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THE MANY ILLS OF ATIKU BAGUDU

Gov. Atiku Bagudu

…And why Tinubu should be wary of him

By: Hassan Iliyasu

If any doubt had existed about the unpopularity of outgoing Kebbi state Governor Atiku Bagudu, the outcome of the 2023 general elections have successfully erased those doubts. The manner in which he was comprehensively and conclusively defeated when he made a go at the Senate, coupled with the glaring resentment of the people of Kebbi state towards his person, it has become glaring that Atiku Bagudu is Kebbi’s most unpopular politician.

The ills associated with him are legion and will need time to exhaust. I will attempt, as time and space would permit to catalogue these ills in a patriotic attempt to help President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu to see for himself what manner of a politician Atiku Bagudu had been and to expose his unsuitability to hold any political office at the federal level.
In doing this national duty, I will serialize these ills, in this piece and in subsequent ones so that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will have the privilege of knowing the dark and hidden sides of this Chameleon as he prepares take over and constitute his cabinet to help him achieve his lofty objectives of repositioning Nigeria and putting it on the path of sustainable growth. I must stress here, that my objective is not to pull Atiku Bagudu down, because doing so will confer any tangible benefit to me. I do it, to help the incoming president take decisions objectively, soundly, authoritatively and from a point of deep knowledge of every one of those he intends to saddle with duties at that pedestal.

Has anybody asked himself why Atiku Bagudu woefully failed to clinch a common senatorial seat, even as a serving governor who was finishing his second term of a total of eight solid years? Has anybody asked himself why Atiku Bagudu’s immediate senior brother of same parents openly and publicly joined forces with the Governor’s opponent and worked hard by campaigning door to door and village to village in order to ensure that his younger brother did not make it to the senate? Is it possible, under normal circumstances, for a blood brother, in a close society such as the one we have in the far North, to, on account of seeing nothing good in his younger sibling, to behave in such a manner, just to see to it that someone else clinches the seat?

The just concluded general elections were a sort of a referendum of the place of Atiku Bagudu on the trajectory of the politics of Kebbi state. Tinubu’s loss to Atiku Abubakar of the PDP in Kebbi was nothing but a collateral damage. Because the president election and the National Assembly elections took place the same day, Tinubu only became a victim of the unpopularity of Atiku Bagudu. Nothing will have saved the situation. Just check the results of the election in Bagudu’s polling unit, his ward, his local government and his senatorial district and you will be convinced that the pattern of votes against the APC were hinged on a common desire to see Atiku Bagudu out of the mix.

But why would the people be so anti-Atiku to the point that nothing good of him was discernible? How can one serve as Governor for eight years and end up attracting so much hate and so much resentment when the opportunities that came his way should have made the contest for a senate seat a mere walk over?

After eight solid years as governor, Atiku Bagudu does not have one single legacy project to show. Unlike Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has mentored many, Atiku Bagudu ended his eight years in office “mentoring” only three people: His brother, his wife and a renegade Personal Assistant. If allowing select few associates to have a field day amassing wealth and linen their pockets can be called “mentoring” then Atiku Bagudu has indeed mentored those three. I challenge anybody to point at one other person, outside these three who can be said to have been patronized, to the point where they have been empowered to hold fort for him or to fight for him to win contests.

Impeccable sources have hinted that the Tinubu campaign headquarters had sent in campaign lifelines in the form of resources to all APC governors to wriggle themselves out of the tight cash crunch brought about by the Emeifiele reprinting policy. In Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu cornered the entire cash grant, without sending a dime to the then gubernatorial candidate Dr Idris Kaura who was, at that time wallowing in serious cash strains and looking out for halo from just any quarter. As I write now, the Governor elect is still angry at the treatment meted out to him in that regard. The resources were, as usual “managed” by the three notorious “musketeers”.
Now we have established that Atiku Bagudu cannot help Tinubu win hearts and minds as he begins the task of repositioning the country. We have also proved that he cannot help Tinubu win elections in the future. Again, it has become clear that, as a result of the way he mismanaged his politics and become self centered, the man is now a liability to any future political realignment or arrangement.

I wonder why Tinubu would want to saddle himself with a politician that is politically worthless. Atiku Bagudu cannot help any president win future election, because he does not have the base or the constituency to win election for himself even when he was a governor. He cannot help a president bulld a legacy because even as Governor and even when armed with billions, he was unable to build anything worth the name in Kebbi state. If you talk of the Gandujes, the El Rufais, the Zulums and Inuwa Yahayas, Atiku Bagudu will be no where near them. These are men that have built on the successes of their predecessors. The infrastructure outlay they built in their states are verifiable and are cited even by their opponents. In Kebbi, no matter how anyone wants to help Atiku Bagudu, even if you want to manufacture half truths, there is nothing… not a single project worth the name that can be referred to as achievement.

What he lacked in tangible efforts or capacity to develop his state, he made up with a capacity to articulate fine points and convince a listener that he is right man for the job. But give him the job and you will see an utterly incompetent, bigoted, flimsiest, clueless and wasteful clown. He wowed Buhari with some articulation in presentation, good spoken English laced with a false sense of maturity. Buhari was taken in and he saddled him with national assignment in the agriculture and food security sector. We in Kebbi state knew the mess he made of the Anchor Borrowers scheme. The money ended up in the wrong hands and direction. All the noise about food security and rice production are nothing but smokescreen and sheer waste of an ample and golden chance to truly move the nation forward.
The way Atiku Bagudu helped himself to the Abacha loot by placing himself at advantage was the way he cunningly positioned himself in the so-called rice revolution to make the same kill. Being what he is, Buhari watched without any iota of understanding that he had been fleeced and taken advantage of, the same way some members of the so-called cabal took advantage of him and helped themselves to the nation’s commonwealth. We watched as they have become emergency airline operators through proxies, private University owners, five star hotel owners and what not. These are people that were recharge card sellers and paupers only yesterday.

If Tinubu is searching for politicians and technocrats he could rely on to secure legacies and achieve milestones, there are a number of options for him in Kebbi state. Their names were mentioned in another write up not too long ago. One name that has been overlooked is Atiku Bagudu’s predecessor Sa’idu Nasamu Dakingari. He is seen today as one of Kebbi’s most active governors on account of his achievements.
When it became obvious that the governorship election was going to be lost, it was to Dakingari they ran to and made him Director General of the campaign project. They cashed in on his achievements to cover up the seeming failures of Atiku Bagudu in order to appeal to voters. The popularity of Dr Idris too helped to galvanize support and ward off what could have been a terrible electoral defeat across board for the APC in Kebbi state.
Remarkably, none of those mentioned as good replacement for Bagudu had any baggage. None is a fugitive. Bagudu carries a baggage and the time, resources and energy that will be dissipated trying to ward off the international uproar that will greet the appointment of a man many international bodies see as an international crook into any executive position is enough to alert and alarm an incoming “hope reawakening” administration. You can’t build hope on quicksand and expect to have solid structures.

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