Presidential Election: You’ve been losing since 1993, Tinubu replies Atiku - AMEBO NEWSPAPERS NG.


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Presidential Election: You’ve been losing since 1993, Tinubu replies Atiku

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The President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has queried the legal competence of the petition the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, filed to nullify his election.


Tinubu, in a preliminary objection he entered before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, in Abuja, described the PDP candidate as a consistent serial loser that had since 1993, crisscrossed different political parties, in search of power.


The President-elect said he would during the hearing of the petition, lead evidence before the court to show how Atiku’s emergence as a candidate in the presidential election that held on February 25, led to the “balkanisation” of the opposition PDP.


According to him; “The 1st petitioner (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; including 1993, when he lost the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primary election to the late Chief M.K.O Abiola; 2007, when he lost the presidential election to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; 2011, when he lost the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primary election to President Goodluck Jonathan; 2015, when he lost the APC primary election to President Muhammadu Buhari; in 2019, when he lost the presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari; and now, 2023, when he has again, lost the presidential election to the respondent.

“Further to (iv) supra, 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”.


Insisting that he was validly returned as winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Tinubu told the court that unlike Atiku, he has been “a most consistent politician, who has not shifted political tendency and alignment”.


“The 1st petitioner has consistently crisscrossed different political parties of Nigeria, including being a member of the PDP, before joining the Action Congress in 2007, when he was the presidential candidate of the party; returned to the PDP thereafter, before joining the 3rd respondent in 2015, where he contested the primary election with President Muhammadu Buhari, before returning to the PDP in 2019 to emerge as its presidential candidate.


“Arising from paragraph 9 supra, while the respondent has always carried his supporters along and increased his political followership, the 1st petitioner has lost most of his followers in the process of moving from one political party to the other.


“The emergence of the 1st petitioner as the presidential candidate of the 2nd petitioner led to irreconcilable hostilities within the ranks of the 2nd petitioner, 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. The respondent shall at the trial, found and rely on copies of newspaper publications and social media contents in respect of the said subject.

"While the 1st petitioner contested the presidential election of 2019 with President Muhammadu Buhari under a fairly cohesive Peoples Democratic Party with Peter Gregory Obi as his running mate and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as one of his supporters, the same Peter Gregory Obi broke away from the PDP to join the Labour Party to contest the presidential election of 25th February 2023, while Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso also broke away from PDP to contest the presidential election on the ticket of the New Nigeria People’s Party.


“While Peter Obi polled a total number of 6,101,533, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso polled 1,496,687.


“Before the balkanisation of the 2nd petitioner, the South-Eastern States of Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and Anambra used to be controlled by the 2nd petitioner, but at the presidential election of 25th February 2023, they all went the way of Labour Party”.


Tinubu argued that his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is a national party, popular amongst Nigerians, cutting across all divides.


He said the PDP, on the other hand, had in recent years, “been engrossed in intra-party irreconcilable feuds and infighting, both in relation to its national offices and officers, as well as the Convention which produced the 1st petitioner as its presidential candidate”.


“Presently (and/or) from 2015 till date, the 3rd respondent has been the political party in power in Nigeria; it presently has the President of the country, 20 State Governors, 64 Senators, 217 members of the House of Representatives and about 600 members of the States’ Houses of Assembly, nationwide; while the 2nd petitioner has just 14 State Governors, 39 Senators and 111 Members of the House of Representatives.


“In the election that was held on 25th February, 2023 and 18th March, 2023, while the 3rd respondent produced 15 Governors, as against 9 of the 2nd petitioner, it also produced 64 Senators, as against 33 produced by the 2nd petitioner, and 217 Representatives, as against 104 produced by the 2nd petitioner.


“The respondent will lead evidence to prove and demonstrate that from 1999 till date, it has been the consistent pattern that the political party who controlled/controls most of the States, as well as the National and State Assemblies, produced/produce the President, and that the election of 25th February 2023 was no exception.


“This is asides from the misfortune and calamities that have befallen the 2nd petitioner in recent years, even till after the election, where they had to sack their National Chairman. The respondent shall find and rely on documents and newspaper reports of the various squabbles in the 2nd petitioner.


“In reaction to paragraphs 3 and 4 of the petition, the respondent asserts that the 2nd petitioner has lost its relevance and popularity within its own ranks and amongst Nigerians leading to abysmal electoral performance.

“Therefore, at the National Assembly election conducted on the same day as the 2023 presidential election, the 2nd petitioner only won thirty-three (33) out of the One Hundred and Nine (109) Senatorial seats and about 100 out of the Three Hundred and Sixty (360) seats in the House of Representatives.


“Further to 21 above, the fortune of the 2nd petitioner has also dwindled with regard to the number of governors produced by it.

In the 2023 election cycle, the said 2nd petitioner was only able to win 9 governorship seats. The 2nd petitioner’s electoral reputation is contrary to that of the 3rd respondent which has, in the past three election cycles in Nigeria, apart from winning the presidential elections also maintained an emphatic majority in both chambers of the National Assembly as well as a majority of states across Nigeria”, he added.


Besides, Tinubu told the court that though Atiku raised allegations against election results from states that we’re won by both Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, he, however, failed to join them as necessary and desirable parties in the petition.


“Without prejudice to paragraph (v) supra, the petitioners (Atiku and PDP) are also querying the result of elections in all the States where they won the election, including but not limited to Adamawa, Bauchi, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Gombe, Yobe, Sokoto, Osun, Kebbi and Katsina States, without making themselves co-respondents to the petition; whereas, under section 133(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, a party whose election is being challenged shall be made a respondent”, Tinubu stated.


More so, he argued that the petition constituted a gross abuse of the judicial process, noting that six PDP-controlled states had three days after the presidential election, filed a suit before the Supreme Court to nullify the outcome.


He alleged that Atiku sponsored the suit before the apex court which had among other things, accused INEC of sidelining its Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022, by its failure to use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to electronically transmit election results.


“The petitioners herein, through themselves and/or their proxies filed the Originating Summons at the Supreme Court, before filing this petition.


“The petitioners are maintaining two processes in respect of the same subject and/or complaint of theirs, against the conduct of the presidential election held on 25th February, 2023.


“This latter petition is abusive of the Originating Summons filed at the Supreme Court and is liable to be dismissed in limine”, Tinubu insisted.

On the claim that he did not secure the statutory vote from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Tinubu, argued that it was not a mandatory requirement of the law that he must win the FCT before he would be declared as the President-elect.


He said Atiku’s call for his election to be nullified on the ground that he was mandatorily required to score one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the States and the FCT, “becomes suspect and abusive when considered vis-à-vis relief 150(d), where the petitioners pray that the 1st petitioner who did not score one-quarter of the votes cast in more than 21 States and the FCT, Abuja, be declared the winner of the election and sworn in as the duly elected President of Nigeria”.


Likewise, Tinubu, in the process he filed through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, described as ungrantable, Atiku’s alternative prayer for the INEC to be directed to conduct a second election (run-off) between the two of them, noting that the request was not premised on any predicate declaratory relief.


“The further alternative relief 150 (f), which reads thus: ‘that the election to the office of President of Nigeria held on 25th February 2023 be nullified and a fresh (re-run) ordered’ is unguardable, as:


“This Honourable Court has no jurisdiction, whether under the Constitution or the Electoral Act.


“The court can only order a run-off election, between the candidate declared as the winner and the first runner-up, in appropriate cases (not in a case like the election of 25th February 2023) as provided for under section 134 (3) of the Constitution. The said relief is at large”.


Consequently, he prayed the court to not only strike out paragraphs 19 to 150 of the petition for being “nebulous, inchoate, imprecise, incompetent, generic and vague”, but to dismiss the entire case for failure of the petitioners to establish a reasonable cause of action against his election victory.


“Shorn of all hype, hyperbole, grandstanding and frivolities, the petition has no substance in fact, logic and law, as well as disclosing no reasonable cause of action. It deserves to be summarily dismissed, as same constitutes a crass abuse of the judicial process”, Tinubu told the court.

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