Sunday, October 1, 2023

I supported Atiku in 2007; it’s time for him to endorse me: Tinubu

Asking for payback, the APC candidate asked Mr Abubakar to quit campaigning and endorse him.

• October 17, 2022
Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar
Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar

Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has called on the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to “endorse” him for the 2023 presidential election and not compete with him.

A former Lagos governor, Mr Tinubu said his appeal for endorsement was because he had once supported the PDP presidential candidate for the same position in 2007. 

“It is payback time. Let Atiku (Abubakar) endorse me instead of campaigning in Kaduna. I supported him in 2007,” Mr Tinubu said on Monday at the interactive session with the Arewa Joint Committee held at the Arewa House in Kaduna.

Massrs Tinubu and Abubakar are among the eighteen presidential candidates jostling for the country’s top political seat in the 2023 general elections. 

In 2007, Mr Abubakar as vice president had fallen out with former president Olusegun Obasanjo, while trying to succeed him, and in opposition to the latters alleged third-term agenda. 

The disagreement later forced Mr Abubakar to defect from the PDP to the Action Congress (AC), at the time founded by Mr Tinubu and others as an opposition party.

With Mr Tinubu’s support and resources, Mr Abubakar later became the presidential candidate of the AC but lost the 2007 election to PDP’s Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Mr Abubakar came third while Muhammadu Buhari of the then All Nigerians People’s Party (ANPP) came second.

Speaking further, Mr Tinubu lashed out at the PDP presidential candidate, accusing him of playing ethnic politics ahead of next year’s election. 

He said Mr Abubakar, who had started his campaigns from the southern region, was now suggesting to northerners that the votes from the south do not matter to him. 

“You (Atiku) started from Uyo and now ended up in Kaduna and you are speaking to the North that you are the right candidate for the North; how do we reconcile that? You have lost the election,” the APC candidate said.

On Saturday, Mr Abubakar stuck his foot in his mouth when he declared that the north should shun southern candidates in next year’s presidential election. 

“What the average Northerner needs is somebody who is 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,” he had told a group of northern political leaders under the Arewa Joint Committee at Arewa House, Kaduna. 

The remark captured in video footage continues to elicit widespread condemnation and angry reactions from Nigerians, especially critics from the southern region. 

Mr Abubakar’s two main rivals, Messrs Tinubu and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, are Yoruba and Igbo respectively from the southern part of the country.

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