Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019
presidential election, has described as “ridiculous” the claim by the
APC that he is not qualified to contest the election.
The former vice-president said while he will “not dignify” the ruling
party with a response, the assertion suggests they have admitted to
“tramping on the will of Nigerians” during the election.
In its response to Atiku’s petition challenging the outcome of the
election, the APC had said the PDP candidate is not a Nigerian by birth
and so, is unqualified to run for president.
Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to APC, argued that Atiku was born on November
25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa state, which was then in Northern Cameroon;
hence, he’s a citizen of Cameroon.
But in a statement issued by Paul Ibe, Atiku’s spokesman, the former VP
said while he based his case on “facts and statistical evidence,” the
APC’s only defence is “to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of
the term ‘Nigerian’.”
He said rather than question his origin, those who made Nigeria become
the world poverty capital are “the very people whose Nigerianness should
be in doubt.”
“The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous
assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to
Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government,
whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019,” Atiku said in the statement
issued on Saturday.
“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching
desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer.
Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I
want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its
candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they
trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to
attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’.
“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the
Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with
the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of
law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as
He added that he has committed his assets and talents to developing
Nigeria “through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and
hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.”
“I make bold to state that those who have made Nigeria the world
headquarters for extreme poverty are the very people whose Nigerianness
should be in doubt, and not a man, who worked with President Olusegun
Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than
eight years,” Atiku added.