RUGA: Buhari Is Horrible, But Atiku is Horrific

By Ikenga Chronicles July 6, 2019

RUGA: Buhari Is Horrible, But Atiku is Horrific

— Dr. Vitus Ozoke

So, for the past several weeks and months, Nigerians waged a war of rhetoric and threats over the federal government’s knuckleheaded move to appropriate state lands in a quasi-irredentist Fulanization of Nigeria. It was a move that was sure to push the country into a civil war as all southern states – governments and citizens alike – threatened bloodbath should the Buhari government proceed with the program. The country had never been that heated up since the 1993 cancellation of MKO Abiola’s presidential mandate. Nigeria was on the cusp of another civil war.

NIGERIA: A Nation Without A History

While all that was going on, while the tension mounted, it was total cricket from Atiku Abubakar and his party, the PDP. It was that loud silence from Atiku and the PDP that prompted me on July 2 to make the following request: “Can someone please send me Atiku Abubakar’s position on RUGA. What about the PDP? I haven’t read any press releases from them”. Many people followed, and demanded to know where Atiku and the PDP stood on Ruga. But even with those demands, Atiku Abubakar remained silent. At a time when the country was facing a major existential threat, Atiku Abubakar, the man who is in court fighting to become president, remained cold silent.

Well, thankfully, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, has finally spoken. Atiku tweeted the following message last night, July 5, 2019, at 10:01 PM:

“My position on Ruga is the same as articulated by the Governors elected under the banner of my party, the PDP. My position has been well iterated by our Governors and the PDP is one. I will not dignify that threat with a response. There is no North or South. There is just Nigeria”.

It is great that Atiku has spoken. It is great that we know how his mind works. Unfortunately, however, Atiku’s mind doesn’t work well. First, remaining silent while the country marched toward the precipice of war is the most irresponsible and worst form of statesmanship. Second, making your first statement after serious pushback from civil society had already forced the federal government to suspend Ruga is the most calculating act of cowardice. It is perfidy personified. Third, trivializing what would have resulted in widespread carnage, had it come to pass, with puerile campaign epithet, is rank insensitivity. The deliberate use of the word “articulated’, with its unique Atiku-centric campaign etymology, was grossly inappropriate.

And when Atiku says his position has been well iterated by the PDP governors, he is being clever by half. First of all, what is Atiku afraid of that keeps him from expressly stating his position? When it comes to RUGA, it’s a simple position for anyone to take. It’s either you support it or you don’t. Why couldn’t Atiku state his position? Why did he have to go through the circumlocutory diversion of the position of the PDP governors? I will tell you. Atiku was just lying through his teeth right there. Truth is that there is no such thing as the position of the PDP governors. RUGA fault line was geo-ethnic, and PDP governors fall on both sides of that line. PDP governors in the northern Hausa/Fulani states are for RUGA, while their counterparts in the south, especially southeast and southsouth, oppose it. So there is no consensus position for the PDP governors, and Atiku knows that. The only way Atiku can be truthful in that claim is if he is both for and against RUGA, something I cannot put past a calculating and pandering politician.

When Atiku says “I will not dignify that threat with a response”, without any more context, what threat is he talking about? So, there is a video broadcast by one Abdul Azeez Suleman, speaking for a coalition of Northern Groups, in which he issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Federal Government of Nigeria to rescind its reversal on RUGA settlement and proceed as originally announced. The threat is that the group will begin an expulsion attack on southerners up north should the federal government not heed the ultimatum. That is the threat. That is the threat Atiku Abubakar lacked the moral courage and decency to expressly and specifically mention and condemn. Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani man himself, would not specifically call out another treasonous Fulani man, choosing instead to dignify him by not dignifying him.

And who chooses 10:01PM of a Friday to tweet their position on a vexed issue of national security? I will tell you. It is that person who feels compelled to take a position, but who wants as few people as possible to know his position. Atiku wants very few people to know his position of no position; his lie about the nonexistent position of the PDP governors; his moral cowardice in failing to specifically and expressly call out Abdul Azeez Suleman. That is the man who chooses late night of a Friday to tweet his position on a matter that could well draw the country into a major conflict.

For coming up with the idea of RUGA, President Buhari should be condemned. He should be condemned for ever contemplating such a horrible idea. And he has been roundly and unsparingly condemned by a vast swath of Nigerians. Thankfully, he has reversed course, and has put RUGA off the table. For keeping silent in the face of that RUGA Fulanization tyranny, the man died in Atiku Abubakar. His late night Friday tweet was as creepy as it was horrific. Nigerians deserve better from a man who wants to be their president. They deserve to know where he stands in great national moments. Let the real Atiku Abubakar please stand.