The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, has clarified the controversial statement he made in Kaduna on Saturday.
Naija News had reported earlier that Atiku while speaking in Kaduna State, charged northerners not to vote for a Yoruba or Igbo presidential candidate in 2023. Atiku said Northerners need to vote for him rather than a Yoruba or Igbo candidate because he’s a Pan-Nigerian with a northern extraction that has built bridges across the country. He said: “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.” Angered by the comment, the APC, in a statement on Sunday through its National Publicity Secretary, Barr. Felix Morka, said the former Vice President would rather disunite the country rather than bring about unity, as he has claimed in his many declarations. But in a swift reaction, Atiku Abubakar’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, accused the ruling party of trying to hoodwink Nigerians by telling a big lie. While describing the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, as someone who can’t withstand five minutes of unscripted speech, Atiku’s aide said the former Lagos State Governor embarrassed Governor Nasir el-Rufai at a recent function. The statement reads: “It is regrettable to say the least that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would decide to cause a show of shame by a disingenuous attempt to turn fact on its head about what the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar said during a public engagement at the Arewa House on Saturday. “For the benefit of the innocent public who might be hoodwinked by the usual behavior of APC in telling a big lie, what transpired was a direct question to Atiku to address the Northern audience on why he should be voted for by the Northern electorate. “In answering this question, Atiku started with a joke by addressing the questioner as ‘Mr. Northerner’ which is a veiled criticism of why he limited his question to the Northern audience in the first place. “Continuing, Atiku explained without a slur, unlike the APC candidate, that what matters the most to the Northern electorate is a candidate who has built bridges of unity across other parts of the country and not necessarily a Northern candidate who lacks the credentials of national spread and acceptability. “Those were the unambiguous remarks of the PDP presidential candidate. But because the APC does not possess any tangible ideas to campaign on for their candidate, they resorted to dubious tactics of diverting public attention, first, away from the failures of their party in the past seven years plus and, secondly, to shift attention away from the embarrassing gaffes of their presidential candidate in his public communication which they frequently shy away from. “Of course, a failed political party and a presidential candidate who cannot withstand five minutes of unscripted speech would not have anything tangible to talk about other than to resort to irritating scavenging like they have done in this case. “On the same day when Atiku Abubakar stood agile and cerebral before his hosts at the Arewa House, the APC candidate whose only entitlement for president is because of an ethnic identity claim was also at a public function in Kaduna State and publicly embarrassed his host, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, by saying that he should not contemplate pursuing higher educational qualifications and likening him to ‘a rotten case that has turned into a bad situation.’ “Are we to play to the gallery, We could have rushed to the press to make a bad case for such rotten remarks. We did not because we know that the upcoming election is not about scoring cheap political gains, but about ensuring that Nigerians have a fair deal in the next president that they will be electing.” Ibe said it is repugnant that Tinubu, who is not honourable enough to make full disclosure about his elementary education records, would ask to be elected president of the most populous Black nation in the world. According to him, the very ambition of Tinubu to aspire to become the Nigerian leader is a rude attack on the integrity of every Black country and indeed an act of disgrace to all Nigerians.
This article was originally published on Naija News