The countdown to May 29 handover from President Muhammadu Buhari to President-elect Bola Tinubu is poised to be a legal tussle as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart from Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi, are set to challenge Tinubu’s victory in court.
In separate address to the media, Atiku and Obi, both insisted they were the winners of the keenly contested election which held on February 25th, 2023.
For Obi, despite INEC’s assurances, the Commission allowed political leaders to disappoint youths that trust them, reason for his decision to test the outcome of the election at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
He said: “The election has been conducted and results announced as programmed. It is a clear deviation from the electoral rules and guidelines as we were promised and did not meet the minimum criteria of a free, transparent, credible and fair election devoid of voter intimidation and suppression, and late commencement of voting in some specific states.”
“The poll will probably go down as one of the most controversial elections ever conducted in Nigeria, as the good and hardworking people of Nigeria have again been robbed by the institutions and leaders whom we trusted.”
“I am sure that LP won the presidential election and, therefore, determined to challenge the election in court. Let me reiterate and assure my good people of Nigeria that we will follow all available legal and peaceful procedures to reclaim our mandate.”
“If we seek to be called Your Excellency, then the process through which we are elected should also be excellent or sufficiently credible to generate the required confidence and moral authority to govern and lead.”
He recalled how he was able to recover his mandate when he was rigged out during the Anambra State governorship poll in 2003.
“They have asked me to go to court. I am obedient, I will go to court. Nobody will ever put me under pressure when I challenge a process that is faulty. If the foundation is faulty, there cannot be peace. It is not about us, it is about our children and the society. We went into an election, where someone said this is the route to follow and how he would do things. Then we started and he changed it. It is all about the process, follow the process.”
“I know how the youths feel now. They are disillusioned. We will walk this path together. The people who did this are determined. But we are more determined than them. We will overcome.”
Atiku, however, said the presidential election presented the nation’s greatest opportunity for a reset.
“We had everything going for us: a legal framework in the 2022 Electoral Act and the BVAS technology. The enthusiasm of Nigerians to turn out in large numbers was an added bonus. However, the dreams and aspirations of Nigerians who braced all the challenges to go and cast their votes on Saturday were shattered by the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which failed to live up to expectations. The election was neither free nor fair. Preliminary assessments indicate that it is the worst conducted elections since the return to democratic rule.”
“The manipulation and fraud that attended this election was unprecedented in the history of our nation. I can still not understand why the electoral umpire was in such a hurry to conclude collation and announcement of the result, given the number of complaints of irregularities of bypassing of BVAS, failure to upload to the IReV and unprecedented cancellations and disenfranchisement of millions of voters in breach of the Electoral Act and the Commission’s own guidelines. It was indeed a rape of democracy.”
“Having consulted with leaders of our party and Nigerians from different walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that the processes and outcome of the election was grossly flawed in every material particular, and as such must be challenged. This has been attested to by both local and international observers. I want to believe that this was not the legacy that President Buhari had promised.”
“This battle to right the wrongs of Saturday is not about me. It is a continuation of my battles to deepen democracy and for a better life for our people. It is about the future of Nigerian youths,” Atiku stated.
He also expressed optimism that the judiciary will redeem itself this time around and rise to the society’s expectation as the last hope, arguing that in the end, who wins is not as important as the credibility of our elections and electoral processes.
Atiku also posited that he was not aware of any reconciliatory moves by the President-elect, as was earlier reported that APC had set up a reconciliation committee to meet with Atiku, Obi and other aggrieved candidates who contested the presidential election.
Mwanwhile, Tinubu has started receiving the needed presidential treatment as he will be moved to the Defence House in Maitama, Abuja today. By law, the President-elect will be at the place and start receiving presidential briefings till he will be sworn in as President on May 29 and then move to the Presidential Villa.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), yesterday, disclosed this via its official Twitter page. The tweet reads: “The President-Elect will be moving into Defence House, in Maitama, FCT, where he will spend the next couple of months, and from where he will move into the Presidential Villa.”
Tinubu, yesterday, received members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party at his residence in Abuja, where pledged to work for all Nigerians by working hard from day one to deliver his campaign promises. He added that he would run a fair and inclusive administration that would unite all Nigerians.
The delegation that arrived at his residence on a congratulatory visit at 2:35p.m. had the National Chairman, Senator Adamu Abdullahi; National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel; Deputy National Women Leader, Zainab Ibrahim; Vice Chairman (North-East), Salihu Lukman and National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore, in attendance.
The ruling party has yesterday said it looked forward to meeting Atiku and Obi in court. In a statement by Tinubu’s campaign spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, APC said it welcome the decision of Obi to seek redress in court, which is better than calling supporters to the streets and instigating social unrest.