Atiku Under Fire For Saying North Doesn’t Need Yoruba Or Igbo Candidate

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar exchanging greetings with the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Chief Audu Ogbeh during the Arewa Joint Committee interactive session with presidential candidates at the Arewa House, Kaduna, yesterday.

By Tonia Okereke

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has come under fire for saying the north is better off with a northern candidate and not a Yoruba or Igbo candidate.

Atiku’s closest rivals Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress and Peter Obi of the Labour Party are Yoruba and Igbo respectively.

The clip showing Atiku controversially saying the north doesn’t need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate has gone viral with Nigerians taking turns to condemn his utterance.

Atiku featured as a guest of the Arewa Joint Committee interactive sessions with various presidential candidates of political parties on Saturday in Kaduna.

“What the average northerner needs is somebody from the north who understands other parts of Nigeria and who has been able to build bridges across the rest of the country. This is what the northerner needs. He doesn’t need a Yoruba candidate or an Igbo candidate”, Atiku could be heard saying in the viral clip.

One of those quick to react on Facebook was former National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, Lanre Issa-Onilu you said,

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45)?

“Atiku wants to be President because northerners don’t want Yoruba and Igbo as Nigeria’s President. Atiku’s presidency is a calamity foretold. Gov Wike and associates are actually right. They knew”.

Another Facebook user, Kolapo Abiodun, had this to say:

“The North will continue to politically dominate and manipulate the south until the Yorubas and Igbos come together. Atiku just played a masterstroke ethnic card. Disappointing”

But in the official statement from the event by Atiku’s media teamn they quoted the PDP presidential candidate as saying that the credential of national inclusivity, not ethnicity should be an ideal that the Northern part of the county should examine in electing a new president for the country in the 2023 elections.

“I have been in politics for more than three decades and I am a Northerner. So, if you ask me why I am the best candidate to lead Nigeria in 2023, I will simply say that what Nigeria needs is a pan-Nigerian president, not whether he is Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa-Fulani”, the official statement signed his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe quoted him as saying.


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