INEC should prosecute Atiku over ‘north needs northerner’ remark, says Kenneth Okonkwo


Kenneth Okonkwo, spokesperson of the Peter Obi presidential campaign council (south-east), says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should prosecute Atiku Abubakar.


Okonkwo, who made the remark in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, said the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should have been disqualified for “ethnic profiling”.


While speaking at a town hall meeting in Kaduna on October 15, Abubakar said northerners need a president from the north — and not someone of Igbo or Yoruba extraction.


Okonkwo said the statement is genocidal and capable of truncating the nation’s democracy.


 “If there’s anybody that his team has been extinguished completely, it’s that of Atiku Abubakar, who of course should have been disqualified by now,” he said.


“By going to the north and making a genocidal statement that northerners should vote for north only; this was what caused genocide in Rwanda when Hutus were told that they should not support Tutsis because they are cockroaches.


“Atiku Abubakar went to the north and said northerners should support only the people from the north — not Yoruba, not Igbo.

 “That’s ethnic profiling. That’s genocidal statement. Atiku knows he has failed, what he’s trying to do now is to make sure that he destroys our democracy after he’s failed.”


Okonkwo cited section 97 of the Electoral Act 2022 as the basis for INEC to take action against Atiku.


“This should be called to order. INEC should be implementing section 97 of the Electoral Act on Atiku because that’s a criminal offence,” the actor-turned-politician said.


“Trying to profile ethnic and religious groups. He is unfit and he’s a threat to our democracy.”


Section 97 of the Electoral Act 2022 states that: “(1) A candidate, person or association that engages in campaigning or broadcasting based on religious, tribal, or sectional reason for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction – (a) to a maximum fine of Nl,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both; and (b) in the case of a political party, to a maximum fine of N10,000,000.”


Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers, had also criticised the statement made by Atiku, noting that the PDP needs to apologise to Nigerians.


On its part, the All Progressives Congress described the PDP standard bearer as desperate and unfit to be in charge of the country.

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