The Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has berated Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for allegedly distorting a statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari in Zamfara State.
In a clarification made in a statement issued on Monday by Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of the APC Presidential Council, the campaign organisation said President Buhari never advocated for violence while speaking during the campaign rally, rather he uttered what it described as a joke.
The statement was made in reaction to Atiku’s comments at the PDP presidential campaign rally in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Monday.
Atiku had told the crowd at the rally that the president had allegedly called for violence, especially in the lead-up to the forthcoming general elections.
But in its reaction, the APC campaign council said the PDP presidential candidate had decided to purportedly spread falsehood, knowing that he had already lost Saturday’s presidential election.
The statement read: “This time, the candidate of the main opposition himself, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, sensing a comprehensive defeat this Saturday and out of frustration, threw caution to the wind in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, February 11, 2019, when he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari called for violence when he campaigned in Zamfara State.”
The APC presidential council noted the particular word used by the president has been connoted by language scholars to have various literary meanings.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Hausa word the President used in Zamfara, which has been taken out of context, is ‘fitna’. Incidentally, all our Hausa language scholars have said the word means different things: it means distress, trial, affliction or temptation. It can also be used to describe rebellion or uprising.
“In this case, President Buhari was actually weighing in on the joke told very often of recent in the North that due to the rice boom, farmers have embarked on pilgrimage and the marrying of more wives. So, what the President meant was actually a joke deliberately taken out of context: he simply told the crowd to ensure they eat very well because of the rice boom before they can contemplate giving in to those temptations.”
The APC campaign team asked Atiku not to use his “palpable desperation” to become president to misconstrue a joke and set the country on the path to violence.
“Even in some private meetings with our campaign team, the President has always commented on this joke. Sadly, out of desperation, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has decided to peddle falsehood.
“We urge Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to realise that it is God Almighty that gives power and takes power. He should not use his palpable desperation to return to power (in order to sell Nigeria to his “friends” and to make them rich) to set this nation ablaze by outright falsehood,” the statement read.