The All Progressives Congress has slammed the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for instigating northern electorates to shun Igbo and Yoruba candidates.
Atiku, a Fulani from Adamawa State, during an interactive session with the Arewa Joint Committee in Kaduna on Saturday told the north to vote for him because he’s from the north.
“what the average Northerner needs is somebody who’s from the North and also understands that part of the country and has been able to build bridges across the country.
“This is what the Northerner needs. It doesn’t need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate. I stand before you as a pan-Nigerian of northern origin,’’ the ex-vice-president said in a viral video.
Berating him, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, in a statement on Sunday described Atiku’s utterance as an attack on the country’s long-preserved national unity.
He attributed the statement to the PDP candidate’s desperation to rule the country.
Scolding Atiku who is running for the President for the sixth time, the APC stated, “It is beyond the pale for a senior citizen and a former Vice-President of the Federal Republic to so brazenly instigate strife and disunity in our country in pursuit of his befuddled political self-interest.
“But it is not surprising coming from a desperate and serial failed candidate for the office of President. If, as Atiku believes the average Northerner needs a Northern President now, after a Northern President, when will they ever not need a Northern President?
“What does Atiku think the average Southerner needs? Why is it about what the average Northerner needs, or even what the average Southerner may need? Why is it not about what Nigeria and Nigerians need? Nigerians need bold and visionary leadership anchored on a firm commitment to transcendental national unity, over and above ethnic or sectional obsessions.
“Atiku’s words ring loud of extreme and mindless desperation and such an extremely desperate man cannot and must not be entrusted with the most important job of President – a job whose core duty is that of leading, uniting and working in the best interest of all in an ethnoreligious, pluralistic society as Nigeria. Our country does not need this kind of highly inflammable rhetoric now or ever.’’
The party further expressed surprise that Atiku who claimed to be on a mission to unify the country could engage in acts that undermined national unity.
‘’The cat has finally been let out of the bag of him that pays lip service to unity while working hard to undermine our national unity. Our Northern citizens and patriots know far better than what Atiku thinks, and will not walk down that slippery slope with him,’’ Morka noted.
Touting the credential of its presidential candidate, Tinubu, and contrasting it with Atiku’s statement, the ruling party noted, ‘’As governor of Lagos State, his executive cabinet was a rare and admirable reflection of ethnic and religious diversity.
‘’We are confident he will enthrone equity, fairness, inclusion, and unity as operating national policy when elected as President in next year’s general election, as we urge Nigerians to do. ’’
Berating the PDP candidate, the APC Presidential Campaign Council stated that his incitement of Northerners to snub Yoruba and Igbo candidates has exposed his true intention to Nigerians.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director, Media and Publicity of the Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga.
Onanuga described Atiku’s speech as ‘’the worst expression of ethnocentric opportunism ever uttered by a former Nigerian Vice-President.’’
He said the PDP flag bearer’s speech clearly demonstrated ‘’how low a man honoured with the second highest office of the Nigerian Constitution is willing to sink in search of a perennial wild goose chase after the highest office in the land.’’
The statement added, “It confirms the argument that Atiku has feasted on such base, cheap, primordial sentiments to use the masses and the elite of the North as the ladder to ascend to power since 1989 without any dividends to show.
“In clear terms, Atiku who stole the PDP ticket with a similar mindset has cast himself as a northern candidate, who the people from his region should solely support.
“We view Atiku’s public declaration which framed him as an ethnic and regional champion as unbecoming for a man who was once a former Vice-President of Nigeria. But we are not surprised by his desperate position. Atiku has resorted to whipping up ethnic sentiments, knowing that his chances of being elected have become a mirage.
“He has himself, not anybody else, to blame for his expected electoral misfortune. First, he broke the fundamental rules of power rotation in his party and the country.’’
Onanuga further dismissed Atiku’s claims as a detribalized Nigeria as pure hogwash, adding, ‘’the Nigerian public now knows better that a man who has been campaigning as a so-called unifier of our disparate groups, is a tribal jingoist, who has now totally eviscerated all pretensions to being a detribalized Nigerian.
“Atiku only pays lip service to national unity, despite that it features as one of the five cardinal points of his so-called ‘Covenant with Nigerians.’ The facade is over, he is now fully naked before the Nigerian people.”