The infamous statement credited to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wherein he asked some session of northerners to only vote for a presidential candidate of Northern extraction poses the entire northern region in a political dilemma.
At a well-televised meeting on Saturday in Kaduna, the North Western region of the country, using a national television station whose audience transcends the soil of Nigeria, the Waziri of Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku was seen telling his audience that the north does not need the president that is of Ibo and Yoruba backgrounds.
“A northerner does not need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate. A northerner needs a northern president,” Atiku said while addressing members of Arewa Consultative Forum.
While it is within the constitutional right of Alhaji Atiku to campaign for his presidential elections, it is rather unfortunate that an individual who has held sway as a vice president of Nigeria for eight years and who is parading himself as a unifier shouldn’t be seen as a catalyst for regional jingoism.
This acidic statement from the PDP’S presidential candidate at the time that elder statesmen should be preaching peace, and unity and should be seen as purveyors of national harmony despite the alleged imposition of himself on his party which has culminated to an endless implosion of crisis within the PDP’S fold, one expected Alhaji Atiku to be extremely circumspect with the choice of his words.
An individual that is eyeing the number one seat of the land should not be ignorant of the sensitivity attached to ethnicity and regional disparity of the country. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and secular state and
we must not take the risk of voting men who will plug us into religious and ethnic war. If Alhaji Atiku is waning in popularity within the region of his birthday as it is glaringly evident already, it is rather an own goal for him to resort to the politics of ethnic cards. One who is rejected by his own people based on their perception of his persona cannot use a regional formula to have their buy-in to his aspirations.
By asking the northern part of Nigeria not to vote for presidential candidates that are not of northern background, Alhaji Atiku has clearly shown that he is a Regional bigot that lacks the understanding of the actual psychology and political philosophy of the Nigerian Political ecosystem. Since he has been a perennial presidential contestant in previous elections, pundits are of the view that Alhaji Atiku should have understood that a single region regardless of its enormous population lacks what it takes to produce a president. By that singular statement, he has succeeded in insulting the sensibilities of other regions. An individual that is not a nationalist in his utterances cannot be a president of a multi-ethnic nation such as Nigeria.
It is already clear that Alhaji Atiku has made our beloved Nigeria, a country of Northern proclivity with a fishy agendum that is best known to him and his cohorts. A good understanding of the crisis rocking the opposition PDP has shown that the PDP as a political party that was formerly seen to be a pan Nigeria party has been drastically reduced to a northern party with most of its leaders at the echelon level coming from northern Nigeria. Atiku should be carefully x-rayed as tendencies abound that he might nothernize Nigeria for egocentric motives. Having succeeded in northernizing PDP, his next goal may probably be to northernizing our fatherland.
You may still be wondering why Atiku deleted his tweet when late Miss Deborah Yakubu died. It was observed that, shortly after condemning the dastardly act of the killing of the innocent school girl and calling for the arrest of her killers, a few northern elements threatened him of dealing with him at the polls. Some of those guys even told him clearly that he had lost their votes. In a matter of seconds, Alhaji Atiku removed and deleted the tweet, premising his action on the fact that his social media handler did not take permission from him before tweeting. He never said anything pertaining to the situation anymore until a Philanthropist, who is a Pastor, moved the family of the deceased girl to the southern part of the country. Atiku’s penchant for protecting his northern Agenda has always been ebbing, Howbeit, cunningly.
Atiku’s utterances and his selfish presidential ambition should be checked and Northern elders should not fold their arms and allow a single individual to create an enmity between other regions in the country and the once-known peaceful northern region that has now been inflamed by banditry and terrorism. The leadership of the National Peace Accord which Alhaji Atiku duly signed a few weeks ago, should call him to order and caution him on the possible inflammatory effects of such divisive utterances that are inimical to our national unity. Atiku should be told that there will be a united Nigeria after the election and it is a united Nigeria with all its regions intact. Therefore, asking the northern people to only vote for a northern candidate is a recipe for post Elections acrimony.
As the campaign for the 2023 general elections continue to generate ripples with the Frontline candidates promoting and selling their plans, vision and manifesto to the electorates, it is germane that the national unity of Nigeria, the sacredness of our oneness and the inviolability of our togetherness should not be murdered through mere corrosive politicking and nepotistic utterances. The indivisibility of our land through its six geopolitical components should be upheld until there is a constitutional move through legislative interventions to do otherwise. An individual’s presidential ambition should not inflame the uniqueness of our togetherness. Every individual in any of the six geopolitical zones has the constitutional right to vote for the candidate of his or her choice irrespective of the candidate’s place of birth.
Dr Tom Ohikere,
Publisher of APC News Online