The All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign council says a comment made by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is “the worst expression of ethnocentric opportunism ever”.
The former vice-president had, on Saturday, said northerners need a president who hails from the north.
The comment has since sparked varied reactions, including criticism.
In a statement on Sunday, Bayo Onanuga, director of media and publicity of the APC campaign council, said the comment shows that Abubakar is desperate to be president.
“It confirms the argument that Atiku has feasted on such base, cheap, primordial sentiments to use the masses and the elite of the north as the ladder to ascend to power since 1989 without any dividends to show,” Onanuga said.
“We view Atiku’s public declaration which framed him as an ethnic and regional champion as unbecoming for a man who was once a former Vice-President of Nigeria.
“But we are not surprised by his desperate position. Atiku has resorted to whipping up ethnic sentiments, knowing that his chances of being elected have become a mirage.
“He has himself, not anybody else, to blame for his expected electoral misfortune. First, he broke the fundamental rules of power rotation in his party and the country.
“As if this cardinal sin was not enough, the PDP candidate has remained defiant in the face of pressure by preserving the two topmost posts in his party for people from his region.”
The APC campaign spokesman also said Abubakar only pays lip service to the country’s unity.
“The facade is over, he is now fully naked before the Nigerian people,” he added.