By Eze Chukwuemek A Eze
It has become customary for different organizations, groups, institutions and individuals to name some prominent individuals as their “Man of the Year” at any given year. The nominations of such distinguished individuals are obvious indication of their different, unique disposition or remarkable contributions to the upliftment of such person’s society or country. Based on the afore-stated assertion, I tabled this issue before groups and organizations, which I am privileged to be at the helm of their affairs, and those I am a key figure in their operations. Some of these notable organizations are: Eze Global Foundation, Igbo Crusaders Forum in Politics, Organization for the Sustenance of Genuine Democracy and Sports Development in Nigeria and of course, Turaki Vanguard of which I am the Image Maker.
The entries we received, about 80% nominated the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as their choice for the “Man of the Year” award. Sequel to this, it is pertinent to analyze some of the major factors that informed Atiku’s choice.
Atiku Abubakar has become a phenomenal and recurring decimal in the politics of Nigeria and the International Community. All political activities revolve around him. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling party’s reform and re-organization are being done with Atiku Abubakar in mind, possibly to scheme him out of the party. Today, all the activities taking place in either ANPP, ACD, AA, APC, or MRDD are linked to him. It is either they are planning to adopt him or he is the one sponsoring their activities. Very soon, efforts will be made to link him with anybody or family that develops insomnia or failed to secure a vehicle to travel to any part of the country.
Upon all these mischief making political sycophancy, Atiku has remained focused as he has surmounted all the evil machinations of his political foes. Our Man of the Year has become an institution in such a way that he has become the rallying point of democrats, Beacon of Hope for our democracy, Defender of the constitution and rights of all Nigerians. Nigeria’s politics today is divided into two categories – those agitating for the 3rd or rather 4th term of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (his first term was in 1977 – 1979), and those insisting on constitutional democracy and opposing the dreadful 3rd term bid that is capable of disintegrating this country. Majority of Nigerians see Atiku Abubakar as the only capable person to save our country from the hands of these autocrats that have jettisoned the norms and principles of democracy in our country. Today, within the PDP, we have the militarized PDP and the democratic PDP. Records show that our Man of the Year is at the helm of affairs of the democratic PDP.
Our man is so unique and seems to be destined not minding the obvious threat to his life, liquidation of most of his business outfits, intimidation and harassment of his political associates to lead this fight against a dreadful force that is capable of doing anything to achieve their aims. Our Man of the Year Atiku Abubakar is not only a gift to Nigerians but a man with the lion heart. By 2005, his ADC and some other aides were removed without his consent or knowledge, his USA private house was invaded by the FBI and the government of which he is the Vice-President told the general public that it was a private problem of the Vee-Pee hoping that he will be indicted. The party, PDP, of which he nurtured to maturity and even paid for three (3) years rentage of its National Secretariat at Abuja and the party as a sign of appreciation denied him and his associates revalidation of their membership of the party.
Our Man of the Year hardly speaks but when he does the whole political environment catches cold.
It seems William Shakespeare, one of the revered names in English Literature, had our Man of the Year in mind when he wrote that “some men are born great, some achieve greatness, while some have greatness bestowed on them”. To many who pitch tent with this school of thought, those who achieve greatness appeal most. Without leaving much to doubt, the greatness of a man is not in being blue-blooded but in his ability and capability to surmount all obstacles, which confront him in his quest to carve a reputable niche for himself. Succinctly put, greatness from a realists’ perspective is rising from state of abject penury and obscurity to limelight. It is rising from dirty rags to affluence through the dint of hard work. To another school of thought, it is rising from being a nobody in a primitive neighborhood to an opinion vehicle and leader in a vast socio-political and economic community. When the annals of great achievers who have proven insurmountable in the face of challenges will be unveiled, the name: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON (Turaki Adamawa), Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria will be among those boldly engraved in gold.
In Igbo parlance, the saying goes that a pregnancy that will give birth to a king is not known. Indeed, when Hajiya Rakiyatu Kande conceived for her husband, Mallam Garba, little did they know that one-day, the product of that union would become a hero and a great achiever. Though he lost the father at a very tender age, life was very miserable for the young Atiku as he managed under the guidance of dedicated relatives to wangle his way out of poverty. What a shear destiny that he has graduated today as a world class leader.
This fatherless who roamed every nook and cranny of Jada and Kojoli is today a business mogul, an employer of labour and most importantly, a powerful political block and force to reckon with in this country. He was not only the chairman of more than seven companies before his entry in politics, but today the name Atiku Abubakar sends jitters down the spines of his political opponents. Without mincing words, Atiku’s stint in the political community of Nigeria is a clear confirmation of the biblical saying that, “whosoever God is with, nobody can be against”.
From obscurity, our man of the year Atiku is today one of the sponsors and a member of the Finance Committee of the World Constitution and Parliament as well as a member of France based World Citizens whose objective is to promote peace and understanding in the world. Out of the murky waters of despair, adversities of years gone by and wretched beginning he has emerged a powerful politician. A force to be acknowledged whenever the roll of 21st century politicians in the world will be called.
Atiku Abubakar has risen from the shackles of penury to becoming an international political figure, a nation builder who has virt ually presided over all the major national institutions in the country. As captured by Professor Kevin Nwogu in his citation on His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the occasion of the conferment on him of the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) of the Federal University of Technology, Yola in 2002,today, “Atiku Abubakar effectively presides over all major national institutions responsible for economic policy formulation, implementation and coordination. As the chairman of National Economic Council, he holds the major responsibility of steering the nation’s economic mechanism, channeling efforts to optimize the opportunities of a potentially great country…” continuing, “As a result, Nigeria’s economic growth has picked up for the first time in nearly a decade. From a negative growth the economy is now at 3% and from a depleted foreign reserve of just above 2.6 billion dollars twenty three months ago, it is now over 10billion dollars”.
The struggle to make ends meet coupled with total commitment and hard work has really paid off. Atiku is the Chairman National Council on Privatization, Chief Coordinator of all public enterprises, Chairman of National Economic Revitalization Committee. Without mincing words, Nigerians will attest to the fact in the most lucid terms that the country’s economy is gradually picking steam. Today, Nigerians are celebrating the so called debt relief by the Paris Club and it is our man of the year who managed the country’s economy from 1999 to 2003 until some funny people hijacked these functions that have brought untold hardship to Nigerians as most families these days hardly eat even for once in a day. Many are dying on daily basis due to hunger. But Nigerians ne ed not despair so much as our Man of the Year has dedicated himself to get Nigerians out of the present hardship by offering himself, come 2007, to lead this country.
This is why all and sundry should help him in the fight to deepen and institutionalize democratic principles, constitutional democracy, rule of law, etc. in the body politics of Nigeria. What about being the Governor who never ruled? A presidential nominee for Social Democratic Party SDP in 1993 and the only Nigerian public servant to have been deservedly promoted three times in 48 hours. Life indeed is a mystery. From being a pauper at childhood, an optimist in his teenage years to a devoted and loyal servant in adulthood; Atiku today is a household name in Nigeria. This is evident in the numerous traditional titles, awards, honours, etc. he has bagged from socio-political and economic institutions including the academia. Our Man of the Year Atiku Abubakar, from his triumph over adversities has taught us to be dogged and adventurous in whatever we are doing; from his difficulties, he taught many to be courageous and persevere in life and from his struggle to become a self-made man, people have learnt to have faith, hope and trust in God.
Fellow compatriots, our man of the year Atiku Abubakar has been tagged as a relentless achiever, a master strategist, a man of great vision and dignity, a man of inestimable value, very principled and disciplined, one who endears himself to the he arts of many through his acts of magnanimity to the indigent in our midst. A great patriot, a tireless activist, a humble philanthropist, a true and authentic democrat, a man of boundless honour, a man of enourmous dignity, a man of great vision, a man of distinguished excellence, principled and loyal to a course, a man of boundless energy, one of infectious enthusiasm, unwavering confidence and hope in our greatness as a country, a devoted and loving husband and father, a pillar of strength for our associations, a gold nugget and inspiration for fellow compatriots, a treasure of hope to his followers, a man of envy to his opponents, a pride to our rich and beautiful nation, a great man of love and respect and hope. The list is endless.
Our man of the year Atiku Abubakar, constantly reminds me of men of humble parentage and humble upbringing, men that rose from grass to grace, men that God endowed with special talents for the betterment of their communities. People in this category include our own Chief MKO Abiola who had to sell firewood to enable him pay for his school fees and later became an institution and single largest employer of labour in Nigeria and stood out as the greatest philanthropist of our time. Atiku reminds me about President Olusegun Obasanjo who, as a result of poor parentage had to struggle to pay his school fees, but today stands out as one of the greatest leaders of Africa. This man of encouragement and hope reminds me of Abraham Lincoln who relentlessly surmounted all failures and became the President of the United States of America.
Let me appeal based on the facts highlighted in this article with our brothers and sisters from the North-East to see the candidature of Atiku Abubakar as their best option for the presidency of the country. If the opportunity is lost, the zone may not have the opportunity to produce the president of this country for a very long time. For those from the South-West, I say, support the candidature of Atiku Abubakar, to appreciate him for all the support and loyalty he accorded to President Obasanjo, and Chief M. K. O. Abiola and for marrying one of their illustrious daughters Chief (Dr.) Titi Abubakar.
For the South-South, they should support Atiku who is sympathetic to their course and for my brothers in the South-East, the candidature of Atiku Abubakar will grant us immediate ascension to the presidency in the nearest future and being one of our own as a title holder and as an in-law through marriage to one of our sisters (Dr. (Mrs.) Jennifer J.A. Abubakar). For the North-West he is the head of the political machinery set-up by General Shehu Yar’adua who before his death was a political institution in Nigeria and for the North Central, Atiku has always proven to be an ally to be trusted. To all Nigerians, Atiku’s candidature affords us the best option of quality leadership and proper civilian democratization.
Fellow Nigerians, it is this great Visionary leader, educationist, philanthropist, detribalized, amiable, humane man of the people, political strategist, great mobilizer of men, reformer, industrialist, resourceful and lover of our people that I recommend as our Man of the Year 2005 and that we should carefully and objectively consider for the greater role of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.