If Atiku Intends to Enrich Friends, What Does Peter Obi Want to Do?

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The 2019 Elections

No crystal balls exist for determining with certainty that a presidential candidate and his running mate are going to be a united team. Signs of similarity raise optimism, but for those not completely sold on the characters at play, potential red flags scream very loudly.

At a summit this week, PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar raised eyebrows. He really did say his becoming President of Nigeria would put him in a position to enrich his friends, not his family. Even if you excuse it as a comment made from the perspective of creating a better life for all Nigerians of goodwill – who he may loosely refer to as his friends, it is one that should demand genuine verification on how well he is aligned with the man he hopes to be Vice President, Peter Obi.

A reputed spendthrift hands-on manager, Peter Obi would most probably never let those words slip even if woken from a dream. Actually, his tendency to often play a variant of Goodluck Jonathan’s no-shoes card puts some of his party’s supporters off. But if his record as Anambra state Governor feeds his thought process at Aso Rock, he should make many enemies. By popular observation and with scant mention of anti-corruption by the PDP in campaigns, the Villa’s corridors will remain famous as safe spaces for cozily taking bites off the national cake.

The PDP may win on Feburary 16. If so, Obi should be in charge of the Economic team when they take their oaths of office. Will he be allowed to fulfill that oath and be himself if there is, at the moment, he diverges in understanding from what Atiku’s intention to enrich his friends imply?

Atiku was on a discrete wavelength from Olusegun Obasanjo for the seven years their marriage of convenience managed to last. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s views on state policing, restructuring, among other things, are not same as Buhari’s. But could a president and his deputy be operating on separate paths on the management of the economy and work effectively as a team?

Atiku has finally traveled to the United States, after 12 years of being denied visas. His closed door, off-the-record meeting with the US Chamber of Commerce adds a veneer of credulity to his ability to draw in networks that will create jobs and ‘Get Nigeria working Again’. All of Nigeria, or just his friends?

It’s still a long way from President Abubakar and Vice President Obi; Atiku will likely soften and clarify at the coming presidential debate. But knowing their individual thoughts on who gets what, when and how before D-Day should seem standard fare for crowning them.

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