Nigeria: Atiku Not a Nigerian, Ruling Party Tells Presidential Election Tribunal

Atiku Abubakar

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential poll, Atiku Abubakar, is not a Nigerian.

The party said based on that allegation, Mr Abubakar was not qualified to have contested the presidential election.

The party claimed that the PDP candidate was a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen, adding that his petition against President Muhammadu Buhari should be dismissed for lack of merit.

The APC was replying to the petition of Mr Abubakar and the PDP, praying the tribunal to declare him as the lawful winner of the presidential election.

The party said the 11.1 million votes recorded in favor of the two petitioners should be voided and considered as wasted votes.

The APC's reply to the petition, filed by its lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, faulted the candidacy of Mr Abubakar in the election.

The party averred that Mr Abubakar 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 APC, contrary to the assertion of Mr Abubakar in his petition, he has no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the office of president of Nigeria.

Apart from the issue of the origin of Mr Abubakar, 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 Mr Buhari as raised by Mr Abubakar 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 Mr Buhari.

Mr Abubakar had in his petition to the tribunal, faulted the conduct of the February 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.

Nnamdi Kanu made similar allegations

The allegation that Mr Abuabakar was not a Nigerian was made popular by the fugitive separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Mr Kanu, leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), jumped a bail granted by an Abuja court where he is being prosecuted for treason.

From his hiding outside Nigeria, believed to be in Israel, Mr Kanu in February released broadcast in which he claimed Mr Abubakar was a Cameroonian.

A fact-check by PREMIUM TIMES later showed that while Mr Abubakar, Nigeria's former vice president, was indeed born in a territory that was then not part of Nigeria, the territory and its people are all Nigerians now.

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