Transparency and Integrity


Let Justice Be Done Even If The Heavens Fall — Showunmi


Atiku Abubakar-The Man In The Arena

An Opinion ByOtunba Segun Showunmi


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither knows victory nor defeat. 

These words spoken by Theodore Benjamin Roosevelt aptly describe Atiku Abubakar, I reflected hard and deeply to come to this as I commenced the journey from the Shehu Musa Yaradua experiment that sought to build a pan-Nigeria built on democratic principles. I recall third-party stories that gathered so many young Nigerians on a tough and dangerous journey which cost so much in human lives and resources.

So many have died and so many have fallen by the way tired, given up and cannot muster the energy to keep at a doubtful experiment of such a nature.

In the 1992 era, I concede that had you all not done what you did who knows what the trajectory could have been? Your role is not without its pain and loss of friendship if I cannot think of any, I suppose I can imagine the impact of the relationship between yourself and Bana Gana Kingibe. All said and done we got June 12, MKO Abiola and the immortal history of a hero’s toga that that era signifies till today. 

That is another man in the arena moment for you.

The near loss of life of you and your family, forced exile again in the build-up to 1999 with its attendant issues in America is another man in the arena moment for you, for pray would the domino effect that the hypocrites hold on to with fastidious tenacity have happened but for what necessitated exile.

1999 brought with it a mixed bag for while it brought you to the vice presidency of our country it also exposed you to what could best be described as with the benefit of hindsight a face marred by dust and sweat and blood moment that looking at it strictly is an undisputed man in the arena moment for you, the scares of which may heal but will always be a reminder of damaged reputation caused by the sanctimonious hypocrisy. 

The sojourn into the toxic  period in the journey to creating an alternative pan-Nigerian political party that eventually materialized with the APC, crazy and unstable as they were I consider them a major man in the arena moment for you because again striving to do the deed at great cost especially the nerves and pain of disappointments. 

In the 2019 era, it's quite intricate to discern that the PDP found itself in a precarious situation, as the post-Jonathan period posed substantial challenges. This predicament was exacerbated by the noticeable withdrawal of support by former Presidents Obasanjo and Goodluck, who distanced themselves from the party that had nurtured their political careers. Their actions raised questions about the self-perception and priorities of African leaders.

This I consider to be another man in the arena moment for you. The party survived but because of the non-transparent nature of our democracy perhaps you led the party to victory, you won that election but did not form the government.

The present moment 2023 indeed is a seal on your Theodoren Man in the Arena moment. 

There are times when outcomes are not in any way as important as effort. 

The cynic, the critic, the bullies, the shamers and all such people, including the winner have lost the garland for only a man in the arena, as you have been, who has gone through your journey, can truly understand that you Waziri Atiku Abubakar GCON former vice president of our republic is an enigma, a very brave and courageous man, made of steel nerve. 

After the Supreme Court brings in its verdict you must the do right thing and congratulate the winner for I will not have you appear bitter and less a statesman. 

You must find a way to complete the experiment of the handshake across NIGERIA which was the bridge that the post-military era tried to build. 

I must tell you that the country is dangerously polarized, the tribal faultlines are getting deeper, the national reputation is extremely low and all the developmental indicators are down. 

Your generation must do the house cleaning and pass the baton before corpus mentis sets in. 

Atiku Abubakar The Man In The Arena. 

Now let Justice Be Done Even If The Heavens Fall. 

Nigeria comes first.

Otunba Segun Showunmi 

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