The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has balmed the cancellation of the planned visit of former United States President, Bill Clinton to Nigeria on utterances of key members of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
A statement signed by Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the PDP presidential candidate, in Abuja on Tuesday recalled the “body bag” remark credited to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state who suggested that any foreigners who interfere in Nigeria’s electoral process will return home in body bags.
Clinton was scheduled to preside over the revalidation of the peace agreement among political parties before the commencement of the elections. But he was reported to have cancelled the visit fearing that it will be politicised.
Atiku’s statement reads: “It is with some disappointment that we note the release from President Bill Clinton expressing his inability to visit Nigeria because of recent “conversations” that have made the intended visit inexpedient.
“We understand the reasons given by President Clinton and wish the situation on the ground were more ideal as to make his visit more conducive.
“We note that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, a man with a history and pattern of peaceful democratic activity, had looked forward to President Clinton’s visit.
“We quite understand the reasons given by President Clinton, coming especially after the unfortunate “body bag” comment emanating from the All Progressives Congress.
“Be that as it may, Atiku Abubakar wishes to reaffirm to Nigerians and the world, his commitment to peace and democracy and urges all contestants and parties involved in the 2019 Nigerian elections to publicly do the same.
“Atiku Abubakar urges all Nigerians to peacefully troop out in their numbers to vote according to their conscience and dictates. A large voter turnout makes it even more difficult, and perhaps impossible to rig elections.
“Atiku Abubakar also notes the harassment of friends of Nigeria by the Buhari administration and its agents and privies, who have taken to releasing and uttering statements threatening diplomats and election observers.
“We wish to make known to these individuals the fact that Nigeria has long-standing friends and it will be myopic to burn those bridges on the altar of desperation.
“Finally, we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to place the interest of Nigeria above partisanship and call these antagonists to order.”