Atiku Calls Obasanjo

By Ikenga Chronicles February 28, 2019

Atiku Calls Obasanjo

—Gbenga Omotoso,   

BOOKMAKERS were confused. Some said it was going to be down to the wire. Others saw a rout. Atiku Abubakar, they vowed, was set to retire Muhammadu Buhari and send him back to Daura to tend his cows. Buhari, others claimed, will carry the day.

And the long wait – the election took place on Saturday and the winner was announced at 4.39 a.m. Wednesday when many Nigerians were still snoring in bed – had everyone in a flap.

Will an Elder Godsday Orubebe – where in the world is he? – show up at the collation centre, screaming and huffing and kicking and cursing and swearing and daring Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to continue the collation and announcement of the results? Can Yakubu play Jega, Prof Attahiru Jega, his predecessor at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who remained unfazed as Orubebe went gaga? Will a judge issue an injunction stopping the show? The rumour was all over the place that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was shopping for a judge who will grant an “ex parte order” that the exercise should be stopped. Will somebody listen to the PDP’s shrill cry that the collation be cancelled? When exactly will the winner collect his prize? The anxiety was so much you could feel it. Many were wondering what the PDP had up its sleeves as it summoned its war council, the national caucus, to pooh-pooh the election.

And the denouement. Yakubu announced Buhari as winner. He won with 15,191,847 votes. Atiku scored 11,262,978.

There were many rumours. Some said Atiku was meeting with some foreign envoys to complain that he had been robbed. They should intervene to save democracy, he was said to have told them. As usual with such speculations, nobody could confirm it as no documentation of such meetings existed. Others said Atiku was under pressure to call Buhari and congratulate him. Yet, others –again without any proof whatsoever – swore that Atiku called former President Olusegun Obasanjo, one of his major backers, to seek advice on his next line of action.

Could that be true? Is it not logical for Atiku to call Obasanjo, who put his integrity on the line for him in so controversial a manner? What did they discuss? “Editorial Notebook” asked an Atiku aide to clear the air on the rumour. He declined comments. Luckily, this reporter ran into a former school mate who claims to be close to the uncle of a friend of his whose maternal cousin works in the sprawling hilltop facility of the former president in the heart of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. He swore that Atiku actually called Obasanjo, but he confessed that he was not privy to the details of their discussion, even as he pleaded not to be named because of what he called the “sensitivity” of the matter.

Here, nevertheless, is a conjectural account of the discussion between Obasanjo and Atiku since nobody would confirm or deny that they talked, let alone divulge the details:

Atiku lies on a couch in the living room, surrounded by some friends and aides who are harrumphing about the election and its result. He suddenly rises and asks for his mobile phone. He goes into a room and calls Obasanjo.

“Good morning, Your Excellency. This is Atiku Abubakar. I hope I didn’t wake you up sir.”

Obasanjo: Waziri, is that you? Good morning. And how are you?

Atiku:  I am fine sir. And you, baba?

Obasanjo: Thank you. I dey kampe.

Atiku: Your Excellency, I am a bit worried. I am sure you must have heard the result of the election. Is this a true reflection of the wishes of the majority of Nigerians? What is going on? I am worried, walahi, that democracy is being emasculated.

“Huuuu! Huuuum! (Obasanjo clears his throat).You see, Abubakar, why are you worried? Is this the first time you have lost an election? Why allow your soul to be troubled?”

“Baba, people have been mounting pressure on me to surrender. These are people, who should be fighting this big injustice against us; this obvious rigging and theft of my mandate, a mandate freely given to me by Nigerians. I will go to court, I swear. I am a fighter and I will fight this injustice.

“One even said I should call Buhari and congratulate him. And I said, ‘for what?’ Where is that done? You contest an election, you are rigged out and you won’t go to court to fight it out and you will, instead, be calling the so-called winner. I am not a fool; I won’t.”

“You see, Waziri, if I were you, I will simply call my opponent and say, ‘okay, as things stand now, you won, abi? It was all a game and in the true spirit of  true sportsmanship, I congratulate you’, Chikena! I will move on. But you politicians are hard of hearing.”

“Sir, you say ‘we politicians’; are you no longer one of us? Are you not our leader?”

“Me? I am not a politician o. With due respect, I am not. I am a statesman. I said so a long time ago. That is why I have stayed out of it. Nigeria is my politics. Anybody, I repeat, anybody who wants to destroy Nigeria, I don’t care; I am ready to go konko bilo with that person, no matter his position.

“If they say Buhari has won, so be it. But if you have the courage to fight, as you have claimed, rally the media, get your supporters to organise mass protests in major cities and call on the world to rise and save democracy in Nigeria.”

“Baba, what will our people say, our supporters across the length and breadth of this country? The masses of our people who we promised jobs, education, security; those who expect us to get Nigeria working again; what do we tell them? I refuse to surrender.”

“Waziri, if anybody says you have not done well, dat na dem toro. You don’t owe anybody any apology. Let them also try and see how easy it is.”

“Sir, what is the feeling of our foreign friends? I was surprised to see that some of them saw nothing wrong in the process – the violence, the disenfranchisement of many people who wanted to vote for us – and I said kai! And I… .”

“Okay. Hold on. Hold it, please. You see, Oyinbo people won’t say what they didn’t see o. I didn’t expect it to go this way. I must confess. We can’t condemn this election on the basis of violence; it was largely peaceful. Is that clear?”

“But, baba, if you tell them it is not peaceful; won’t they believe you?”

“Please, my dear Waziri. Again, with due respect, I can’t lie. I have never lied. I don’t know how to lie and it is too late at my age to learn how to lie. God has given me all that I have asked for. So, why should I lie? But if you want me to join this fight, I will. I can talk to our foreign friends and my fellow statesmen, the Generals that they should not allow democracy to suffer.”

“Some of our people are even saying you destroyed my chances with all you wrote about me in your book. I have told them not to embarrass you and… .”

“Please, hold it! Don’t annoy me o. Me? Embarrass me? Point of correction. And get me straight and clear; nobody can embarrass Obasanjo. Not me. Never. If I wrote about you nko? Were they deaf when I told the whole world that you had repented? I said, ‘yes, Atiku was bad; he has confessed and repented and I have forgiven him. He promised not to do it again. Not so? If they are now saying all that nonsense and jagbajantics, that I contributed to your loss, that’s their problem, not my headache.”

“No problem sir. I hear they are so afraid we could cause problems for them. They have asked the security people to start watching us.”

“Security? Trouble ko treble ni? Let them keep watching. Security my foot. I dey my house, let them come and carry me.”

“Even Secondus is asking me to call you and say my mind – that I must defend democracy and … .”

“W-a-z-i-r-i. Thank you. Secondus; who is so called? I dey laugh o! (He chuckles). You see, when you make Secondus your chairman, do you need to search for why you’re second? If you carry second, na Obasanjo do am? A beg I need to go back to bed. I have a squash game to play in a few hours. I wish you all the best.”

“Bye-bye sir.”

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