…says ex-VP not eligible to run
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential poll, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is not a Nigerian. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the APC had In its claim, said based on the allegation, Atiku was not qualified to have contested the presidential election. The party said Atiku was a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen, adding that his petition against President Muhammadu Buhari, should be dismissed for lack of merit. But in response, the media aide to former Vice President, Mr. Paul Ibe, accused the APC of an attempt to cover up and muddle up the case filed by his principal at the tribunal.
Ibe’s statement was in response to the APC, accusing the former VP of being a foreigner. While speaking with Saturday Telegraph, Ibe said there should be limits to mischief and that decency ought to be a major tenet of the Buhari administration. “Whoever is thinking of that is demented, there are limits to mischief. This is idiotic and very shameful. It is also disrespectful to the Office of the Vice President, which Atiku once held.
“These are contextures, it is clear that don’t have any defence and that is why they are coming up with this. “APC is trying to muddle up the case but we want to be focused on the legal matter. We have a case and we have filed our petition. They are just chasing shadows but won’t be distracted. “We would like to know the definition of a Nigerian. Rather than facing governance, they are chasing shadows.
We are in the bottom of development in Nigeria today”, Ibe said. The APC was replying to the petition of Atiku and the PDP, praying the tribunal to declare him as the lawful winner of the presidential election. The party said that the 11.1 million votes recorded in favour of the two petitioners should be voided and considered as wasted votes. The APC’s reply to the petition, filed by its lead counsel, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), faulted the candidacy of Atiku in the election.
The party averred that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa, in Northern Cameroon and was therefore a citizen of Cameroon and not a Nigerian by birth. According to the APC, contrary to the assertion of Atiku in his petition, he has no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the Office of the President of Nigeria. Apart from the issue of the origin of Atiku, the APC asserted that most of the claims contained in his petition had become statute barred and that the tribunal was not the appropriate place to entertain such. The APC specifically said that the issue of the educational qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari as raised by Atiku could not be treated by the Tribunal.
The party said this was because the period for claims and objections on such issues had expired. It maintained that the petitioners failed and neglected to use the appropriate period to challenge the validity of the educational qualification of Buhari. Atiku had in his petition to the tribunal, faulted the conduct of the Feb. 23 Presidential Election on grounds of non-compliance with relevant electoral laws and other malpractices such as intimidation of voters. The former Vice President and PDP claimed to have scored the majority of the lawful votes in the election and prayed the tribunal to declare them as winners of the election. In the alternative, he prayed for an order for the cancellation of the election and another order by the tribunal directing INEC to conduct a fresh election that would conform to relevant laws. No date has, however, been fixed for hearing of the petition.