The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, whose candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari was declared re-elected by INEC earlier in the week has said that it is ready to meet the opposition candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in court whenever he makes good his threat to challenge the outcome of the presidential election in court.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lanre Issa- Onilu; National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and National Treasurer, APC, Mr. Adamu Panda, during the party’s press briefing in reaction to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rejection of the just concluded presidential election in Abuja. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan. At a news conference in Abuja yesterday, National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said: “You cannot possibly deny anyone the right to dispute the outcome of an election, however free and fair, but like myself, when I believed I was cheated out, I went to court and I mobilized my evidences. ‘’So, we hope and we are looking forward to meeting Atiku Abubakar in court. We might also choose to also cross-petition because there were many areas we can dispute.”
Also, the Presidency yesterday said that it is not perturbed by the decision of candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the outcome of the February 23 Presidential election in court. It also appealed to the supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari not to incite the opposition party to anger as they celebrate his victory in the election. President Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was in the early hours of Wednesday declared winner of the presidential election by chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who was also the Returning Officer for the presidential poll.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a dinner hosted by President Buhari for some APC members at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, who spoke for the Presidency, said the Constitution and the Electoral Act made provisions for any candidate dissatisfied with election result to seek redress in court. “We are not jittery at all because the process was open and transparent. It was a credible election and we will continue to savour the victory but in the process too, we will extend the hand of friendship for the purpose of nation building and reconciliation. “Our Electoral Act and the Constitution have both provided a window for whoever is dissatisfied with the process of election to seek redress. That is the path and we will encourage them to go along that path,’’ he said. The SGF assured Nigerians that President Buhari would do more for them in his second term, especially in the area of infrastructure development. He said: “Looking into the future of the country, the President is very clear about what he wants to do. He will stand on the three pivot points that he pushed forward in 2015 — securing the nation, diversifying the economy and also fighting corruption with all intensity. “There will be inclusiveness all over the place. This is one government that has really invested in social infrastructure by bringing people who are below the poverty level up and out of poverty. “There are so many things that we are looking forward to and I am very thrilled and grateful that we had this opportunity to now consolidate on the tenets and gains of our democracy.” For govs, legislators The Presidency also advised all candidates for the governorship and House of Assembly elections to measure their campaign words to ensure maintenance of peace better than what was seen during the presidential and National Assembly elections. Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, gave the advice after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. While congratulating the President and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on the victory at the poll, Enang told those celebrating the success to be temperate and humble so as not to do anything that could infuriate the opposition. He said: “Let me first of all congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the victory as president and vice president on the Next Level and the All Progressives Congress, APC. “What we as a government and a people should do is to ensure that our statements, our actions, our celebrations and our reaction to those who lost should be tempered, temperate, measured, humble and such that are not capable of inciting the other party to anger.” He told those that won as senators and members of the House of Representatives to talk to their followers to speak less and work more to bring about unity and integration of those who lost. “The real winner in this election are the Nigerian voters, and we are conscious that about 11 million people voted for the other party, while 15 million voted for our party. ‘’For the incoming members of the National Assembly who have been re-elected as senators and members of the House of Representatives, our duty is to congratulate them; for those who are elected new and are coming in, we congratulate and welcome them. “We are praying that their actions should also be conciliatory. In the next election we are going into on March 9, we should as a party and government, look into the pitfalls of the last election and address them so that there would be peaceful election. “I will advise that all those who are going for the election, campaigning, the governorship candidates and the House of Assembly candidates who are going in for the elections to also measure their campaign words and maintain peace better than was maintained in the presidential and National Assembly elections.” He said in the forthcoming governorship and House of Assembly elections, tempers would likely go high because the positions are closer to the people. “This election is closer to the people; closer to the grassroots and tempers are likely to be higher, so they should measure their campaign actions and speeches,” Enang said. Senator Enang commended security agencies for maintaining peace during the exercise and appealed to them to maintain the tempo. He added: “The military agencies did well; they should maintain the tempo as they did so that their neutrality will be sustained; the police, the Army, NSCDC and all other security agencies should maintain absolute neutrality in that exercise; they should sustain that so that the credibility that has been given to this election by monitors and the international community should be sustained. “Finally, I will urge the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has lost, to be measured in their statements and reactions and their decisions. If they have grievance, let them pursue the appropriate constitutional channel of a petition.” Atiku not destined to rule — Oshiomhole Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has promised to meet the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar in court, saying he (Atiku) was never destined to be Nigeria’s president. “You cannot possibly deny anyone the right to dispute the outcome of an election, however free and fair, but like myself, when I believed I was cheated out, I went to court and I mobilized my evidences. ‘’So, we hope and we are looking forward to meeting Atiku Abubakar in court. We might also choose to also cross petition because there were many areas we can dispute. In Adamawa State, he had already lost the election before he did some magic that gave him that narrow victory there,” National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said at a news conference in Abuja, yesterday. Speaking further, Oshiomhole said: “Rather than Atiku thinking that rigging has come to stay and could not understand why the numbers can’t add up in the absence of massive rigging, he should be reminded that the essence of the collective effort that has been made and the intervention of genuine friends of Nigeria has been to improve the electoral process such that rigging can be eliminated or reduced to a tolerable level. “We have a petition that we have written to INEC — how we were rigged out in Akwa Ibom State and it is interesting that it is PDP that is complaining about the outcome of election in Akwa Ibom State. “How do you explain that INEC cancelled so many units, not only in Akwa Ibom State but also so many other states in order to be able to declare PDP candidates as winners? That is how Senator Akpabio was rigged out in Akwa Ibom State. “When he said even if he would die, he would sell NNPC, many believed that he had already collected deposit and so if those depositors now see that it cannot be business as usual and decide to take their flight, we don’t even want them to come back. ‘’Was he going to rule Nigeria against our wish? Citizens must hold their leaders accountable to their policy choices. “I think it also borders on arrogance for Atiku Abubakar to suggest that our future is tied to his presidency. Atiku is destined never to be president of Nigeria and I ask you to review his character during the election. Back to history ‘’Leadership is about character. Atiku’s desperation is so obvious, so desperate that in 2003, it is on record he challenged his own boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, not to do a second term and in the end, they fought naked at Wuse market.
Subsequently, Atiku decamped to join ACN. I was in ACN then. We offered him the ticket. Like Father Mbaka would say, Atiku became like a big bird, like a vulture that couldn’t fly and he lost that election. ‘’Once he lost, he returned to PDP. He contested again the primaries against Jonathan and he lost the nomination. Because of his sole interest, he decamped again from PDP and returned to APC. ‘’He joined us in Lagos, rolled out the dollars and President Muhammad Buhari had to say to APC people, myself inclusive, that he had no dollars to give, that he does not have Intels, that he did not have foreign account and that even if he had, he would not give. ‘’The APC guys who couldn’t resist Atiku’s dollars collected those dollars and voted for Buhari as our candidate. Once he lost the nomination and he did his calculation and realized that it was highly improbable that he would be able to defeat President Buhari in our primaries, he again took flight and went back to the PDP. ‘’Can you recount how many times he has camped, recamped, decamped? Now, such a political rolling stone, does he think that Nigerians are so insane as to think that a man who is not stable, who has no conviction, whose interest is about himself and who has confessed that he was going into this race, according to him, to enrich his friends, is the credible candidate to be elected at a time like this? ‘’So, what is it that makes him have that sense of entitlement that he must be president of Nigeria?” PDP reacts Meanwhile, reacting to Oshiomhole’s claim that Atiku Abubakar was not electable as president of Nigeria, spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said PDP does not take Oshiomhole’s utterances with seriousness.