- Otunba GBENGA DANIEL, DG ATIKU Pres. Campaign Org.
The last few weeks have been tedious, tasking and very challenging. As expected, the task of taking Nigeria out of the woods is no doubt daunting and cannot afford to wait. Since I was appointed a few weeks ago as the Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization (APCO) by the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa, I had to choose between the options of writing this public acceptance of the offer and hitting the ground running; I chose the latter because of what I perceive as the enormous responsibilities attached to that office within the time frame that is available to us, to make sure that my Principal, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar secure, first the Presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, and then to let Nigerians understand that he is the best available candidate to rework the narrative of our dear nation and make it work again.
Since the news of my appointment and subsequent acceptance of the offer to serve in this capacity was made public, I have been inundated with several and different reactions. From far and wide I am bombarded with enquiries, recommendations, observations, several solicited and unsolicited counsels and of course some reservations.
A lot of people have equally expressed their excitement and encouragement at the appointment and the vibrancy that it will bring to the political sphere especially right now when fear, despair and a sense of hopelessness pervade our great nation. It is quite encouraging that someone like His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar is courageous enough to pursue his conviction that Nigeria deserves to be a better country, and has the good sense to appoint me to lead his campaign efforts. For all of the different reactions, both positive and negative, I am thankful. What matters most is the honor bestowed on me by this appointment, on the platform that we have to serve, and to make a difference as there will be no losses; we will either win or we will learn.
Here I speak to all those who have expressed their reservations about the candidacy of my Principal to lead the country at this point; those who have expressed their genuine concerns for our safety and that of the entire Campaign Organisation. There are many also who question the wisdom or rationale behind this quest of ours at a time when the country is not only ravaged by the loss of her freedom but also run by people who are power drunk, those who are intolerant of any discerning or divergent opinions, persons or movement who have alternate views to their crude and despotic tendencies rooted in nepotism. Everyday we are assaulted by the oppression and brazen attacks on our fundamental human rights, our economic, political, even psychological affairs by the people in government.
I take on this role fully conscious of its obligations even as I do not know the hurdles yet to be crossed. I am also not unaware of the dangers that I may encounter but most importantly I do not take for granted the efforts and sacrifices that the good men, women and youth of the Nigerian Nation who have, and who will join in this humble, noble but expedient journey that we are embarking on will be making. I say again, “we will not lose, we will win or we will learn”.
There are some people who may be confused right now, especially by and after the June 12 ‘Greek Gift’ – where the ‘CARROT AND STICK’ card was used once again by the government to play on our already fragile emotions. Seeing how vulnerable we are at this time as a people the government chose a very much needed but long overdue emotive soothing balm to rub on our festering open wounds of humiliation and lack in an attempt to confuse and divide us. We will not be divided.
While we do not discountenance the gesture to recognize the validity June 12, 1993 elections, our ultimate appreciation should rather go to all the men, women and children of courage and honor, dead or alive who struggled to ensure the coming to fruition of this historic and symbolic event in our political story. Special recognition and honor, of course go to Chief MKO Abiola. We equally celebrate the heroes and heroines of democracy exemplified by that epochal event in our political history; we also must respect the invaluable contributions made by people like Atiku Abubakar, who in a rare show of sportsmanship, who proved himself as an exemplary consensus builder by stepping down for Chief M.K.O. Abiola at the historic National Convention of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Jos, Plateau State which enabled Chief Abiola to pick the ticket and the subsequent rare support that Atiku offered in the general elections.
Let me say this without being immodest, our reality stares us in the face and I have very good reasons to be afraid, it is gloomy, discouraging and sad. Our reality is mirrored in Leah Shuaibu who is still in Boko Haram captivity and probably forgotten. Our reality is represented in those who are being forcefully persecuted, arrested without charges and incarcerated even against valid Court orders which grant them their freedoms. Our reality is that thousands have been needlessly killed and displaced by herdsmen leaving behind them families and friends who will hurt in misery for the rest of their lives as a consequence.
There is a deliberate and organised and orchestrated descent to Benevolent dictatorship, but the ultimate reality is that this will not bring back to life those who have been killed cutting across various faiths which is a direct reflection of the senseless abdication of government responsibilities toward security; the industrious farmers of Benue and other environs who were brutally murdered by criminals masquerading as herdsmen; the mass murder in Plateau, the avoidable and daily despair of Nigerians living in Borno, Maiduguri, Kano, Yola and in all parts of the country.
This cannot assuage our pains and bewilderment as a people of a nation compared to the tacit support these murderers enjoy. Our reality today is that the Naira to the dollar is at a whopping #360 and unaffordable. My fears are rooted in the fear that our economy will remain this despondent because foreign and local investors have lost confidence in this government. Our reality today is that the prices of basic and indeed all commodities in the markets are at an all time high and unaffordable to many people leading to a high rise in suicide statistics.
Healthcare and facilities are in such despair state that even our president and his son had to be flown outside the country for treatment. If they could afford this, what about millions of Nigerians who can’t?
Tokenism or the ‘donation’ of public goodwill like a charity does not in itself erase the fearful reality that our democratic ethos are in reverse gear and there is a deliberate, conscious attempt to cow many of our citizens. We are ruled by gross incompetence established on the foundation of blame-games in place of fundamentals. Fear permeates the whole nation now and many have lost the courage to speak out or act against the crude tyranny of the present government. Every Nigerian has been further pauperized in the last three years. This is our indisputable reality!
The greatest reality that Time and God now present us with is the opportunity to change these narratives for the better. We are being presented with a chance to change the sad narratives and alter the terrible fate that awaits us all if we ever make the mistake to allow the return of this government to power in 2019. All of us, not some, will suffer greatly if we allow this chance to fritter away for any reason.
THE ATIKU CHALLENGE
Fellow Nigerians, It is in the face of these stark realities, in our quest and search for a Leader in the true sense of the word that Atiku Abubakar is the most appropriate. Nigerians have experimented far too wide. There will always be a time in the life of every nation where it needs a strong leader who is ultimately prepared and ready for the job. Enough of trials and errors; there should be a stop to leadership by apprenticeship; the life of a nation is far too important and complex to be turned into political and administrative laboratories. I find in Atiku a man of courage with a deep understanding of our national challenges and issues.
He has demonstrated good leadership in his professional calling, efficient handling of his business enterprises and is indisputably known to always run an “issues-based only” campaign. Atiku Abubakar is a nation builder and unifier with a deep conviction that the primary objective of his intervention at this point in our national life is to serve as anchor, an aggregator and platform provider for the teeming youth of this country who have demonstrated passion, innovation and creativity in different spheres to bring same to the political space and leapfrog our national development. When this is achieved, his task will have been done. This philosophy of providing enablement and space for the next generation will be manifest when the structure of our campaign Organisation is unveiled soon.
Atiku Abubakar deserves all the support we all can give so that we can collectively make Nigeria work again. He is a great Talent Hunter and I enjoin all the youth to collaborate with us in this patriotic project by taking informed decisions in the way they are governed! Nigeria has been kind to me and my generation; I had a good education and a conducive environment to practice my professional calling as an engineer which fostered a successful entrepreneurial voyage. I have also had the privilege to lead my state as a two term governor. For all these and many more reasons, I am extremely indebted to the country and indeed obliged to work with like minds to create a platform and a bridge for the next generation to discover and nurture their talents to the fullest and take charge of the Nigerian enterprise.
It is my fervent hope that all Nigerians will cast away the sense of despair, helplessness and fear that currently envelope our nation, summon all the courage and energy needed to come together and support a genuine effort that offers a renewed hope and better deal for our nation.
Let’s define the future together!!!
Support Atiku Abubakar!!