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Backlash Trails Atiku’s Northern Social Media Users’ Claim

On Friday, Nigerians on social media criticized Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, for saying that 90% of people in the north do not use social media.

In an exclusive interview with Arise TV on Friday morning, former vice president of Nigeria Atiku responded to a question by downplaying the likelihood that Peter Obi, the nominee of the Labour Party, will upset his bid for the presidency.

When asked about the potential threat that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate for the Labour Party, might pose to his bid for the presidency in the 2023 elections, Atiku clarified that Obi’s social media popularity and presence won’t bring him (Obi) victory.

He noted that despite the social media sensation and acceptability of Obi’s candidacy, the reality remains that the LP does not have people in government or the National Assembly.

He said, “Peter Obi is not a threat. I really don’t expect the Labour Party to take as many votes from the PDP as people are suggesting. We could have seen it in the last election in Osun State. What was the performance of the Labour Party?

“They again, they (Obi’s supporters) are talking about social media. Mind you, in the north, 90 per cent of our people (who will be voting) are not on social media,” Atiku said.

But reacting to Atiku’s claim, Nigerians on the microblogging site, Twitter, knocked the former vice president for his comment, alleging that such a claim showed that the Northern elites were deliberate about keeping the region underdeveloped.

See reaction:

@YDBaba_AhmedI, wrote, “Now you know why they have made the north so poor so as to use them during election, Atiku Abubakar just indirectly said that 90% of Northerners are living in abject poverty… My Northern people, we must change this narrative.

@imokodavid said, “Atiku said on Arise News that 90% of Northerners are not on social media but he rushed to delete the Deborah post he made on social media so as to please the Northerners that are not on social media. Kontinu>

@NigeriaRenew wrote, “Atiku: 90% of northerners are not on social media. This is why they keep my people poor & uneducated. The northern elites have weaponised poverty & illiteracy over the years & I say Enough is Enough. Truth be said, The North needs Peter Obi more than any other part of Nigeria

@Chude_ also said, “Atiku, in an attempt to denigrate labour party & OBidients boldly told d world on national TV that 90% of Northerners don’t have access to internet.

“Northerners Complain & fight stereotype on this app every day only for Atiku, in an attempt to denigrate labour party & OBidients boldly told d world on national TV that 90% of Northerners don’t have access to the internet. This Man wants people to remain poor for his political gains. @Atiku Obviously banking of the poverty and illiteracy in northern Nigeria to remain relevant in politics

@UgwuOkoro wrote, “90% of Northerners don’t know anything about Social media..Atiku on Arise news.
He is proud that he and other Northern leaders have underdeveloped the North.”

@Jack_ng01 said, “Even with the pre-recorded interview, Uncle Dubai still goofed. Which one is 90% of Northerners does not have access to internet? You so mean 8years as VP you could not facilitate internet penetration to your people. Now there is a problem with this man that want to lead us.”

@terfinda said, “Atiku Abubakar hopes that 90% of Northerners have not heard of #Obidatti2023 since according to him, they are not on social media. Mumu… dem no dey tell blind man say rain dey fall.”

@novieverest wrote, “Atiku is proud that northern leaders have kept the majority of northerners off internet access. This is wickedness. Boasting that 90% of northerners do not have internet access while he flexes in Dubai shows wickedness and bad leadership.

@Waspapping_ wrote, “A northern statesman, former VP, & a presidential aspirant going on TV to say that “90% of northerners are not on social media” in this technology age is only highlighting the state of underdevelopment in the north. It’s not something you proudly say on TV. But they love it.”

Popular tweep, Nefertiti tweeting from @firstladyship, said, “90% of Northerners are not on social media,” is not something an elder statesman & a former VP, should say on Arise TV, a National Television. The data is debatable, but it should never be a bragging right in 2022. If anything, Atiku portrayed the North as underdeveloped.

In support of Atiku’s claim, Reno Omokori, said, “Atiku said 90% of Northerners are not on social media. Because of your bias, you heard 90% of Northerners are not educated. FYI, almost 90% of Northerners get their news from radio. They are more aware than you give them credit for. Simplicity is not stupidity!”

Also in a similar vein, Gimba Kakanda, wrote, “Basic statistics can prove Atiku’s assertion that 90% of northerners aren’t on social media. Nigeria has about 33 million active social media users, according to Statista. Let’s assume 40% of that number are from the North. That’s less than the population of one Northern state.”

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