With less than 48hours to the presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday received anunusual endorsement when a gay group, the National Gay Forum, declaredtheir support for his bid to rule the country. Addressing journalistsyesterday at the Agura Hotel in Abuja, the spokespersons for the group,Victor Labelle and Freedom Awuke, urged Nigerians to provide supportfor Mr Atiku, whom they said .was “committed to turning the fortunes ofthe country around for the better.”
“In view of themeaningful contributions of Atiku to national development, it hasbecome imperative for PDP delegates to cast their votes for him attomorrow’s party primary election as well as in the April elections,”Mr Labelle said.
He said that his group was “exercising its fundamental human right of freedom of association.”
“Not too long ago,in the United States, gays made their voices heard,” he said. “It wasthe same in Germany, France and other parts of the world. We affirm ourposition and have decided to identify with our own dear former vicepresident of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as our own presidentialcandidate. We derive our consent from our constitutional right andobligation and urge well-meaning Nigerians, delegates and our fellowgays to throw their support behind Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Let us joinhands and make good things happen.”
He stated that thegay movement had decided to take an interest in political developmentsin the country and would henceforth make significant contributions tothe political development of the country.
“In an attempt tomake meaningful political, social and cultural transformation, we havechosen to air our political views so as not to be left in a moribundcondition,” he said.
Garba Shehu,spokesperson for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, howeverexpressed his surprise and dismay at the endorsement.
“Honestly, we don’t want to get involved in this kind of story...”he said. “However, we believe that lesbianism and sodomy are unlawfulacts in this country, so we are surprised that law and order have sobroken down in this country that gays will organise freely, address thepress and the police did not arrest them. Law and order has broken downcompletely and the next thing we will be hearing now is that of armedrobbers and the kidnappers that will organise — then bombers will alsoorganise their press conference tomorrow. So one, we detest this kindof journalism; two, we say this is an illegal society organising freelyin this country. Then that tells us the kind of government that wehave.”