Editorial: Deborah Samuel, Huriwa, Atiku Abubakar and Tinubu Impasse


Nigerians may well be on a wild gold chase; some people—especially the present generation — actually believe the country is obviously on a free ride.  Nothing seems to work except the negative. Since 1999, despite the hue and the cry of the voiceless, the ruling class remains unshaken, unperturbed about the appalling rot they have inflicted on the masses.  They live big while plunging the country into a cauldron of punishment and destruction. People toil, and sweat; they groan and beg for rescue; they are tensed up in the streets, frustrated and hot; a slight provocation is all that is needed to spark off a conflagration.

But the rulers behave like King Kong while paying lip service to everything but their welfare. Now they have added a joke that, “Oh, let the poor breath!” What a cruel turn of fate as many now discover that indeed there was never a savior anywhere! The consequence is apparent: no good road anywhere, despite billions poured in; no one has been bold enough to denounce this scale of depravity—especially the so-called” leaders”. Nigerians groan in pain; their faces grim and their hands clutched in despair; they spend hours on the road, soaking in the pressure of bad governance; nobody is punished, nor anyone resigning for any offense; it is assumed or taken for granted that all you need to do in Nigeria is –just get into any position and you are there!

Because of this free-for-all all state, people find their ways at all costs to positions of power and recycle themselves there; violence is now a daily occurrence; this phenomenon has since taken a new dimension adding new lexicons of crime in our annals such as kidnapping, banditry and now terrorism. It can be said that the only thriving business in Nigeria as of the moment is politics; it is an expressway to wealth; there, you bubble, wobble, and wangle your way to wealth; it is like a roulette game where you deploy tricks, bare-faced lies to survive. Not since the time of Buhari has this country become a living hell. No one uttered a word. Even Abuja, the seat of government was crippled and paralyzed. His condemnable eight years in power was as despicable not to mention the sheer scale of destruction. Now Abuja, a city planned for the future, is in chaos with motorists experiencing nightmares. What happened? While the population increased the government failed to add a single new road to the existing ones, because of a lack of vision. With more vehicles on the roads struggling for possession of the dilapidated ones, it is natural for everything to collapse!

It is under this state that Bola Tinubu emerged as president—because he was articulated. Atiku Abubakar who ought to cooperate with southern leaders to remove the ruling APC government wanted the crown for himself—at a time power was generally agreed to shift down south. He did not see any reason for that because of his obdurate ambition. Had he joined ranks with the Labour party there would have been no need for this certificate struggle.  Tinubu calculated very well and today is the president. The vehemence with which Atiku is pursuing this case is rather surprising; he never spoke out in support of any cause not related to his ambition. But Tinubu has always been, even though deftly. One clear instance is the case of Deborah Samuel Yakubu who was killed on May 12, 2022, in Sokoto. She was a second-year college student accused of blasphemy against Islam. The poor girl was razed to the ground by the angry mob who gave her no chance to defend herself. Thanks to modern technology in communications which made it possible for the world to witness the gruesome act.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar spoke against the heinous act through his tweeter handle but immediately pulled it down when he sensed danger. A decisive leader is supposed to act better. Atiku withdrew the comment calling for the arrest of those involved because it threatened his ambition to become president. His media team would later defend his action as the “right thing” to do. But a broad section of Nigerians interpreted his action as cowardly and disappointing. He lost his voice afterward, never to utter it again on any subject; some say, he left the country, soon after for somewhere else, possibly his much-touted “second home” in Dubai. If today the same Atiku Abubakar is everywhere hounding President Tinubu, it will be natural to assume or narrow it down to “personal interest”. In privileged circles, it is believed that Atiku only comes alive strictly, when the matter has to do with his much-vaunted ambition which is not bad, except that the Deborah Samuel saga confirmed those suspicions.

Roll back to 2003 when Atiku had the best chance of his career to position himself as successor to his boss. But mysteriously, he bungled it. That selfish lust for power has always been the barrier to what should have been an easy meat for him. Look closer and you may see a strong similarity between Obasanjo and Tinubu; Atiku fought Obasanjo with all his might as is currently the case with Tinubu. And many are asking how come he kept quiet all through his kinsman’s reign after those torrid eight years in power! Sectionalism? Not really; what then may have propelled Atiku to tolerate Buhari but now find it easier to harass Tinubu? An irony? Or paradox? The answer is too close to call. Move over to HURIWA known as the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria; their recent statement calling for President Tinubu’s resignation is ill-conceived.

This is the same HURIWA that lost their voice in the dark days of President Buhari but now found it with someone they reason could be pushed around.  If HURIWA has pursued the Deborah Samuel case with the same vigor and interest, perhaps justice may have come the poor girl’s way. There is nothing to benefit from the Deborah case, perhaps. In the same vein, when former president Jonathan was in power, HURIWA was strident stalking Jonathan and distributing press releases on almost every move he made. This was considered largely hypocritical. There are extremely important issues strong enough to attract HURIWA’s dexterity. The case of millions of “out-of-school: children is begging for attention. The menace of gender violence against women is also there; they could also help in curbing the movement of cows within the Abuja metropolis; there is so much to do than seeking cheap popularity by attacking the presidency.

Atiku and HURIWA share a common interest; they are populist in nature, perpetually seeking attention and dodging the truth and reality. They serve no other interest than what the Edo state governor has called “stomach infrastructure”. It is unfortunate the trajectory this certificate scandal has taken; but the belief is, like it was in 1999, the environment we find ourselves enabled this. If a mediocre could be elevated from level 14 to become chairman of a blue-chip government agency what is wrong with overplaying Tinubu’s certificate forgery? This is an environment where the sons, nephews, cousins, daughters, and brothers of “big men” get “smuggled” into juicy government positions; this is a country where a section of the country populates all the Grade A government agencies to the chagrin of those from other parts.

They should go and find out which position Atiku’s son is holding in Adamawa’s government. If there was probity and accountability in our environment, Atiku Abubakar should have been explaining how he became stupendously wealthy; or did not say behind every great wealth there is a crime? Let someone tell Atiku and HURIWA that their name-calling and finger-pointing is becoming as embarrassing as it is uncalled for. May the soul of Deborah Samuel rest in peace.