Labour Party (LP) has taken on the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over his comments at a rally in Anambra State.
The former vice president while in Awka, had appealed to Igbo to vote for him as he was the stepping stone to the realisation of Igbo presidency after his tenure.
In a statement, yesterday, LP’s National Vice Chairman (South East), Chief Innocent Okeke, described Atiku’s statement as insensitive. He added that it was an insult for him to ask the Igbo to vote for the continuation of the northern-Fulani-Muslim-ticket when the South East was yet to taste the presidency.
Okeke said Atiku was employing old and outdated political tricks that were bound to fail as the Igbo were awake and tired of playing second fiddle in a country where they were a major stakeholder.
He said: “With a northern Buhari completing eight years in Aso Rock next year, had Atiku any modicum of integrity, he wouldn’t have contested for the president let alone asking votes from the South and the Igbo particularly. If Atiku is not up to spite Ndigbo as he usually does, if he believes he is the stepping stone for Ndigbo to take their rightful place, why is he still in this presidential race? He claims to be a unifier, whereas he defiles equity which is the most potent unifying factor in Nigeria.
“Funnily enough, Atiku is among those that designed the agreement of rotation in 1999, and has witnessed it go round and now the indisputable right of Ndigbo, why does he want to change the goalpost in the middle of a match? This is unacceptable.
“One would recall that in respect to the principle of rotation and zoning arrangement which have been instituted, no southerner and no Igbo man opposed Atiku and Buhari both of whom are from the North. It was a battle between a Northerner and another as the South patriotically watched from the sideline. Now it is the turn of the south and the Southeast precisely, why is Atiku contesting and at the same time coming to the East with intention to insult and mock them?”
Okeke said the Igbo want to be president because they want to fix a Nigeria that had been damaged over the years, the Sun reports.
“They have presented one of their best whose positive record as a governor is overwhelming. As we look forward to a new Nigeria emerging from reality and faith, no one should take these elements that have been architects of Nigeria’s problems seriously. You cannot go to Kaduna and reveal that an average northerner will not vote a president from South, and repeat that average northerner will not like to vote Igbo or Yoruba, only to come to Awka and say you are a stepping stone.
“Who do you want to deceive? Atiku should be advised to withdraw from the presidential race, work on himself and purge away the old conspiracies that he and his cohorts have been using to teach their younger ones hate and disunity. This is the only practical way to be a unifier,” he said.