The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has come under fire following his advice to Northerners that they should vote for him in the 2023 election because he hails from the northern region.
Atiku, who stated this during an interactive session with the Arewa Joint Committee in Kaduna on Saturday, told his audience not to support a Yoruba or Igbo candidate in reference to the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi.
The PDP flag bearer, a Fulani from Adamawa State, declared that “what the average Northerner needs is somebody who’s from the North and also understands that part of the country and has been able to build bridges across the country.
“This is what the Northerner needs. It doesn’t need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate. I stand before you as a pan-Nigerian of northern origin,’’ the ex-vice-president stated in a viral video.
However, his comment has attracted widespread condemnation from the APC, the LP, the New Nigeria People’s Party, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, the apex Igbo group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and civil society organisations.
There are suggestions that the former Vice-President, through his statement on Saturday, might have breached Section 97 of the Electoral Act.
The section states, “A candidate, person or association that engages in campaigning or broadcasting based on religious, tribal or sectional reason to promote or oppose a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to (a) a maximum fine of N1m or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both and (b) in the case of a political party, to a maximum of N10m.’’
Many have taken to the micro-blogging site, (Twitter), to register their anger over Atiku’s statement.
@Tonyozioko “I don’t like Atiku either but Tinubu is a worse ethnocentrism.”
@sanusialtine “mischief is chief”