2023: Tinubu justifies Atiku’s loss, seeks petition dismissal
The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has justified the loss of the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar at the 2023 presidential election, insisting that the former Vice President is a serial loser and an unstable politician.
The former Lagos State governor argued that Atiku had since 1993 consistently contested and lost elections both at the primary and general elections.
Tinubu, who stood for the election and won on the All Progressives Congress APC’s platform traced the history of Atiku’s loses in the presidential election to 1993 when he reportedly lost the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primary election to the late Chief M.K.O Abiola; in 2007, when he lost the presidential election to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Other elections he cited Atiku lost are in 2011, when he lost the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primary election to President Goodluck Jonathan; in 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 in 2023,
when he has again, lost the presidential election to him.
Tinubu’s facts were contained in his defence to the petition filed against him by Atiku and PDP to challenge his declaration as Nigeria’s President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
In the defence filed by a foremost legal luminary, Chief Wole Oladapo Olanipekun along with 34 other Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs on his behalf, Tinubu asserted that it was not a surprise or by accident that the electorate rejected the 1st petitioner (Atiku) at the polls of the presidential election held on 25th February, 2023.
At the presidential election conducted by INEC (1st respondent) on 25th February, 2023, Tinubu claimed that having polled 8,794,726 votes across Nigeria (which was the highest amongst the 18 candidates at the election), and also satisfied all other requirements, he was validly returned as President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Justifying his own victory, Tinubu claimed.to have always been a most consistent politician, who has not shifted political tendency and alignment while the 1st petitioner (Atiku) has consistently crisscrossed different political parties of Nigeria.
According to him, Atiku was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (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 APC 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.
Tinubu claimed that while he had always carried his supporters along and increased his political follower-ship, Atiku has lost most of his followers in the process of moving from one political party to the other.
In the 2023 general elections, the President elect alleged that the emergence of Atiku as the presidential candidate of the 2nd petitioner (PDP) led to irreconcilable hostilities within the ranks of the party 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.
“Atiku as the st petitioner could not even campaign or canvass for votes in some of the states controlled by the 2nd petitioner, including Rivers and Oyo States where the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) defeated the 1st petitioner (Atiku) by a wide margin.
“The 2nd petitioner (PDP) does not have any right whatsoever or howsoever to be returned as duly elected at the election held on 25th February, 2023, having lost to and/or been beaten/defeated by the respondent. The 1st petitioner, having lost at the election of 25th February, 2023, has no right to and cannot be declared as the winner of the election under the Nigerian laws.
He seeks to tender newspaper publications and and social media contents in respect of the hot hottest opposition to Atiku within PDP.
Besides, Tinubu explained that while Atiku contested the presidential election of 2019
with President Muhammadu Buhari under a fairly cohesive Peoples Democratic Party with Peter Obi as his running mate and Rabiu
Musa Kwankwaso as one of his supporters, the same Peter 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.
He said that 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, (PDP) the South-Eastern States of Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and Anambra used to be controlled by PDP but at the presidential election of 25th February, 2023, they all went the way of Labour Party.
“At a Press Conference addressed by the 1st petitioner (Atiku) on or about 2nd March, 2023, he admitted the negative impact of the balkanisation of the 2nd petitioner on the fortune of his election, particularly, the exit of Peter Gregory Obi from the party.
Tinubu pleads the national newspapers that publicized the 1st petitioner’s press conference, including the Punch of 3rd March, 2023, where the 1st petitioner was reported to have lamented thus: “It is a fact that Peter Obi took our votes from the South-East and South-South, but that wouldn’t make him the President. You need votes from everywhere.”
“As between the 2nd petitioner (PDP) and the 3rd respondent, (APC) while the 3rd respondent is a national party, popular amongst Nigerians, cutting across all divides, the 2nd petitioner has, in the past 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 (Atiku) as its presidential candidate.
“Presently and from 2015 till date, the 3rd respondent APC, 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 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. 20.
He promised to 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 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 found and rely on documents and newspaper reports of the various squabbles in the 2nd petitioner.
“The petitioners complained about outcome of the election in Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kano, Plateau and Lagos States, the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) was not declared as the overall winner in any of the States aforementioned.
“Mr. Peter Gregory Obi of the Labour Party was declared the overall winner of the election in Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Plateau and Lagos States, while Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party was declared winner of the election in Kano State.
“None of Labour Party, Peter Gregory Obi, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and the New Nigeria People’s Party, has been joined as a party to this petition.
“The respondent cannot be made willy-nilly to defend any infraction allegedly committed in any of the States aforementioned.
“The petitioners are 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.”
Besides, Tinubu asserted that the petition by Atiku and the PDP against him is a gross abuse of court process, adding that the petitioners have no right to present this petition, having peremptorily filed an originating summons at the Supreme Court on 28th February,
The president-elect prayed the apex court to assume original jurisdiction on the same subject of their petition and asking the court to nullify the entire presidential election.
He, therefore, asked that the petition be dismissed for lacking in merit, substance, bona fide, sincerity and for also being frivolous, vexatious, highly misconceived, disclosing no reasonable cause of action and for constituting a crass abuse of the judicial process.
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