By Remi Oyeyemi
“Great ambition is the passion of a great character.
– Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor
I have met His Excellency, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar
several times. He had come across as someone who actually believes that it
is either we save Nigeria now or we allow it to wither. Pinpointing that
the choice is obvious, he insisted that delay could be very dangerous.
During our meetings, which touched on several issues about Nigeria,
repeatedly, he kept underscoring this urgent need to repair and revamp
Nigeria’s UNITY. He kept insisting that there is only one way to do this –
bring peace through unfettered justice and sense of belonging to all.
The former Vice President told me that the economy could only be a
necessary corollary to peace ensured by justice. He insisted that a good
economy would serve as a strong pedestal for the rehabilitation,
refurbishment and replenishment of our health and educational services.
“It is time we stop playing games with the destiny of this country. All of
us must recognize that injustice is what is fueling separatist agitations.
This has to be addressed. We can’t sweep it under the carpet any longer.
All of us must embrace RESTRUCTURING,” he volunteered.
He explained further: “There has to be a politically conducive atmosphere
for the country to move forward on other fronts for us to be able to
address the challenges facing our people. It is not possible the other way
round. All nationalities should embrace RESTRUCTURING. It will establish
trust among us all. It will renew our commitment to this country. It will
go a long way to address the fears of various nationalities and make us
stronger as a country. We have to do it.”
“I am very glad to let you know,” he made it clear to me, “that I have
succeeded in convincing the elders in the North of the propriety of
Restructuring. They were totally against it initially. But I am grateful
to Allah that I have been able to bring them around. It has been a
difficult task, but we accomplished it. With the same attitude, open
mindedness and determination, we can cooperatively take Nigeria to the
He informed, “Between the year 2004 when I first bought the idea of
RESTRUCTURING and now, I have reviewed and updated my position paper a
number of times for it to address most of the concerns of all of the
ethnic nationalities in my opinion. It can’t possibly satisfy one hundred
percent of us all, but I am very confident that more than 75% of Nigerians
will buy my idea on this subject.”
I asked him, “You have been in politics for a long time. You have been the
Vice President of this country. Why do you have to be President?”
“It is true, I was the Vice President of this country. But the way our
Constitution works, you could only be as good and as effective as the
President wants you to be. The President’s ideas are what you espoused.
His policies, as inspired by the Party Manifestos, are what you follow and
execute,” he explained.
He then added, “I want to be President to help put Nigeria on the path to
the deserved greatness. I have what it takes to make this country work. I
am the best prepared candidate for the Office of the President. I have not
only learnt, my knowledge has increased. My vistas have improved. My
horizon has extended. My perspective has widened and my vision is much
more consummated. I am much more matured. I am ready.”
He then extrapolated, “I have policies on what to be done. From resolving
our political crisis to bringing our economy to the digital age and making
it competitive. Reforming our Education to revitalizing our health sector.
Kneecapping institutionalized corruption and unleashing the great
potentials of this great country. I am very ready.”
His Excellency told me that he is not in the business of blaming anyone.
“My business as the President of this country is to proffer practical,
result oriented solutions. It is to alleviate the sufferings of our people
through a working economy and ensure peace through justice.”
“There is too much hunger in the country. The pervasive hunger has brought
about seething anger. The injustice in the land has exacerbated the anger.
We are sitting on a time bomb. We have to detonate it. We cannot allow it
to explode. We must rescue this generation from self destruct. We must
give hope to the next generation,” he further explained.
Ruminating, he looked into space and said as if soliloquizing, “I have
what it takes to build a New Nigeria. I have done my homework. I have been
tested. I am prepared. I will work to push and put my ideas on the Party
platform. I look forward to working with other great, brilliant and
talented patriotic Nigerians to actualize my dreams and vision for this
country. I pray and hope that Nigerians would give me the opportunity to
bring to bear my wherewithal on our present to chart the part for our
future. I appeal to them to do so. I really do.”
“I am in the process of putting my campaign organization together after
which I will unfold the details of my agenda for the country,” he
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
– Bill Bradley, US Senator from the State of New Jersey