Nigeria: Atiku Should Apologise to Nigerians Instead of Appealing Tribunal Judgment - Lai Mohammed

Abubakar Atiku, 2019 presidential candidate for PDP and President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC
12 September 2019

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has asked the PDP and its presidential candidate in the last elections, Atiku Abubakar to apologize to Nigerians for willfully distracting the Buhari administration with a "frivolous election petition", instead of appealing the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

On Wednesday, the presidential election petition tribunal gave its verdict, dismissing the petition filed by the PDP Mr Abubakar, saying the petitioners failed to prove their petition beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr Abubakar, through one of his lawyers, immediately after the judgment, said that he will appeal Wednesday's ruling.

The PDP also described the ruling as shocking and vowed to appeal the judgement.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi, on Thursday, Mr Mohammed said while the PDP and its candidate reserve the right to pursue their petition to the highest level, they will be better served by dropping their "toga of desperation and realizing that there is a limit to tomfoolery".

"Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and will rather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and in court, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to the next level.

"This is more so that the judgement validating the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari was unanimous that the petition lacked merit, that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds upon which their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the poll," he said.

The minister said the PDP and Mr Abubakar should thank their stars that they are not being prosecuted for coming to court with fraudulently-obtained evidence instead of casting aspersion on the judiciary with their poorly-framed reaction to the ruling of the Tribunal.

"It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at every turn will present, in open court, evidence it claimed to have obtained by hacking into a supposed INEC server. Don't they realize this is a criminal act for which they are liable? Instead of threatening to head to the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than commonsense, they should be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense of reasoning. Enough is enough," he said.

The minister commended the tribunal for explaining, in painstaking details that lasted hours, how it arrived at its judgment.

He also thanked Nigerians for their continued support to the Buhari administration.

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