Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Atiku’s defeat in presidential poll not by accident – Tinubu tells Tribunal

Bola Tibubu, president-elect, says Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not lose the presidential election by accident.

Tinubu was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential poll with 8,794,726 votes.

Atiku polled 6,984,520, votes and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) came third with 6,101,533.

Challenging Tinubu’s victory in the petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku and the PDP raised several claims including the allegation that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election.

In the preliminary objection opposing the petition, Tinubu described the former vice president as a serial loser.

“It was/is not a surprise and/or not by accident that the electorate rejected the 1st petitioner at the polls of the presidential election held on 25th February, 2023,” Tinubu said.

He said Atiku “has been consistently contesting and losing successive presidential elections in Nigeria since 1993, whether at the party primary election level or at the general election”

He cited that Atiku lost the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primary election to M.K.O Abiola in 1993, lost the presidential election to Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 and lost the PDP presidential primary to Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.

Tinubu further stated that Atiku lost the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in 2014, and the 2019 presidential election under the PDP, in both cases, to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“And now, 2023, when he again, lost the presidential election to the respondent,” Tibubu said.

The president-elect further averred that Atiku’s movement from one party to another has cost him the majority of his supporters.

He said even his emergence as the PDP candidate “led to irreconcilable hostilities within the ranks of the 2nd petitioner (PDP), causing the emergence of a group of governors known all over the country as the G-5 governors – Rivers, Oyo, Enugu, Abia and Benue, who opposed the 1st petitioner and vowed to mobilise their people against him”.

Tinubu’s response filed on Wednesday night by his team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, also accused the petitioners of abusing the court process.

He stated the PDP having earlier filed a suit at the supreme court, through some of its governors, demanding the cancellation of the election, cannot maintain two cases on the same issue in different courts at the same time.

He stated that on February 28, the PDP through its governors in Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Sokoto states filed a suit at the supreme court, demanding among others, that the February 25 presidential election be cancelled.

In summary, Tinubu prayed the tribunal “to dismiss this petition as lacking in merit, substance, bona fide, sincerity; and that same is frivolous, vexatious, highly misconceived, disclosing of no reasonable cause of action, constituting a crass abuse of the judicial process and liable to be dismissed”.

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