A witness testifying at the ongoing hearing of the presidential election petition tribunal on Tuesday spoke on the question regarding the nationality of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.
The witness, Mohammed Hayatu, said Mr Atiku’s hometown, Jada, was never part of Cameroon.
His testimony was given on the eighth day of hearing into the PDP’s substantive petition before the tribunal.
According to Mr Hayatu, the part of Cameroon ceded to Nigeria following the 1961 plebiscite did not include Jada where Mr Atiku hails from.
“I am aware that part of Adamawa was part of Cameroon. Jada was not part of Cameroon,” Mr Hayatu said.
Allegation regarding Atiku’s origin
Following allegations by the fugitive leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and some politicians, Mr Atiku’s origin became a topical issue ahead of the 2019 general elections.
In a report published ahead of the elections, Mr Kanu cited the 1961 plebiscite which incorporated the Chamba tribe to Nigeria to buttress his point that Mr Atiku was not a Nigerian. Mr Kanu then requested people from South Eastern parts of Nigeria to avoid participating in the general elections.
Mr Atiku was born in November 1946 to the family of Garba Abubakar, a farmer from Jada a town in Adamawa State.
Jada used to be in Ganye Local Government Area in Adamawa. Ganye is regarded as the mother of the whole Chamba tribe.
This area was never part of Nigeria legally until the February 1961 plebiscite where the people of the then Northern Cameroon voted to join Nigeria.
The area had been entrusted to Britain by a League of Nations mandate in 1919 and later as Trust Territory by the United Nations in 1946, according to an article published on Myculturebase.
A plebiscite was held in British Cameroons to determine whether the people preferred to stay in Cameroon or align with Nigeria. While Northern Cameroon preferred a union with Nigeria, Southern Cameroon chose alignment with the mother country. On June 1, 1961, Northern Cameroon became part of Nigeria, and on October 1, 1961, the southern territory dissolved into Cameroon.
Ganye, which incorporates Atiku’s birthplace of Jada was the headquarters of British Cameroons, but following the plebiscite, joined Nigeria.
During the time of Mr Abubakar’s birth on November 25, 1946, Jada village and other parts of Chambaland in the then Northern Cameroon were still known as British Cameroons.