Anti-Atiku protests have erupted, Monday, in Lagos, Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, and Kaduna states as protesters demanded that the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, jettison his presidential ambition.
The protesters are former support groups for Atiku’s presidential bid in 2019, who said they are not supporting him this time around.
They urged him to shelf the ambition for the South East region to emerge as Nigeria’s president come 2023.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator and National Secretary of North 4 North Support Group for Atiku, Mohammed Garba and Abubakar Sanni, respectively and read during the protest in Kaduna, pointed that the former VP should have a rethink about his ambition.
The statement reads in part, “We for our part, have promoted the candidature of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for years, but we humbly call on the former vice president to do us a good turn in return for the many good turns we have done for him.
“We have sacrificed a lot pushing for the presidency of Atiku Abubakar all these years, even though we have been abandoned by him after each election cycle, it is time for him to project national interest outside of his need to become president.
“At almost 80 years, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar does not have enough in the tank to put in the high level of physical and mental effort required to fix Nigeria.
“We must give all parts of Nigeria a chance to become president of the country, or we might slide dangerously into the narratives of divisionists enemies of the state who will have a ready recruitment pool from among disgruntled groups.
“Only one region in Nigeria has not been given a chance to take the presidency of Nigeria and it is only fair that 2023 almost a quarter of a century into our current democratic system, the southeast is reminded that they are just as Nigerian as the rest of us.
“Fairness and equity is the major ingredient for the sustainability of any society as history has clearly shown and Nigeria can be no exception to this clear and present rule of nation-building.
“When a society begins to deviate from the principle of fairness and equity, it declines and slides down the rabbit hole of oblivion.
“As a group based in the north, it is the dream of the founding fathers for the country to be united.
“We are, in the spirit of that unity, reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the south and assuring them of our commitment to stand side by side with them to achieve this goal in the interest of Nigeria’s future.”
Also, another group, South West Development Frontiers, SWDF, during the protest in a statement with the subject ‘Atiku Abubakar Should Drop His Presidential Ambition for the Sake of Nigeria’s Unity’ signed by Convener, SWDF, Olufemi Osabinu, and Co-Convener, SWDF, Olufemi Lawson respectively.
The group said, “As the 2023 general elections, which will witness the election of a new President beckons, the need for justice and equity, becomes an inevitable task, for every Nigerian of good conscience.
“As the nation looks forward to the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President Muhammad Buhari and warms up for the 2023 Presidential election, we must be conscious of our place in history, and as patriotic citizens, to demand for equity and fairness, as a step, towards consolidating, on our firm commitment, to the unity of Nigeria.
“To this end, we are as a generation, demanding that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and his promoters, bring a close to the perpetual ambition of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be President of Nigeria.”
Another group, the Middle Belt Network for Atiku, MBNA, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, during their protest, pointed out that it was a matter of common sense that the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has to return to the southern part of Nigeria especially the region of eastern extraction.
The statement which was signed by its National President, Luka Pam, and Secretary-General, Madaki Yakubu, also argued that a survey it conducted indicated that in 2023 and beyond two major conclusions emerged, which are age and power shift to the southeast.
“As supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, we are also conscious of the fact that this position goes against the interest of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to run for office again in 2023.
“We take this position clear in our minds that we are first of all Nigerians and then democrats; knowing that democracy is about the interest of the larger whole over individuals and sub-groups.
“We further call on Atiku Abubakar, who at 77 years of age is no longer the man he was a few years ago, to kill his ambition and support a younger candidate from the southeast region that has never produced a president of Nigeria, in the interest of national unity and cohesion going forward.”