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Tinubu, Atiku continue feud after S/Court verdict

The political rivalry between President Bola Tinubu and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar, assumed…

The political rivalry between President Bola Tinubu and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar, assumed a new twist yesterday as they exchanged harsh words over the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Atiku had approached the Presidential Elections Petition Tribuna to challenge the declaration of Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the winner.

After the tribunal dismissed his case and upheld Tinubu’s victory, Atiku headed for the Supreme Court and subsequently sought to include additional “forgery evidence” which he obtained from the Chicago State University, but the apex court objected to this on the grounds that plea was made outside the 180-day mandatory period stipulated by the law.

Addressing a world press conference at the PDP headquarters in Abuja yesterday, Atiku described the Supreme Court’s judgment as ‘bandit robbery’ saying “if the highest court in the land implies by its judgment that crime is good and should be rewarded, then Nigeria is doomed irrespective of who occupies the presidential seat. 

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But the presidency fired back, saying it was Atiku’s inordinate ambition to be president that was doomed. Atiku said the judgement had shown that the judiciary had become the lost hope of the common man and that the consequences of those decisions for the country would not end at the expiration of the current government.

“They will last for decades. I’m absolutely sure that history will vindicate me. We now know what the Supreme Court has decided”, he said. Atiku said the position of the Supreme Court, even though final, leaves so much unanswered: “Even the rebuke by retired Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad is a confirmation from within the apex court that all is not well with the Supreme Court. The court and indeed the judiciary must never lend itself to politicization as it is currently the norm with nearly every institution in Nigeria.” 

 He also alleged that the apex court’s verdict had eroded trust in the electoral system and democracy, saying that, when people lose trust and confidence in elections, democracy is practically on life support. 

“When two critical institutions like the court and the electoral commission are trapped in an evil web of political machination, it becomes next to impossible for democracy to thrive. As a stakeholder in the presidential election of February 25, I, along with other well-meaning Nigerians have done my bit in ensuring that our democratic process enjoys the privilege of full disclosure of the character deficiencies of the current political leadership. 

“The other grave implication is that contestants in Nigeria’s elections should do whatever is necessary to be declared the winner. That includes identity theft, impersonation, forging of educational and other documents, perjury, and violence. And, as they do so, they should ignore whatever the law says and whatever assurances from the leadership of the electoral umpire about what the law says and what they would do in compliance. And they would do so knowing that our courts would approve of their behaviour or at best pretend not to take any notice of it.  

“The third is that if you are robbed of victory, do not bother going to court for redress because your glaring evidence of the robbery will be ignored in favour of the mandate bandit. Also, your lawyers, however distinguished and accomplished, may be ridiculed by the judges who may also go out of their way to make even a stronger case for the so-called “winner” than even their own lawyers were able to do. 

“Only lawlessness and anarchy will result from such, with violence, destruction and implosion and loss of our country likely to follow. I believe that we still have a small window to prevent these from happening. I still believe that we can rescue this country from the strange imposters that have seized it illegally and are holding it by the jugular.” Atiku said. 

While suggesting that litigations in any disputed elections should be thrashed out before the winner is sworn in, Atiku said: “The current time frame between elections and inauguration of winners is inadequate to dispense with election litigations. What we have currently is akin to asking thieves to keep their loot and use the same to defend themselves while the case of their robbery is being decided. It only encourages mandate banditry rather than discourages it.”

Atiku also proposed a single six-year tenure for the president of the country. He noted: “I am not going away. For as long as I breathe I will continue to struggle, with other Nigerians, to deepen our democracy and rule of law and for the kind of political and economic restructuring the country needs to reach its true potential. That struggle should now be led by the younger generation of Nigerians who have even more at stake than my generation. 

“We can urgently make constitutional amendments that will prevent any court or tribunal from hiding behind technicalities and legal sophistry to affirm electoral heists and undermine the will of the people. Our democracy must mean something; it must be substantive. Above all, it must be expressed through free, fair, and transparent elections that respect the will of the people. 

“We must make electronic voting and collation of results mandatory. This is the 21st century and countries less advanced than Nigeria are doing so already. It is only bold initiatives that transform societies. Secondly, we must provide that all litigation arising from a disputed election must be concluded before the inauguration of a winner. This was the case in 1979. 

“In order to ensure popular mandate and real representation, we must move to require a candidate for President to earn 50% +1 of the valid votes cast, failing which a run-off between the top two candidates will be held. Most countries that elect their presidents use this Two-Round System (with slight variations) rather than our current First-Past-the-Post system. Examples include France, Finland, Austria, Bulgaria, Portugal, Poland, Turkey and Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, and even Liberia where a run-off is expected to hold in the coming days.   

“Also, in order to reduce the desperation of incumbents and distractions from governing and also to promote equity and national unity, we need to move to a single six-year term for President to be rotated among the six geo-political zones. This will prevent the ganging up of two or more geo-political zones to alternate the presidency among themselves to the exclusion of other zones.”


Atiku’s inordinate ambition doomed – Presidency

 Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy, in a statement, said Atiku “must now end his unprofitable bid and go away from any venture that will further pollute the political atmosphere and national harmony.”  

“Nigeria is not doomed. It is only Atiku’s inordinate ambition to be President that is doomed. Nigeria is moving forward and set to achieve its manifest destiny as one of the most respected and successful nations of the world under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

“The PDP candidate was uncharitable and pugnacious in his choice of words and his view about Nigeria. We can only imagine the level of frustration that could make a former Vice President of Nigeria hold such a pessimistic view of a country where he once occupied the second-highest position. The PDP candidate said Nigeria is doomed just because he failed to achieve his personal ambition. 

“Contrary to Atiku’s gloomy submission on our democracy, we are excited to tell the world that our democracy is thriving and blossoming. It is the reason, for the first time, since 1999 the character of our National Assembly and its outlook reflect the diversity and plurality of the choices and preferences of voters as a rainbow coalition of different parties as opposed to the practice in the past where just two parties dominated the national parliament.  

“In today’s Nigeria, votes count. No amount of deliberate distortions of facts about our recent election by Alhaji Atiku and his partner, Peter Obi can vitiate the continuous improvement of our electoral process which local and international observers have hailed. As declared by the Supreme Court, IReV was not designed as an online collation centre. It was simply a public viewing centre for results.

“PDP and Atiku, including Peter Obi’s faction of Labour Party cannot continue to insist on their own reality against commonsense, logic and the law.

“There was no way Atiku and PDP could have won the election with the party platform under which he contested broken into four parts. If Atiku was not harboring a delusion of grandeur, we wonder how he could have envisaged any possible pathway to victory with Mr. Peter Obi’s Labour Party, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s NNPP and PDP G-5 Governors who took away possible PDP votes, while the APC went into the election as a strong, viable and unified entity.  

“Atiku claims he loves Nigeria and embraces “integrity” so much. We found such a claim to be sheer hypocrisy as Atiku remains one of the worst examples of kleptocracy in Africa. The US Congress lists Atiku’s money laundering as one of the very rare cases of corruption at the highest level of governance in the world.  

“His avarice sent Congressman William Jefferson to jail after the FBI busted a bribery scandal in which Atiku was involved from head to toe and for which he was marked down by the U.S. agency. 

“Now as we get to the proper business of governance after Atiku’s unwarranted distraction, we have picked some clear lessons going forward. One is that our institutions must be strengthened on diligent and sturdy wings, enough to withstand and identify from afar rabble-rousers who masquerade as statesmen. 

“Second, our institutions must also ensure that corrupt, desperate, self-serving serial losers should not have a space in our democracy because if they don’t win the battle, they might burn the nation. 

“We want to advise Atiku that after over three decades of elusive bid for the Presidency of Nigeria, he must now end his unprofitable bid and go away from any venture that will further pollute the political atmosphere and national harmony”, Onanuga said. 


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