Make no mistake in thinking that Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu are political enemies. They are more friends in pursuit of their lifelong ambitions to become the president than they are in opposition to each other.
Whenever Atiku had issues with securing his ticket in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tinubu always gave him shelter. In 2007, when Mr. Atiku fell out with president Obasanjo and PDP, he moved over to the Action Congress (AC), Mr. Tinubu’s party where he took the presidential ticket. In 2011, when Atiku failed in securing the PDP presidential ticket, he went back to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He went back again to the PDP and in 2014, he defected again to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC). The two men supported the current Buhari administration which both are struggling to take over from.
In a recent interview with the Arise News, Atiku stated that he is still friends with Tinubu though they have political differences especially his objection to Muslim-Muslim ticket which Tinubu had desired to undertake and is currently running on. He said, “My fundamental disagreement with Tinubu since 2007 was due to the Muslim-Muslim ticket issue. And this formed my reason to have parted ways with him politically.”
Regardless of their differences in politics and beliefs, Atiku and Tinubu had been friends for many years. They both belonged to the Peoples Front of Nigeria (PFN). With the PFN, which the group moved to register as a political party, denied by the then military government, both men moved into the Social Democratic Party (SDP). In 1992, while Atiku vied for the presidency, Tinubu vied for the Senate and won. Both men worked for MKO Abiola and in 1999, they belonged to different political parties. Atiku joined PDP and Tinubu joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to pursue their gubernatorial ambition. Both won in their respective states but Atiku was tapped to become the Vice President.
Both men have a long stretched ambition that has spanned over three decades. The die is cast. Who between the two men will get to answer Mr. President?
It is a battle of wits and rivalry between the two friends who have become very careful in attacking each other. They have found a common political opponent in the Labour Party’s Peter Obi who both are launching their diatribes on.
Could Emi-lo-kan – it is my turn, also be directed at Atiku Abubakar?
In the lead up to the APC presidential primary, seeing the machinations that were geared towards blocking the aspiration of Mr.Tinubu, he roared and declared that it was his turn. Could he be warning his friend also? Tinubu had given Atiku political shelter as Atiku continued to change parties like he changed his agbada. Has his time gone by and now Tinubu wants to have it all by himself?
No matter the political fireworks that will emanate from the two men during campaigns, they know their limit to preserve their cordiality.
Since winning the presidential candidacy of the PDP, Atiku has not demonstrated as playing to win. Will he acquiesce to Tinubu as he said that it is his turn.
Both men differ in political choice and pathway to their ambitions but seemingly are guided by similar ideology and pursuit of principles. Both men have corruption tags on their names. Both men literally bought their presidential candidacy and both men have been very careful in antagonising the policies of President Buhari. Both seem to rely on Buhari for his support and seem to believe in the power elite.
When it comes to their political parties, PDP and APC are two parties in one body. Both share members and have bequeathed to Nigeria, poverty, insecurity and national division.
What then could be the result of either man in power who doesn’t seem to care much about the plight of the masses, who by their choice in 2015 has inflicted on the country and its people egregious hardship and leaving the country in tatters?
Between the two rich men, whose wealth have been said to come from many years of political influence peddling and corruption, they may not do much in the revolutionary environment presently felt in the country. Other than achieving their long ambition to check the box of history of becoming Mr. President, Nigerians may return to business as usual with a little shift to privatisation of more government institutions in the mould of NITEL or for continued flow of income into personal and cronies’ purse in the mould of Lagos. Whichever way, they belong to the same coin. And Nigerians will get the same effect and result should any of them get to answer Mr. President.