By Jude Atupulazi
Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, is a woman that can’t be ignored. Outspoken and daring, she stands out in a crowd with her unique low cut and masculine looks. She also talks like a man. Those who have come across her are under no illusions that she’s intelligent and fearless.
Her fearless streak often sees her confronting the authorities. This confrontational streak was first seen when she championed and popularized the campaign for the release of the kidnapped girls from Chibok in the dying moments of the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
This streak would again come to the fore when in the present administration, she staged a one man (or is it one woman) protest to Aso Rock to protest against the Plateau killings. She defied the heavy security apparatus in and around Aso Rock to register her condemnation of the killings. Of course she was not allowed to enter the villa but her message had been understood, while Nigerians once again saw the tigress in her.
When the gong beat for the race to Aso Rock, Oby got the ticket of one of the parties to fly its presidential flag. I was bemused at her decision, being that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an Oby to make it to Aso Rock as president of Nigeria.
Personally, I saw her seriousness then, or seeming seriousness, as a kind of joke. She may be sound, daring and qualified for the seat all right, but in the reality of the Nigerian political game, there is no way she can realize such an ambition for now, especially when the main objective of most Nigerians is to see Buhari go.
The question then arose: does Oby have the capacity to do that? To many, the answer was a resounding no. But she had stuck to her guns.
On the day that was scheduled as the presidential debate, one of the leading contenders, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, came to the venue but on learning that Buhari was not coming, decided to go back, arguing that there was no need wasting his time if the man at the centre of it all, Buhari, did not come.
Atiku was slated by some people for apparently looking down on the other candidates that came. Those people argued that he should have stayed to debate. Some however counter argued that those candidates had no substance as they were really not seriously contesting and as such, Atiku was right on insisting that Buhari must be there before he, Atiku, would participate.
But just last Thursday, Oby declared that she was withdrawing from the presidential race and would instead form a coalition to whittle down the strength of both APC and PDP. I dare say here that even the coalition cannot stop the parties she seeks to stop. Minus the PDP, all other parties in the country today are merely making up the numbers as far as playing on the national turf is concerned.
Well, she may have her reasons but she just proved that her aspiration wasn’t all that serious. A serious candidate cannot quit even before the first shot is fired. So is this the sort of candidate Atiku would have wasted time debating with? When will the day come when only candidates with a chance of winning will start participating in elections? I’m just wondering.