The APC believes that the endorsement of the former vice president is an affront on the people of the region.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Atiku Abubakar's meeting with Igbo leaders from the southeast region as proof that he has 'lost any sense of shame' alongside his party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Atiku, a former vice president, met with Igbo leaders in Enugu State on Wednesday, November 14, as part of his campaign as the PDP's presidential candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
During the meeting, Atiku expressed his displeasure with the state of infrastructure in the southeast region and promised that restructuring would solve many of the regions complaints about marginalisation.
"My commitment is to fix this country. I think of the future this country will have, if I do not struggle to fix it," he said.
Before the meeting took place, elders, traditional and religious leaders of the region had engaged in a nonpartisan meeting tagged 'Ndigbo 2019 and Beyond Summit' and announced an endorsement of Atiku's candidacy whose running mate is former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, who's from the region.
According to a communiqué read by a lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, the summit concluded that an Atiku/Obi ticket puts "Ndigbo back in the center of governance".
"We identify with the Atiku/Peter Obi ticket on the restructuring agenda as has been reiterated by four zones of the country namely: South South, South West, North Central and South East.
"We believe that as long as the federating units remain weak the center will continue to be weak. We equally move to appreciate the position of the Atiku/Obi ticket in promoting national unity.
"In conclusion, the Summit reiterated that the time is now for Ndigbo to mobilize and organize effectively to realize the Atiku/Obi ticket.
"We are not campaigning against anybody, we are simply campaigning for our very survival. Igbo votes must count wherever Ndigbo live in Nigeria," the communiqué read.
The APC has not taken too kindly to the meeting and endorsement of the former vice president's candidacy due to PDP's perceived failure in the region during its 16 years reign in the center.
According to a statement signed by the party's National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, on Thursday, November 15, the endorsement is an affront on the people of the region.
He said the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done more for the region in three and a half years and will get the support of "very discerning Igbo people" at the polls next year.
The statement read, "Our response to the purported endorsement of Atiku by some Igbo leaders. APC considers Atiku and his PDP co-travellers as people who have lost any sense of shame.
"The purported endorsement of Atiku and PDP by some leaders of the South East for the 2019 general elections is an affront on the the Igbo people who were frontline victims of the 16 years of the PDP misrule.
"It will be interesting to know what the PDP will be telling the Igbo people during the campaign. The South East people have three and half years of visible progress in terms of massive infrastructure and the thousands of common people who are benefiting from the social programme investments under APC to compare to the PDP's 16 years of retrogression.
"We in APC are confident that the Igbo won't be fooled by any group, by whatever name, to sell a thoroughly discredited party like the PDP to the very discerning Igbo people."
2019 presidential election
While next year's election, scheduled for February 16, 2019, is expected to be keenly-contested between President Buhari and Atiku, they both face competition from other candidates including Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC).
Others are Tope Fasua of the Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party (NIP), Olusegun Mimiko of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Adesina Fagbenro-Byron of the Kowa Party (KP), Chike Ukaegbu of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP), Hamza Al-Mustapha of the People's Party of Nigeria (PPN), Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and many more.
79 candidates will contest in the election, the highest number ever in Nigeria's electoral history.