Atiku’s Support Of Restructuring: Touching The Third Rail Of Northern Politics

By Ikenga Chronicles October 9, 2018

Atiku’s Support Of Restructuring: Touching The Third Rail Of Northern Politics

–Dr. Vitus Ozoke

From what I hear, a major reason Ndi Igbo are rooting for Atiku is that he has openly expressed his support for this nebulous and inchoate idea of restructure. That’s great! I’m all for restructuring Nigeria. Just wish someone could come up with a good articulation of what a restructured Nigeria would look like.

So, yes, Atiku has openly expressed support for restructuring. God bless his good heart! But, like the Igbo say, onye a na-agbara ama o na-aghuri, onye eboro ebubo okwetago? (He to whom crime tip has been revealed is jubilant as if the accused has admitted guilt). Atiku supports restructuring, and the Igbo jubilantly pledge their vote to him as though Atiku’s Hausa/Fulani brothers, whose votes are critical, equally support restructuring.

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Have my Igbo brothers even considered that Atiku’s open endorsement of restructure could cost him Hausa/Fulani votes? When northern elders get down to political brass tacks, deciding what is in the best interest of the north, and which of the leading party candidates represent that best northern interest, the candidate that openly supports restructuring may be viewed as anti-north.

Does anybody suffer the illusion that the North supports restructuring? Who does not know that in a restructured Nigeria, the north will lose the advantage they currently hold? Who doubts that every northern Joe is aware of this present status quo advantage?

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So, as sad as it is, Atiku’s purported open support for the restructuring campaign may be the single most consequential reason he is going to lose the coming election. When the story is told in Friday mosques across the north, that Atiku is about to take away the advantage that the north has held over the rest of the country, there will be a poll run. It’s going to be sad, but I just thought the Atikulateds should begin to think of how to articulate their way out of that one.

Look, my friends, politics is an interest-based game. Every politics is local. And there is a herd mentality among our northern brethren. I’m sure the Buhari camp is already planning to quietly and surreptitiously go negative on that count. They will cast Atiku as a traitor who is colluding with non-northerners to take the northern mouth off the national breast, thereby starving the north to death.

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I’m also sure that at some point Atiku campaign organization will realize what a costly political mistake it is for a northern candidate to openly endorse restructuring. It is the third rail of northern politics. It is viewed through the lens of northern survival. It is as seriously salient as it is existential a topic for the north. When Atiku walks back his endorsement of restructuring, which he must do if he plans on winning northern votes, I hope my Igbo brothers understand.

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