The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has received backlash from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party over his anti-Yoruba and Igbo comments.

Atiku had on Saturday advised Northerners to vote for him in the 2023 election since he is from the northern region.

“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,” the Adamawa-born former Vice-president said in a viral video.

His comments did not go down well as the presidential hopeful was bashed by many, including the ruling party and the Labour Party as well as many civil society organisations.

In his response on Sunday, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, said Atiku’s utterance is an attack on the country’s long-preserved national unity.

According to Morka, the PDP presidential candidate’s statement has shown his desperation to rule the country.

“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 said.

“Atiku’s words ring loud of extreme and mindless desperation and such an extremely desperate man cannot and must not be entrusted with the most important job of President – a job whose core duty is that of leading, uniting and working in the best interest of all in an ethnoreligious, pluralistic society as Nigeria. Our country does not need this kind of highly inflammable rhetoric now or ever.’’

Morka expressed surprise that Atiku who claimed to be on a mission to unify the country could engage in acts that undermined national unity.

Similarly, the LP vice presidential candidate, Senator Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, also knocked Atiku over his comments that could jeopardise the country’s unity.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, he described the former vice president as an ethnic bigot who cannot even unify his party.

“Atiku is an ethnic bigot. A big one at that.  Someone that cannot unify his party wants to unify Nigeria? Liar!!!” he tweeted.

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