Kashim Shettima, vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has called on Atiku Abubakar to first unite the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before aspiring to become Nigeria’s president ahead of the 2023 general election.
“Atiku Abubakar that could not put his own political house in order cannot aspire to lead Nigeria,” Mr Shettima, who spoke at the unveiling of the manifesto of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, on Friday in Abuja.
He said the opposition party did not read the country’s mood, especially on the agitation for “rotational arrangement” before deciding on Mr Abubakar, who hails from the north.
Taking a further swipe at Mr Abubakar, Mr Shettima said that the PDP’s “presidential dream” was already a “televised national circus”.
“Unfortunately, the leading opposition party set out to exploit the nation’s rotational arrangement and refused to read the national mood. And this has long backfired, and turned their presidential dream into a televised national circus.
“A presidential candidate that cannot put his own political house in order cannot aspire to lead the nation,” the APC 2023 vice presidential candidate added.
Mr Shettima’s attack on the PDP came amid internal wranglings in the opposition party.
The PDP has been enmeshed in crisis after the party’s 2022 presidential primary in May, with the emergence of the former vice president as its standard bearer.
Following the emergence of Mr Abubakar, there have been calls for Iyorchia Ayu, who also hails from the north, to resign his national chairman position.
Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike, has spearheaded the call for Mr Ayu’s resignation, noting that the party’s flag bearer and the national chairman cannot come from the same zone.
Messrs Wike and Abubakar have been at loggerheads after the presidential primary where the former vice president defeated the Rivers governor.
The feud further deepened after Mr Abubakar ignored a PDP committee’s recommendation to pick Mr Wike as his running mate, going instead for governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.
Despite the crisis, the Rivers governor has vowed not to quit the PDP, insisting that he would remain in the party and continue to fight for justice.