Permit me to share a tale of a dear associate of mine within the APC, or shall I say, an APC sympathizer. His primary occupation as a university lecturer leaves him with little time for political matters. Yet, during the fervour of the presidential campaign, he engaged me in numerous discussions, delving into the intricacies of leadership. We embarked upon a journey of comparative analysis, debating who should steer our nation’s ship. It was during these dialogues that I unveiled to him the profound manifestos of Atiku – his economic prowess and visionary plans for national development. I boldly declared that even Tinubu himself acknowledges Atiku’s remarkable competence and his innate understanding of effective governance. At this, my friend concurred, although he held a different stance, grounded in ethnic considerations. When I inquired about the importance of religious equilibrium, he feigned confusion.
His anticipation brimmed with enthusiasm for a meticulously curated selection of ministerial appointments that would redefine norms. However, his excitement dissolved into disappointment. He had hoped for a conscientious execution of policies that would alleviate the plight of the masses, who had endured eight years of suffering. Instead, he saw on social media the distribution of a mere jerrican of rice per person, ludicrously labeled as ‘palliatives.’ He turned to me, his eyes filled with incredulity, and posed a question: “Aare, is this what they call palliatives?” Regrettably, I confirmed his suspicion. This, I told him, is nothing short of a cruel jest aimed at the underprivileged.
Amidst his laughter, he candidly expressed his view that our nation is mired in a crisis. He lamented that Tinubu failed to appoint individuals of notable competence as ministers. He criticized the fickleness of policies and the rapid reshuffling of ministers as if there had been a lack of forethought during their initial selection. Ministers were swapped just as they faced screening, and Tinubu even professed ignorance about some of his own appointments. I attempted to console him, saying, “My dear friend, let patience be our ally.” His response, however, was one of skepticism: “So, it’s all about patience and excuses?” He probed further, asking who had rescued the populace from the hardships imposed by the APC government. I responded confidently: “Atiku is poised to bring about change.” His gaze held a mixture of bewilderment and hope as he inquired, “Are you certain?” To this, I replied, “By the grace of God.”
While his excitement was palpable, my inner thoughts echoed a different sentiment. Why do epiphanies often grace us after events have transpired? This friend of mine nearly transformed into an adversary during our debates about the most fitting candidate for the Nigerian presidency. The Atiku I know, I mused, would have hit the ground running with unwavering determination from his very first day in office. He would have initiated development programs that transcend time, benefiting the nation’s citizens and relieving their suffering. Equipped with the acumen to blend materials, methods, and practices harmoniously, he possesses the power to achieve well-conceived objectives and guide the country towards prosperity.
As I bade my friend farewell yesterday evening in Abuja, I couldn’t help but ask him whether the talk of university lecturers going on strike was true. I appealed to his sense of compassion, urging educators to consider their students and exercise patience. His response was one of annoyance; he brushed off my words and redirected the conversation to a different topic – the imminent tribunal judgment. “When will the verdict be delivered?” he inquired. To this, I offered an uncertain reply, stating that it should not extend beyond this month’s end or first or second in September. His gaze fixated on me as he muttered, “May it favour Atiku.
The suffering is unbearable, and my heart aches for the impoverished.” Permit me to echo his prayer: May the judgment of the presidential petition court lean in Atiku’s favour, and may divine intervention guide the judges to render an impartial and just verdict. With a resounding ‘amen,’ I conclude.
Aare Amerijoye DOT.B.