Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has dismissed allegation by the All Progressive Congress (APC) that his decision to dedicate his 72nd birthday activities to the about 100 Nigerian soldiers recently killed by Boko Haram in Borno State, was for sheer political capital.
Instead, Atiku said rather than being a selfish exercise the gesture was his deep reflection on the suffering of the soldiers, stressing that it was the ruling party that has no sympathy for the slain soldiers or their families that is selfish.
In a statement issued by Atiku’s campaign office in Abuja yesterday, the former Vice President noted that the soldiers were slaughtered on the same day President Muhammadu Buhari launched his ‘Next Level’ campaign theme with service chiefs in attendance.
He wondered whether that event could have prevented the security chiefs from dealing with the terrorists’ threat to avert the deadly attack.
“Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the All Progressives Congress casting aspersions on Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party on the day of his birthday and turbaning as Waziri Adamawa.
“Incidentally, the APC’s statement accused former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of ‘selfishness’ and ‘mercantilism’ which is very curious as the Waziri dedicated his birthday, not to himself, but to celebrating the 100 or so heroes of the 157 Taskforce Battalion of the Nigerian Army who lost their lives to Boko Haram at Metele in Borno State.
“That the Waziri Adamawa asked for anyone who wished to give him birthday gifts to instead endow such on the families of the slain heroes is the opposite of selfishness.
“Ironically, the All Progressives Congress that is now accusing Atiku Abubakar, has not seen fit to pay tribute to these gallant men who gave their lives in order to secure the lives of others.
“As a party, they have not issued even one statement condoling with the slain or their families, neither have they offered any tangible support to the families of these fallen heroes.
“Yet, they are accusing the Waziri, who has shown commitment to honouring these heroes, of selfishness.
“As a matter of fact, we now know through Premium Times report, that these real Nigerian heroes were killed on November 18, 2018, which was the exact time that the candidate of the APC, Muhammadu Buhari, invited the service chiefs to attend the launch of the plagiarised #NextLevellaunch at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa.
“The nation can only wonder if the Metele massacre could have been avoided if the APC and President Buhari had allowed the service chiefs to focus on their core duties, rather than on his ill-fated re-election campaign.
“We at the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation commend the service chiefs for beating a hasty retreat from the event as soon as they discovered that President Buhari was trying to hoodwink them.
“It took Waziri Atiku Abubakar only a few hours to respond to the incident and express support, while it took the APC’s President Buhari a whole week to express “shock”. We, therefore, wonder who is truly ‘selfish’.
“It is left to Nigerians to compare and contrast who is a leader and who is a follower based on the conduct of these two parties.
“In any case, we would like to inform the APC of Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s call for financial support from well-meaning individuals and Institutions for the survivors of the Metele massacre, and indeed for all who paid the supreme sacrifice in the frontlines for us to be safe.
“Seeing as the APC spent ₦100 million to buy frontpage advertorials in all the papers on that fateful day of November 18, 2018, we appeal to them to consider donating even 10 per cent of that amount to the endowment for the families of our heroes as proposed by Atiku Abubakar.
“If they can spend ₦100 million to promote fraud, they should be able to spare at least ₦10 million to promote patriotism.”