- APC’s Claim Idiotic, Atiku Fires Back
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the presidential election petition tribunal that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 poll, Atiku Abubakar, is not a Nigerian and therefore not qualified to have stood for the election.
In its reply to the petition of Atiku and the PDP challenging the outcome of the presidential election result, the APC claimed that the former Vice President is a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen.
While urging the tribunal to dismiss Atiku’s petition against its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari for lacking in merit, APC said that the 11.1 million votes recorded in favor of Atiku and the PDP should be voided and considered a waste by the presidential election petition tribunal. Besides, the APC’s reply to the petition, filed by its lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) faulted the candidacy of Atiku in the election insisting that as a Cameroonian, he ought not to have taken part in the presidential poll of Nigeria in the first instance.
The party averred that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa, in Northern Cameroon and is therefore a citizen of Cameroon and not a Nigerian by birth. Going down memory lane, APC claimed that prior to 1919, Cameroon was being administered by Germany and that following the defeat of Germany in World War 1, which ended in 1918, Cameroon became part of a League of Nations which consisted of French Cameroon and British Cameroon in 1919.
APC further argued that in 1961, a plebiscite was held in British Cameroon to determine whether the people preferred to stay in Cameroon or align with Nigeria.
According to the party, while Northern Cameroon preferred a union with Nigeria, the Southern Cameroon chose alignment with the mother country and that it was as a result of the plebiscite that Northern Cameroon, which included Adamawa, became a part of Nigeria. APC therefore said that contrary to the assertion of Atiku in his petition, he (Atiku) had no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019. The party averred that by reason of Atiku not having qualified to contest the election, all votes purportedly cast for him and the PDP in the February 23 election are wasted votes.
Besides the issue of the origin of Atiku, the APC asserted that most of the claims contained in his petition have become statute barred and that the tribunal is not the appropriate forum to entertain same. It said that the issue of educational qualification of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, raised by Atiku cannot be treated by the tribunal because the period for claims and objections on such issues has expired and that the petitioners failed and neglected to use the appropriate period to challenge the validity of the educational qualification of Buhari as contained in the form CF001, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commis- sion (INEC) in the general election.
According to the APC, the petitioners have waived their right to challenge the propriety of information contained in the form CF001 of President Buhari. The APC also faulted the allegations of non-compliance with relevant laws made by Atiku and PDP, adding that their failure to make specific references to the compliance issue has fatal effect on the petition and therefore the petition did not have enough material to justify the ground of any relief sought.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the petition.
APC’s Claim Idiotic, Says Atiku
Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar has dismissed the petition by the APC contesting his citizenship as “idiotic”.
Atiku, who spoke through his media aide, Paul Ibe, told Saturday Sun, yesterday, that it is an insult to Nigerians and the office of Vice President, which he occupied for eight years, for the APC to allege that he is not a Nigerian.
He said everything must not be about politics. According to him, “That is idiotic. It is idiotic. And it is ridiculous. Atiku Abubakar is a former Vice President of Nigeria. Are they telling us that a former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not a Nigerian? That is disrespectful to Nigerians and for the office he has held, which other people will hold and will continue to hold. Everything must not be on the altar of politics.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the PDP leadership to the development, as at the time of filing this report, was unsuccessful as the opposition party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, did not respond to repeated calls to his mobile line.