Columns

November 26, 2022

Why Tinubu and Atiku are collaborating against Obi

By Emmanuel Aziken

When two weeks ago Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar bumped into one another at the Abuja Airport, greeting one another cheerfully, some of their ignorant supporters may have been very aghast.  How come the men we are fighting for are smiling and sharing banters, the very ignorant supporters may have wondered.

But certainly not the knowledgeable supporters who know the secret past deals between two of the most pre-eminent political wheeler-dealers of their generation.

That these two men share bonds within and outside the political arena is not in doubt. Their collaborations against Third Term and in the 2006/7 presidential campaign of Atiku are historical recollections of their plots against President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Your correspondent recollects the presence of officials, and notably media handlers from the Lagos State Government who were embedded in the Atiku traveling party during that 2006/7 election season. The Lagos men and women, however, abruptly disappeared not too long into the campaign and it was only later that we got to learn of a falling out between Tinubu and Atiku over the Muslim-Muslim ticket that the former Lagos State governor desired.

However, it has now emerged that despite their political differences and rivalry that the two men remain business partners. So, whatever it is that Festus Keyamo and Reno Omokiri may say about their respective principals, it is something that no one should take to the bank as defining the thoughts of either Tinubu or Atiku.

However, when it comes to Peter Obi, it is certain that the same camaraderie is totally absent. Indeed, it is now being insinuated that there may be a collaboration between the PDP and APC campaigns to shoot down Peter Obi at all costs.

The insidious attacks against Peter Obi by the Atiku and Tinubu campaigns have been particularly revealing. Both campaigns seem to have taken a particular interest in assaulting the personality of Peter Obi.

Reno Omokri, a former aide of President Goodluck Jonathan who had been thought to be a pastor in California appears to the discomfort of some to have developed a new ministry of fault-finding around Obi.

While Reno Omokri shoots from the PDP corner, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode another man who has been apt to quote scripture to project his political beliefs has also relentlessly attacked Obi on behalf of the Tinubu campaign.

The reason for the relentless assault on Obi was apparent to the discerning and undiscerning earlier this week.

An opinion poll conducted by an independent body that appeared to be the most comprehensive poll of the intentions of voters put Obi ahead of Tinubu and Atiku among the rural population.

The poll conducted by Nexiter, a policy advisory body, is sobering for the APC and PDP candidates as it not only puts Obi at the lead, it also rubbishes what had been the soothing comfort of many of their supporters that Obi was only popular among urban voters.

Some may also ask, if the rural voters are immune to the pains of economic deprivation and security challenges that have befuddled most of the nation.

Besides the erosion of the PDP base in the Southeast and the South-South, Omokri and others in the Atiku camp according to the Nexiter poll would be seriously displeased to find out that Obi has also encroached into the North. Though the poll found Atiku as the preference for the majority of voters in the Northeast and Northwest, Obi on the other hand dominates in the North Central.

The Tinubu campaign would also not be pleased to discover that the Southwest base of their man is also being penetrated by Obi who is pulling a strong second in the region.

The pains of the Tinubu campaign are not assuaged by the fact that the poll showed that Atiku remains the favourite of Nigerian Muslims in the North. The inclination of the Northern Muslims for one of their own is despite the adoption of the Muslim-Muslim ticket by Tinubu.

Tinubu may well see that the choice of the Muslim-Muslim ticket as a costly error given that it may not have won him any serious advantage as Northern Muslims incline themselves towards their own, Atiku. Even more perniciously, Christians would have been peeved by his readiness to adopt the Muslim-Muslim ticket for political expediency.

The dislocation of the political permutations of the established political actors in the PDP and APC by the Obidient Movement is no doubt a serious blow that may have led the two forces into the personal attacks that we now see directed against Obi.

For your correspondent and many others who had followed the pastoral ministry of Omokri, seeing him huff and puff these days about Peter Obi is rather disconcerting. It is even worse seeing the equally vociferous Obidients reply Reno Omokri with past posts of his endorsement of Peter Obi.

Sacrificing spiritual and moral ethos is the painful price some people pay for their temporal political goals.