“Action expresses priorities.” – Mohandas Gandhi

M’lords, it is apparent in gargantuan proportions, visible in cosmic wavelengths, and obvious in mammoth size proportion, that Mr. Atiku Abubakar has absolutely no regard for the people of this country which he claims he is coming to serve. How can a man who has centres his political campaign around the incumbent expect the votes of Nigerians, whom he has placed on a lower pedestal? Isn’t this simply to show that his priorities are more fixed on fighting an old ally turned enemy, than on making issue based campaigns?

Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t wrong to have mentioned that “Men are Moved by two levers only: fear and self interest”. Unfortunately, I say before this honourable temple of Justice that Mr. Atiku Abubakar is moved by both. Mr. Atiku has shown us through his cowardly act that he is very much afraid of being challenged by new conversations that would’ve been ignited by the teeming trio of much younger Nigerians who were left at the debating Hall. He has also proven that the substance he has tried over the years to prove he has, has only been fuelled by his ego, and the need to constantly prove that he is right. His recent visit to Washington DC shows how much of a petty, ego-driven, self-interest focused man Mr. Atiku truly is.
While counsel from the other side may argue that it was necessary to “attack” the incumbent as to the extent of the success of his administration, I daresay that off campaign grounds and press conferences, Mr. Atiku Abubakar does not have the energy to present his plans in a room full of passionate, younger minds who work with updated facts and figures, and are available to counter him and call his bluff on the spot.
It is not my duty M’lords, to determine who governs Nigeria in the coming years, but to the length and breadth of my duty of prosecuting Mr. Atiku in the court of public opinion, I put it before this honourable temple of Justice and mercy that Mr. Atiku Abubakar is a fearful, self-absorbed, unrepentantly egoistical politician who is more interested in proving petty points than in presenting and defending the blueprints his administration intends to work with. I’ll be resting my case now with this quote from Malcolm X who said “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”

My lords, ever since the lid was taken off the political drum of the country two weeks ago, the political camps in the electioneering race have been agog with campaign—but mostly, the calculated missive and propaganda have been received and dispensed more by the two major contenders, that is, APC & PDP. With the social media mostly being their exchange ground and a jig or shade here and there in the dailies. As characteristic of every country during electioneering periods, the party flag bearers are set to verbal debate in a curated platform mostly anchored by journalists or political analysts and televised nationwide. This year, it was in between the incumbent president, Muhammau Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and a host of other featherweight candidates. Onwards, to the spark that birthed this theme. While Alhaji Atiku was waiting at the debate ground, it was announced that President Buhari have made the expected decision of absenting himself—as he has done in previous years— without prior excuse(s) or even naming a surrogate. This is the major catalyst in Alhaji Atiku’s walkout. My lords, I do not believe that Alhaji Atiku’s walkout from the Presidential debate ground is not justified as several of our country men pose on the Nigerana sphere of the virtual space. For I consider it an utmost act of protest against the cowardice of the incumbent. Let us consider this, Alhaji Atiku is the other major contestant aside the incumbent president and, he has, as a matter of recognition of the uptimum importance of the debate made a quick detour into the country from his trip to the US. We should imagine the disappointment flowing through the body of such a man. Furthermore, the other aspirants, pitched for a contest in their respective state gubernatorial elections are not capable of boasting a near-victory talk less an actual win at the polls. So, why should he waste his time thinking he is in a debate while his actual opponent is in the comfort of the Aso rock.? And besides, sitting in this debate alongside men who are evidently out to game on his intellectual strength will be sheer foolishness for a politician of his stature. The Yoruba will say “moja mosa laa mo akikanju” — a brave warrior is known by his ability to determine the wars to engage in and to retreat from. In submission, My lords, Alhaji Atiku should be absolved from all blames and guilt of walking out of an important event as such debate and we must, therefore, divest the spectrum of our scrutiny and criticism on the right person.

CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom. Visit Buhari’s absence at the Presidential debate enough reason for Atiku to pull out? to place your verdicts. Send reservations, comments and suggestions to 090-929-18298, 081-489-04513 or thecourtroomng@gmail.com