The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has ask those wishing to contribute to the celebration of his birthday to channel their contributions to support the families and relatives of the dead soldiers.
Atiku made the appeal in a statement issued on Monday by its Campaign Organisation in Abuja.
He said that the killing of about 70 Nigerian soldiers at Metele; Borno State would have been avoided if Service Chiefs were allowed to concentrate on their jobs.
Atiku had announced the dedication of his 72nd birthday, which coincided with his turbaning as the Waziri Adamawa to the memories of the slain soldiers.
It will be recalled that Atiku, in media reports, said that the soldiers were attacked and killed on November 18, at a time the Service Chiefs were attending the launch of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign document, “Next Level”, at the presidential villa.
The statement said, “The nation can only wonder if the Metele massacre could have been avoided if the APC and President Buhari had allowed the Service Chiefs to focus on their core duties, rather than on his ill-fated re-election campaign”
“Incidentally, the APC’s statement accused former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of ‘selfishness’ and ‘mercantilism’ which is very curious as the Waziri dedicated his birthday, not to himself, but to celebrating the 100 or so heroes of the 157 Taskforce Battalion of the Nigerian Army who lost their lives to Boko Haram at Metele in Borno State.
“That the Waziri Adamawa asked for anyone who wished to give him birthday gifts to instead endow such on the families of the slain heroes is the opposite of selfishness.
“Ironically, the All Progressives Congress that is now accusing Atiku Abubakar has not seen fit to pay tribute to these gallant men who gave their lives in order to secure the lives of others.
“As a party, they have not issued even one statement condoling with the slain or their families, neither have they offered any tangible support to the families of these fallen heroes. Yet, they are accusing the Waziri, who has shown commitment to honouring these heroes, of selfishness.
“As a matter of fact, we now know through Premium Times report, that these real Nigerian heroes were killed on November 18, 2018 which was the exact time that the candidate of the APC, Muhammadu Buhari, invited the Service Chiefs to attend the launch of the plagiarised #NextLevel launch at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa”.
The Atiku campaign however, commended the Service Chiefs for beating a hasty retreat from the event, saying they must have discovered that President Buhari was trying to hoodwink them.
It added that it took Atiku only a few hours to respond to the incident and express support, while it took President Buhari a whole week to express “shock”, wondering who is truly “selfish”.
“It is left to Nigerians to compare and contrast who is a leader and who is a follower based on the conduct of these two parties.
“In any case, we would like to inform the APC of Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s call for financial support from well-meaning individuals and Institutions for the survivors of the Metele massacre, and indeed for all who paid the supreme sacrifice in the frontlines for us to be safe.
“Seeing as the APC spent ₦100 million to buy front page advertorials in all the papers on that fateful day of November 18, 2018, we appeal to them to consider donating even 10% of that amount to the endowment for the families of our heroes as proposed by Atiku Abubakar.
“If they can spend ₦100 million to promote fraud, they should be able to spare at least ₦10 million to promote patriotism”, the statement added.