A former spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2019 elections, Prince Kassim Afegbua, has advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its presidential ticket to the South instead of considering the former Vice President because of his age.
In a statement entitled, “2023: Atiku and the age of Methusalah politics,” the former Commissioner for Information in Edo State said Atiku should quit his quest for Presidency and support a Southern Nigerian candidate in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice to assuage the feelings of stakeholders from the Southern part of Nigeria.
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He said it would be against the run of play and natural justice for any aspirant of Northern extraction to show interest in the 2023 presidential election within the PDP threshold.
He advised Dr Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) to consider a much younger candidate.
The statement read in part, “With the abysmal performance of President Muhammadu Buhari on account of age, incompetence and lack of capacity and political will to take deliberate and sustained action to bail out the country from all manner of challenges, it will be immoral for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to continue to express interest in seeking election in the 2023 Presidential election having attained the retirement age.
“He cannot assume the role of a perpetual candidate or professional aspirant year in, year out, of the party as though the party was established for him alone.
“It defeats all sense of logic for such an old man to attempt another round of political contestation at a time the general feeling and mood in the country supports a younger Nigerian from the Southern extraction of the country.
“It will offend national sentiments, emotions and logic for anyone from the North to show such interest given our diversities and heterogenous political configurations.
“Given PDP’s doctrine of political power balancing and fairness, it will be against its own unwritten rule to cede the ticket to any Northern aspirant least of all, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“Having concluded the convention of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, with a new leadership that looks promising, the Party will have to rise above board to produce a Presidential candidate from the Southern part of the country to complete the narrative.
Afegbua argued that the former Vice President abandoned the party shortly after the 2019 elections, as some of its leaders were allegedly persecuted by agents of the ruling party.
He added: “After the 2019 Presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar abandoned all of us in Nigeria and sought refuge in faraway Dubai, thus exposing us to the intimidations, harassment and threats posed by the desperate All Progressives Congress, APC’s power oligarchs.
“It was a case of a General abandoning his troops on the battlefield. Rather than draw strength from his presence, his absence exposed us to all manner of challenges. He was in Dubai and left us to our fate.
“When it mattered most for us to reach out to our candidate for motivation and necessary encouragement, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar vanished to thin air.
“Knowing full well that political activities were to take off, he suddenly resurfaced and became a frontliner in his quest to fly the party’s flag once again.
“That, to me, amounts to gross political selfishness and greed, which must not be allowed to flourish in our contemporary engagements.
“Even those who are promoters-in-chief of Alhaji Atiku’s aspiration, know in their heart of hearts that it is a project that is dead on arrival.”
He further maintained that Southern Nigeria boasts of eminently qualified leaders whose candidacy will give the ruling party a run for their money.