By Paul Adujie
Thursday, 01 February 2007
Ignore Atiku Now! Or, Define Him; Aggressively & More Effectively!
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
The media strategists and spokespersons for Nigeria’s current federal government have two choices to make; It is a choice to either completely, ignore Atiku Abubakar’s ranting and ravings as he craves political relevance from his self-inflicted political orphan status. Or, to aggressively define and explain Atiku Abubakar’s shenanigans, with his richly deserved labels, Atiku the charlatan, Atiku the ruthless opportunist, Atiku that has duped Nigerians in the past, Atiku who seeks to dupe Nigerians again!
Atiku has in recent times been crying wolf whereas there is only a mere pussy-cat! Atiku has been screaming murders, coups, political assassinations, corruption and electoral frauds at every direction! Atiku has engaged in acts that are only simply, clearly, smacks and smudges of desperations in the dire straits in which Atiku has thrown himself.
First, Atiku takes credits for introducing President Olusegun Obasanjo to Nigeria. Atiku claims credits for funding the presidential campaigns in 1999 and 2003. He takes credits for paying off, Citizen Olusegun Obasanjo’s personal debts liabilities.
Atiku takes credits for the hiring of, essentially, all members of President Obasanjo’s economic and public policies reform teams. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has just assured us all, of the falsity of Atiku’s assertions as to the EFCC chairman’s hiring.
Atiku took credits for all that were, and are good in the present federal government of Nigeria. All these, it appears, were only because Atiku saw himself as the heir apparent or political successor to President Obasanjo.
Then, it happened that it has not quite worked out that way, at least, not as scripted in the mind of Atiku Abubakar! Atiku shies away from taking any blames for policy failures of the current federal government in Nigeria
Atiku has unraveled since the unraveling of what he thought was a guaranteed ascension to the presidency.
Atiku has made an about face to inform Nigerians and in fact, the entire world, that the president of Nigeria is a good for nothing thieving thug and criminal, as well as, a product of electoral fraud? Why should Nigerians and the world accept this sudden half-hearted contrition on the part of someone, who at the very minimum is an accomplice, before, during and after the crime! Atiku is a co-conspirator is clearly and invariably guilty of the crime of his principal.
Atiku’s handlers have wrought magic! Pure magic in public sphere! Else, how does anyone explain the fact that Garba Shehu has and continues to gather and garner headlines? Why is it that the Atiku campaigns seem to define and set parameters for public political debates for months and months now? All these have transpired and still occurring, despite the strategic political overwrought advantage of presidential incumbency? Howbeit that Garba Shehu who ought to be grappling with the burdens, liabilities and tasks of attempting to market damaged goods, such as Atiku clearly is, but Shehu is instead setting the tone, tenor and terms of every headlines of Nigerian newspapers on a daily basis? Howbeit? Who would have thought this possible?
I do not care for Atiku’s candidacy, and that is just being civilly charitable. But one has to admire the audacity wrapped in high-grade effrontery of Atiku’s spokesperson Garba Shehu! Shehu is all the lessons anyone needs in effective marketing, of damaged goods!
I wish that General Muhammadu Buhari would poach Garba Shehu from the Atiku camp!
In my lighter moods, I also ruminate on Garba Shehu as a deputy to Minister Frank Nweke Jr. at the Information and Communication Ministry! Ha! Shehu has talents! Shehu is serving the wrong persons and a warped and twisted cause.
Atiku was in America for the better part of December and January. Yet, Atiku was kept favorably, on the front pages of Nigerian newspapers and internet websites! You would not know that this same Atiku was occupying an extraordinarily opulent mansion that he purchased while he was vice president of Nigeria. A singular act of public misconduct that is prohibited by the laws of Nigeria! A Nigerian public office holder is forbidden from engaging in opening foreign bank accounts or the purchase of properties, especially such one, as the Atiku mansion in Maryland USA that is in excess of two million dollars!
Any reasonable person would have thought that it will cross the minds of some Nigerian journalists to enquire why “a sitting vice president” would stay outside our country for most of December and most of January? You would have thought that the average Nigerian journalist would have asked how much is Atiku’s travel allowance (estacode)? An amount that enabled him to stay outside of Nigeria in his palatial mansion in America for so long!
But what did we get? Garba Shehu’s savvy marketing of his boss, damaged-goods Atiku as the underdog! The marketing of Atiku as the unfairly maligned saint and father and mother of democracy rolled into one in Nigeria. The marketing of Atiku as the head of the vanguard for the rule of law and due process, good governance etc and that seem to have stuck! How come? Howbeit that nobody take Atiku to task?
Atiku should have been presented and profiled for the dupe that he clearly is! Atiku is is a racketeer! Atiku is setting himself up to dupe Nigerians again with all sorts of false pretenses to finesse which he in fact lacks! Atiku is not a democrat, he pretends it!
Atiku has been making all types of charges against President Obasanjo! Unsubstantiated charges upon unverifiable charges and no one seem to tackle him or take him to tasks! He has become truly emboldened to pile on more charges as when he met and chatted with some American journalists who are currently in Nigeria. Why does Atiku go unchallenged about these clearly spurious allegations? A statement credited to Atiku Abubabakar that he (Ribadu) confessed that President Obasanjo dictated who to investigate and prosecute and Ribadu has since rebutted those false assertions. Atiku has also portrayed Nigeria as some sorts of lawless gangland replete with political assassinations, murders and an unstable place where elections may not take place in April. Atiku has resorted to scare-tactics to the outside world. This is treasonous, treacherous and traitorous! Atiku has been portraying Nigeria in the worst of lights and Atiku wants to be president of Nigeria? God forbid!
Atiku’s callous campaign of calumny against Nigeria is unacceptable! He has engaged in treacherous and traitorous self-aggrandizements long enough! Atiku has blackmailed Nigerians and Nigeria for his selfish ambitions long enough! Atiku has lied and duped the public for far too long.
I will advocate that one of the best ways to consign Atiku to fast-track political irrelevance is to completely ignore his morose allegations. But Atiku keeps piling allegations, and upon more allegations, which has become his rigueur!
But, from now on, responses must be swift. Future briefings and future tepid response and belated reactions must cease. Atiku must expect and receive rapid, adequate and sufficient, effective responses to his false alarms. Atiku’s assaults and attacks should be and must be repelled with equal or even surpassing ferocities than those of Garba Shehu, the marketer in-chief of the clearly damaged goods, which Atiku has been. Ignore Atiku or maul him in retaliations! Rapid fire response to Atiku must be adopted as a crucial strategy by the federal government to conceptually quarantine Atiku! Conceptually at least!
There are lessons to be learnt from an American example. In July 2004, John Kerry was defined and presented by his opponents, the President Bush’s campaign office. Senator John Kerry was portrayed all through the summer until the American elections in November 2004, as someone who is not strong on national security, someone who would hug and kiss those who would harm America and those definitions stuck!
All these, were contrary to the facts and reality of Senator John Kerry’s antecedents. John Kerry is a war hero, who incidentally took bullets on behalf of America in Vietnam War, while President Bush actually dodged and avoided compulsory military service (the draft) which obtained at the time in America. And President Bush who was effectively a draft-dodger was able to through some fluke and actually the default on John Kerry’s part, Bush was able to define John Kerry as some type of wimp, who is weak on national defense and national security as the Bush camp claimed monopoly and patent for fighting terrorists and other enemies of America. The rest is history. John Kerry lost the elections!
Nigeria’s federal government must define Nigeria and put that definition, front and center. Nigeria’s federal government must proactively portray Atiku for the charlatan that he is or perhaps ignore him completely. No tepid responses, no half-hearted reactive statements. I am not a member of any political party in Nigeria; But, I do like what I know of the PDP presidential candidate Talakawa, Governor Umaru Yar’Adua. He too, should be marketed and his policy proposals or manifestoes marketed to Nigerians most vigorously in the most robust of manners.