longer representing the ideology they thought it would uphold.
I think people should look beyond political parties though and start looking at individuals. Martin Luther King Jr. at a point in his life supported the Republican Party in the United States but that same Republican Party now is being viewed by some as a White supremacy party. So I believe the issue of cross-carpeting is merely a phase that will pass with time.
On the allegations against Atiku, few years ago, a friend of mine based in Canada was writing a contribution to a political journal and I had to help him with some research works. Part of my brief was corruption cases in Sub-Saharan Africa and in my course of research I came across the U.S. Senate report many now claim to have indicted Atiku.
I think the major issue with Atiku then was that he offended some very powerful individuals when he stood his ground on the third term agenda. The U.S. report many are now citing did not indict Atiku. The allegations bordered majorly on the Siemens bribery scandal and what the U.S. Senate tagged suspicious movement of funds.
If you look at the Siemens issue, you will realize that referring to it is a mere waste of time. iGate, a telephony company in partnership with Siemens wanted a contract in Nigeria and a Louisiana Congressman, William Jefferson, who happened to be the leader of Congressional Black Caucus offered to help using his African root.
Around that time, Nigeria was lobbying the international community for foreign investment and Atiku represented one of such lobby sessions. From the report I read, that was how iGate was introduced to him. Along the line, the F.B.I suspected that the Congressman was engaging in shady deals and decided to conduct investigation.
In the course of the investigation, one of the iGate executive -I have forgotten the name now- was wearing a wire unknown to Mr Jefferson. So he met with Atiku and talked about the iGate project and the company’s proposal in private without the iGate executive but when Mr Jefferson later met with the executive, he alleged that Atiku demanded $100,000 from the company before the proposal could be accepted.
Now that the elections has been moved to 23rd February and 9th March respectively, we are sure of more phonecalls from leaders across the world.