The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has come under heavy criticism over his comment at the Arewa Joint Committee interactive session. The fact is Atiku is the least divisive or sectional candidate among the major Presidential aspirants.
At the session, Atiku Abubakar dismissed the need for regional candidates and only foregrounded his personality as a Pan-Nigerian who is ready to work for the development of the north as much as that of the south. The electioneering period is one usually marred with media reportage to twist facts and even the most painstaking critic of fake news can be subjected to it.
One would assume the euphoria that has come with Atiku’s speech is a pointer to what he said during the interactive session. For context’s sake, let’s quote Atiku’s own words, “What the average Northerner needs are 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 ex-vice-president stated in a viral video.
In every speech community, context is central to achieving effective communication. Atiku was addressing people from the northern extraction which requires aligning and speaking in a language that would aid such effective communication. In choosing his words, the former vice president was careful enough to be watchful of the co-texts (the words used and their arrangements) as well as his contexts (socio-political considerations). The prominent part of the former vice president’s speech is his insistence that he is only the Pan-Nigerian candidate contesting for the presidential seat. Indubitably, major political actors in this period should do away with ambiguity that is capable of being given a mischievous undertone. At least, the “I belong to Nobody and I belong to everybody” President has always been reviled for alleged ‘one-sidedness’ in his key appointments.
In as much as various groups have tried to rewrite Atiku’s utterances, the fact remains that his life has oozed Nigerianess with evidence across the geopolitical zones. None of those contesting boasts such influence!
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