Former Vice President and 2023 presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, has come under fire from all sides after he withdrew his condemnation of the lynching of one Deborah Yakubu who was accused of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad in Sokoto State.
Until her death, Deborah was a 200-level student of the Department of Home Economics at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.
Some videos that viral on social media on Thursday showed the moment some Islamic extremists stoned her to death and burnt her body.
Atiku, a frontline presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had initially condemned her murder and called for justice against her killers in a statement he shared across his Twitter and Facebook pages.
“There cannot be a justification for such gruesome murder. Deborah Yakubu was murdered, and all those behind her death must be brought to justice. My condolences to her family and friends,” the two-time former vice president had said.
But the Turakin Adamawa’s condemnation of Deborah’s murder quickly sparked criticisms from the extremists who stormed his social media pages and threatened not to vote for him in the 2023 elections.
In apparent response to the threats, Atiku deleted the tweets and made another in Hausa language where he disowned the initial posts as not authorized by him.
“This evening, I received information that a post was made that doesn’t agree with my orders. I use this to announce that any post without AA is not from me. May God protect,” the former VP wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
The deletion of his second tweet, however, sparked more outrage from Nigerians, including a harsh response from former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.
“The refusal to condemn the killing of Deborah & the withdrawal of an earlier condemnation is worse than the killing itself. By this @Atiku has murdered Deborah all over again & pissed on her grave. He has also encouraged other sociopaths to come out & commit murder with impunity,” Fani-Kayode said in a tweet on Friday.
Atiku’s media team has yet to issue further statements on the incident and ensuing backlash to the former vice president’s initial remarks. Below are some of the Twitter reactions:
@Shehusky: “Atiku Abubakar deleted his tweet condemning the murder of Deborah In Sokoto because Muslims are threatening not to vote for him. His ambition is more important than human life. A vote for Atiku is a vote for islamists. But a vote for Peter Obi is a vote for humanists.”
@firstladyship: “Atiku practically deleted his Southern votes with that ‘unnecessary’ denial in Hausa. He gave all of us the middle finger. Now he will hear from us. He must go shopping for 11 millions on Alibaba. The ‘Unifier’ just unified his Southern votes against his candidacy.
@mrmacaronii: “Atiku deleting the tweet condemning the gruesome murder of Deborah shows what we have been preaching this whole election season.
Politicians don’t care for the people. They only play to the gallery when seeking for our votes. The people must see beyond these gimmicks…”
@Basil_uka: “Atiku deleting the post he made to condemn the Sokoto killing is a big red flag.”
@firstladyship: “Atiku is in a serious dilemma. Tweeting that condemnation alienated him from his Northern bloc. Deleting it equally alienated him from his Southern bloc. For me, silence is not the answer. He shouldn’t have deleted that tweet, just like Peter Obi condemns killings in his SE (South East).”
@Morris_Monye: “Atiku was not really sympathetic. Tried to appease the South, saw reaction from the North, deleted. He feels it’s better not to offend the North than offend the South because Southerners are slaves and will vote for him anyways. Our Politicians are the wickedest people on earth.”
@OgbeniDipo: “Such a good tweet from Atiku Abubakar condemning the brutal murder of Deborah Yakubu. It’s really embarrassing that it was deleted, especially after his silence about the Pantami saga.”
@ayemojubar: “Atiku is never and will never be the kind of UNIFIER Nigeria needs for such a time as this. A small threat from those terr*rists in the North, he deleted such a critical post. Isn’t that a SIGNAL that he has a soft spot for them like Buhari?”
@Letter_to_Jack: ““Detribalized” Atiku seized that moment to identify with his brothers. He understands that Northern votes are more important to his Presidential ambition than being a sensible person.
“You can’t buy extremist Northerners with money, but you could by appealing to their sentiments”.
@fisayosoyombo: “Atiku deleting that post condemning Deborah’s murder is yet another proof politicians rarely mean what they say; they only say what they think the people want to hear.
“They’ve mastered the art of gallery play & will back down at the slightest threat to their political ambitions.”
@_Samcleave: “Atiku Abubakar basically wanted to play politics with a death of person killed by religious mob, when same people come for him, he deleted his condemnation of their acts, people that in the first place will not vote for him. This man should not be president.”