The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Sunday took a swipe at the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, for promoting what the ruling party described as disunity and division in the country.
The Director, New Media of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and former minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said Atiku’s words were unacceptable, insulting, irresponsible and despicable.
This was in reaction to a controversial remark made by Atiku during the Arewa town hall policy dialogue in Kaduna on Saturday.
“What the average northerner needs is somebody who is from the North; he doesn’t need a Yoruba candidate or an Ibo candidate,” Atiku said in a viral video of the event.
But reacting in a statement yesterday, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode said, “This is especially so, given the fact that by next year we would have had eight years of Northern/Fulani rule and now this man (Atiku) says we must have another eight years of it because that is what is ‘best for the North.’
“We will not allow Atiku to do to us what he did to Wike. We will not be cheated or denied. It is time for power to shift to the South and an overwhelming number of the people in the North and certainly all the northerners in the APC believe that.
“They recognise the fact that if we want our nation to continue to enjoy peace and remain united into the distant future. We must be fair in our dealings with one another.
“Atiku is a dying breed who still sees things from a regional, ethnic and religious prism. Nigeria has moved on from that and she deserves better. Our nation will not accept an ethnic bigot and tribal champion as their president.
“Nigeria does not need a northern or southern president, she needs a Nigerian president and Bola Ahmed Tinubu is that president.”
Similarly, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Felix Morka said what Atiku said was a decisive attack on national unity.
“Atiku’s statement is a decisive attack on our national unity. 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.”
Tinubu a threat to national cohesion – PDP
But the spokesman for the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged in a telephone interview with one of our reporters last night that Tinubu represents a threat to national cohesion, adding that the APC allegations better suited Asiwaju.
He said Atiku is known across the length and breadth of the country as a symbol of cohesion, unity and purposeful collaboration.
He said, “Tinubu has been an apostle of regional politics where ethnicity and division along religious lines are dominant. As a matter of fact, his contemporary politics showcase a blatant disregard for ethnic groupings other than his.
“Neither have Nigerians forgotten the threats of ejection from Lagos on the political opponents of Tinubu and the wanton destruction of electoral materials in areas where the former governor’s party would not do well.
“It is imperative to state that the campaign of calumny against Atiku notwithstanding, he is the pan-Nigerian leader loved and respected across the six geo-political zones of the country.”