he All Progressives Congress (APC) 2023 Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) says Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate is only paying lip service to national unity.
Mr. Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity of the council stated on Sunday in Abuja that Abubakar had resorted to ethnic jingo in the face of imminent defeat at the 2023 election.
He stated that Abubakar’s recent statement to the effect that northern Nigerians did not need a Yoruba or Igbo president was the worst expression of ethnocentric opportunism ever uttered by a former vice-president.
“This clearly demonstrates how low a man once honoured with the second highest office is willing to sink in search of a perennial wild goose chase after the highest office in the land.
“It confirms that Abubakar feasted on such base, cheap primordial sentiments to use the masses and northern elites as ladder to ascend to power in 1999 without any dividends to show,’’ Onanuga said,’’ Onanuga stated.
Onanuga quoted Abubakar as having said: “what the average northerner needs is somebody from the north who understands that part of the country and has been able to build bridges across the country.
“This is what the northerner needs; he doesn’t need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate. I stand before you as a Pan-Nigerian of northern origin.’’
Onanuga argued that with the statement, Abubakar had cast himself as a northern candidate that should solely be supported by the people from his region.
He stressed that Abubakar’s public declaration which framed him as an ethnic and regional champion was unbecoming of a man who was once a former vice-president of Nigeria.
He added that the PCC was not surprised at Abubakar’s desperate position, stating that he resorted to whipping up ethnic sentiments, knowing that his chances in 2023 had become a mirage.
“He has himself and not anybody else to blame for his expected electoral misfortune. First, he broke the fundamental rules of power rotation in his party and in the country.
“As if this cardinal sin was not enough, the PDP candidate has remained defiant in the face of pressure by preserving the two topmost posts in his party for people from his region.
“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.
“He has now totally eviscerated all pretensions to being a detribalised Nigerian. He is demonstrably the anti-thesis of a pan-Nigerian politician,’’ Onanuga stressed.
He added that Nigerians of goodwill, who daily sought a united and prosperous nation, should reject Abubakar and his party at the polls in February 2023.
“Abubakar only pays lip service to national unity in spite of the fact that it features as one of the five cardinal points of his so-called covenant with Nigerians.
“The facade has been blown. He is now fully naked before the Nigerian people,’’ the APC’s PCC Director of Media and Publicity stressed.