PDP Reacts To Atiku’s Controversial Kaduna Comment

By Damilare Adeleye

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has reacted to the controversial comment credited to its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, where he described himself as a candidate who should be supported by all northerners in the forthcoming general election.

Describing himself as a pan-Nigerian, Atiku added that he's from the North, and all northerners should prioritise his candidacy.

He urged his audience at the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency on Saturday not to support any other presidential candidates from Igbo and Yoruba extractions.

In his words, “I know the whole of this country. I have built bridges across this country. I think what the average northerner needs is somebody who is from the north, who also understands the 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 (the northerner) doesn’t need a Yoruba candidate or an Igbo candidate. This is what the northerner needs. I stand before you as a pan-Nigerian of northern origin”.

While reacting to the alleged divisive but controversial remarks which has generated reactions from Nigerians, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, described the party's standard-bearer as symbol of national unity, cohesion and tolerance who is comfortable and is loved in all parts of the country.

Ologunagba also condemned the attempt to deliberately distort, doctor, misinterpret and take out of context, the comments by Abubakar at the meeting.

“He has never and will never set any part of our country against the other as being mischievously hyped.

“To set the record straight, the PDP Presidential Candidate, in responding within the context of the question put to him at the event noted that he had built bridges across the country and that what Nigerians including an average northerner need was a Pan-Nigerian leader and not an ethnic champion,” the party said.

The party also urged all Nigerians to remain focused on the PDP’s mission to rescue, reunite, rebuild and restore our nation on the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity, which the Atiku/Okowa Presidential ticket represents.

Meanwhile, Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Council stated on Sunday in Abuja that Atiku Abubakar had resorted to ethnic ”jingo” in the face of imminent defeat at the 2023 election.

He stated that Abubakar’s recent statement to the effect that northern Nigerians did not need a Yoruba or Igbo president was the worst expression of ethnocentric opportunism ever uttered by a former vice president.