• Tinubu asks Atiku to step down and endorse him, gives condition for creation of state police
• Peter Obi, Baba-Ahmed visit Sheikh Gumi, promise to nib insecurity
• Atiku campaigns in Kaduna, condemns attacks on supporters
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, David Arin
Kaduna has become the rallying point for the decisive Northern votes for all gladiators on the ballot going into the 2023 general elections.
The candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar at an interactive session with the Arewa Joint Committee on Saturday in Kaduna had trended for making what many had refered to as a clanish remarks when he said, “I have traversed the whole of this country. I know the whole of this country. I have built bridges across the whole of this country. I think what the northerners need is someone who is from the north and also understands the other parts of Nigeria, who has built bridges across the country. This is what a northerner needs. He doesn’t need a Yoruba candidate or an Igbo candidate.”
For Festus Keyamo, the presidential campaign spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress, Atiku should quit the race already over his comment.
Keyamo tweeted “This is the height of desperation & daredevilry on the part of Atiku! This is so horrendous, so horrible & so thoughtless for Atiku Abubakar to use ethnicity to campaign, saying the North does not need a YORUBA OR IBO candidate? My God! Atiku needs to quit the race TODAY!”
While the the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Barr. Felix Morka noted that “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.
“But it is not surprising coming from a desperate and serial failed Candidate for the office of President.”
Morka questioned the rationale behind his desperate utterance saying, “If, as Atiku believes, the average Northerner needs a Northern President now, after a Northern President, when will they ever not need a Northern President? What does Atiku think the average Southerner needs? Why is it about what the average Northerner needs, or even what the average Southerner may need? Why is it not about what Nigeria and Nigerians need? Nigerians need bold and visionary leadership anchored on a firm commitment to transcendental national unity, over and above ethnic or sectional obsessions.”
He submitted that Atiku is on a desperate voyage which is deemed to fail like his previous attempt at the plum office.
In a swift reaction the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dismissed the attempt by All Progressives Congress (APC) to accuse the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar of playing ethnic and tribal politics.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Hon. Debo Ologunagba , the opposition dismissed APC’s allegation insisting Atiku is a unifier.
The PDP describes as shameless and irresponsible that the APC will go to the extent of deliberately distorting, doctoring, misinterpreting and taking out of context, the comment by the PDP Presidential Candidate at a Stakeholders’ meeting in Kaduna State on Sunday in a bid to smear his image as a Pan-Nigerian leader.
Tinubu Asks Atiku To Step Down And Endorse Him
A similar invite was extended to the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who speared no time in asking his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart Atiku Abubakar to step down and endorse him ahead of February 2023 presidential poll.
Tinubu asked Atiku to reciprocate the “gesture” he gave to him when he contested for the presidency in 2007 under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) by dropping his ambition and endorsing him.
Tinubu spoke on Monday when he met with leaders from the northern part of the country under the umbrella of the Arewa Joint Committee for an interactive session.
The meeting was part of a wider interaction with selected presidential candidates to discuss their plans for the region ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Tinubu’s appearance came two days after his rival in the PDP engaged in a similar interaction with the northern leaders. The interactive session held at the Arewa House in Kaduna was organised by a coalition of six groups from the North including the Arewa Consultative Forum, Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Northern Elders Forum, and Jamar Matan Arewa among others.
Tinubu Gives Condition For Creation Of State Police
Addressing leaders of the northern region on Monday in Kaduna, Tinubu said state police to tackle insecurity can only be achieved through a Constitutional amendment that will require the collective support of all stakeholders including the National Assembly and socioeconomic organisations.
If elected into office as President in 2023, the APC presidential candidate said his administration will give top priority to state police and ensure that more booths are put on the ground to be able to deal with the challenges of banditry, terrorism and other violent crimes bedevilling the country.
According to the ex-Lagos State Governor, tackling insecurity will pave way for the economic prosperity of the nation through reindustrialization of the country in line with global best practices.
“If you give me the mandate, my administration will give it all the attention necessary to consolidate the recent investment in our security by President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
“Security is the foundation of resources. I am committed to mobilising all assets within our national power to secure Nigeria. We will mobilise resources to enhance the welfare of personnel and provide the right equipment and training required for them to secure us all.”
Tinubu also told the northern leaders that his administration will not give up in the fight against corruption, but will support existing anti-corruption institutions to address the underlying issues that make corruption thrive.
Others include strengthening existing transparency mechanisms in the areas of public procurement, and fiscal and whistle-blower policy as preventive strategies against corruption.
He stated that credit incentives and mortgages to citizens especially public servants and those in the private sector will help drastically reduce the menace of corruption
Speaking on national unity and cohesion, Tinubu assured of equal opportunity and treatment for all citizens whereby all tribes and zones will be treated fairly and justly and given a sense of belonging.
Peter Obi, Baba-Ahmed Visit Sheikh Gumi In Kaduna
The presidential candidate of Labour Party Peter Obi and his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed on Monday visited popular Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi at his residence in Kaduna State.
Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, was in Kaduna for the Arewa Joint Committee.
“Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed and I stopped by for a courtesy call on Sheikh Gumi at his official residence in Kaduna,” the 61-year-old tweeted.
Obi, in recent times, has visited northern powerbrokers and thought leaders including the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero; and the Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Ango Abdullahi. He also visited former Heads of State, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar.