Atiku finally speaks on defeat at presidential tribunal

Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

Two weeks after the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, lost at the presidential election petition tribunal, he has thanked Nigerians for their support throughout the tribunal sittings.

The tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and Mr Abubakar, its presidential candidate.

The judgment by the five-member tribunal was read by Garba Mohammed.

The tribunal ruled on each of the five arguments by the PDP and Mr Abubakar, and dismissed all of them.

Mr Mohammed said the petitioners failed to prove their petition beyond reasonable doubt and the petition was dismissed in its entirety.

Atiku’s charge

In the letter dated September 20, which he personally signed, the former vice president said he would stop at nothing to regain a mandate freely given to him by Nigerians.

“I write to personally thank you for your support for our shared common goal and the solidarity I enjoyed from all walks of life and every strata of society, right from July 21, 2018, when I informed you, the good people of Nigeria, that I would contest the 2019 Presidential election, to Wednesday, September 11, 2019, when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal rendered its verdict.

“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.

“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.”

The former vice president said ”if he does not play his part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youth and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass his path to significance, he would have failed his Maker.”

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“If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose,” he said.

“And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.”

‘Judicial route’

“It is for this, and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted,” Mr Abubakar said.

He added that those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality, ”will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.”

“‘We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way so that our judiciary is not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation.”

He thanked governors of the PDP and members of the National Working Committee for their support during what he described as ”the judicial struggle.”

Long journey

The PDP and Mr Abubakar challenged the emergence of Mr Buhari as the winner of the 2019 election on several grounds including an allegation that the ”ruling All Progressives Congress worked with the Independent National Electoral Commission to rig the poll”.

The party also questioned Mr Buhari’s academic qualification.

The PDP brought 62 witnesses before closing its case at the tribunal, while Mr Buhari presented seven witnesses.

The electoral body, INEC, had earlier declared Mr Buhari the winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes, while Mr Abubakar as the first runner-up polled 11,262,978 votes.

Mr Abubakar, however, claimed that his party won the elections with over 1 million votes from details seen by the petitioners during its investigation.

Despite the loss at the tribunal, the PDP, and now Mr Abubakar, has vowed to challenge Mr Buhari’s victory at the Supreme Court.

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