As Donald Duke Declares By Simon Utsu

As expected, there has been a massive reverberation in the polity and the social media space since images, newsbits and videos of Donald Duke’s official declaration to run for the office of the president of the Federal republic of Nigeria made it into the media a couple of days ago. This has been a long time coming and Donald by so doing, has finally quenched the collective political thirsts of his numerous ultras, who have for about a decade, been frustrated with his apparent dormancy in the Nigerian political space.

This isn’t the first time Donald is declaring to run for Presidency- he did so in 2006, during the latter months of his highly successful tenure as governor of Cross River state. Back then, the declaration was done at a world press conference in Abuja and it was transmitted live on national TV. I remember Donald sounding quite jittery and looking sweaty during that declaration as it seemed the gravity of what he was doing had just hit him and he probably wasn’t yet ready for such a momentous moment.

This time around, there was much more firmness, responsibility and preparedness in his voice as he meandered through a banquet hall filled with dignitaries- mic in hand and rather surprised them with his declaration to run for President- this happened a couple of days back and the audience looked awed- a stark contrast from 12 years ago when he ended up leaving his audience as rattled as he was. That’s what 12 years of retrospection and capacity building had done to the Don- refined and prepared him for this big moment. It was even more pleasurable watching his 11 minute long interview with foremost German media house, DW TV where he took on-the-spot questions and provided very succinct answers about his presidential ambition.

Understandably, his reawakened ambition has drawn criticisms from a number of quarters- whilst some have done their best to hush and discourage him, others have resorted to cheap, personal and calumnic campaigns against the former Governor.

Donald has been there before- in fact, that is exactly how things played out 20 years ago- in 1998 when he was striving to become the governor of Cross River. Very few gave him a chance- the movers and shakers of the polity then in Cross River spoke at/of him condescendingly but in the midst of all that, he was able to knockout heavyweights like Kanu Agabi and David Ashang to grab the PDP’s tickets right from under their noses- the rest like they say, is now history.

So I can only advise naysayers to sit back and watch as events play out in the coming months because like French poet Victor Hugo famously said and I quote, nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

As Donald has finally declared, I see a new dawn and I expect millions of well meaning Nigerians in the voting class to eschew primitive and retrogressive sentiments that have been the bane of our collective growth even as they key into this moment in time.

Utsu, who is a trained engineer and a public analyst wrote in from Lagos.

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