Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said nothing that warrants apologies in his recent ‘Yoruba, Igbo president’ comment, according to a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka.
In a recent meeting, the former vice president had urged people in the North to support a candidate from their area in the general election of 2023.
Atiku said at a forum in Kaduna, “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.”
Many Nigerians condemned the comment. Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike,a member of the PDP even said that his party should apologise to Nigeria over the comment.
But Chidoka, while fielding questions on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Tuesday, disagreed with Wike and Nigerians condemning the statement of the PDP’s presidential candidate.
The former Aviation Minister said, “I think we need to move beyond these political gimmicks and political gimmickry that goes on when people say one thing, we turn it the other way round and we use it for political ends. The point he is making is a very clear point – that we need a Nigerian president, somebody that would unify the country, will understand the issues, and be able to solve them.
“So, I don’t think that it is a statement that warrants any apologies or discussions. It is for Vice President Atiku to continue to explain himself to the public. We still have four months in the campaign so he needs to go out and explain his agenda that he is a Nigerian president that is desirous of making sure that all parts of Nigeria feel wanted in Nigeria, and feel united. He needs to unify the country to be able to propose the difficult solutions that must be applied to make this economy and the country work again.”
According to Chidoka, a chieftain of the PDP, the debates that trailed Atiku’s comment is “unfortunate”.