Civil society groups have called on former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, to emulate other People’s Democratic Party’s presidential aspirants by accepting the verdict of the party’s national convention, held in Abuja.
Making the call through a statement signed by its national publicity secreatry, Afam Iheanacho, the Movement for Democratic Sustainability (MDS), a civil society group, said the former vice president is sending a bad signal of his desperation and bad sportsmanship in his remarks after the primaries.
It said that even as Mr. Abubakar has commended the PDP presidential panel for organising a free, fair, and credible election, which he said, “indicates that the wind of positive change is now blowing in that party,” he should also see it as the best thing to do “to concede victory, congratulate Mr. President, and join hands with others to unite the PDP.”
Mr. Iheanacho cited instances of how Ibrahim Babangida, the former head of state, and Aliyu Gusau, former national security adviser, who were both allies to Mr. Abubakar, had both congratulated Mr. Jonathan and wished him success in the race.
Emeka Obinagwu, national publicity secretary of the National Vanguard for Democracy and Development (NVDD), another civil society group, asked Mr. Abubakar to stop further acts and statements that could heat up the polity.
Mr. Obinagwu, who criticised the Atiku Campaign Organisation for its reluctance to accept the resounding victory of Mr. Jonathan at the just concluded PDP presidential primaries, said that “the PDP presidential primaries of January 13, 2011 has been adjudged by both local and international observers, the diplomatic community, local and international media as free, fair and transparent, hence the strange silence of the Atiku group is a big embarrassment to all lovers of democracy.
“We are shocked that six days after the primaries the Atiku campaign group is still searching for a clear statement to respond to the resounding victory of Mr. Jonathan. What is coming from Atiku campaign is indicative of a possible challenge of an affirmative, popular choice. It is sad. It is unfortunate,” he said.
According to the group, there was palpable tension in the country days to the primaries and Nigerians in their millions heaved a huge sigh of relief when the primary was concluded.
“Instead of another round of rancour and divisive statement, we plead that the former vice president, for the sake of our nation, allows peace to reign. He should avoid this indelible image of desperation that is now hanging around him. Doing otherwise will be a stigma that will stick with his name forever,” he added.