As the campaigns for 2024 get to the brass tacks, and the PDP folks are getting really prickly over any distractions over Atiku Abubakar , former Vice President and PDP’s umpteenth presidential candidate, you can’t both think of the tortoise in the Yoruba folktale and his criminal-minded in-law.
It was a market day, and folks bound for their daily business saw the rather strange sight of the tortoise bearing down on his in-law, in a merciless thrashing.
What might be the matter, they asked. A furious tortoise growled that his in-law had stolen from him. Beat him hard, they said as they departed. But coming back in the evening, they saw the tortoise still thrashing his quarry. Haba! They protested. You want to kill him? What really did he steal to deserve such all-day pummelling?
That appears the new PDP response to Obasanjo’s eternal charge that Atiku was undeserving of high office. The latest to show his irritation, among the PDP rank, was Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa State.
The near-bland Lamido but near all-season darling of Obasanjo thundered: “Obasanjo is a senior man, somebody who is elderly. He has the right to talk down on his own children but that should be an in-house accusation. He can say Atiku, you are this or that but when he says it publicly to the country he led, it is wrong,” he told Vanguard.
Then, he chipped in biting history: when Baba Iyabo was languishing in the Abacha gulag, Atiku and co were forming the PDP, the vehicle that propelled Obasanjo to the presidency!The moral, just as it was with the tortoise and in-law: don’t dwell too much on stuff. Have your say and move on! That that curt message came from Alhaji Lamido, who shares mutual respect and admiration with Obasanjo, is instructive. In Hardball’s umpteenth view, it’s the right call.
But the message here is not only for the former president. It should decide the tone, now that campaigns are beginning full blast.
The 2023 electioneering should not be wasted on settling personal scores or ancestral feuds, or running rivals down. Rather, it should be devoted to asking hard questions of candidates at all levels.
Each time the country arrives at this juncture, those who have little or nothing to offer often seize the loud megaphone and pump useless toxins into the air — toxins that distract from rational choices; but rather focus on inanities.
It really would be a relief if such useless noise ceases this time round. Let everyone engage in issues-based campaigns, such that whoever wins would have committed himself or herself to some concrete policies and programmes, from which voters can extract fair and legitimate results.
That is the way to go, if elections were not to be some sterile cycles in winning or losing elections, by all means necessary.
The Nation Online