Politics

Presidential Election Litigation: Atiku, Tinubu fight dirty over alleged intimidation of judiciary 

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25, 2023 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are literally fighting dirty over allegation of judiciary intimidation.

 

Atiku yesterday raised the alarm over what he described as a sinister plot by Tinubu to undermine the Nigerian judiciary as well as democracy.

 

All Progressives Congress (APC) fired back, last night, describing the alarm as arrant nonsense, reports Sunday Vanguard.

 

President Bola Tinubu also responded, advising Atiku to allow the judiciary to carry out its duty without harassment.

 

Atiku raised the alarm in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, in Abuja yesterday.

 

He explained that since the conclusion of the presidential election in February and the attendant controversies in its trail, there have been unfortunate developments that are saddening to many Nigerians.

 

According to him, it was needless to say that the election that brought the current government into office is the worst in the annals of democratic politics in our country, even though it was promised to be the best ever.

 

He said, “Consequently, the outcome of that election and the arbitrariness of the electoral umpire to declare a winner against the requirement of the law has been the reason Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria (1999-2007) and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and other parties in the election have chosen the patriotic path to challenge the outcome of that election.

 

“It is a truism that the judiciary is the only reasonable option in the quest for justice. As a matter of fact, our judiciary and the interpretations that they have given to our laws have been a major building block in our democratic journey so far.

 

“Our laws are very clear about the prerequisite of separation of powers as a guarantee of an independent judiciary.

 

“The idea behind that concept of an independent judiciary is to insulate that branch of government from unholy fraternity between its hallowed members and the rest of the society – especially the political actors.

 

“But as proceedings on the controversial February 25 election continues at the court, there have been threats from the ruling party that aim to intimidate the judiciary from serving the duty of justice.

 

“It is regrettable that the APC and, indeed, agents of President Bola Tinubu have ceaselessly chosen to stand in the way of justice by making catastrophic threats to anarchy if justice is not served according to their whims.

 

“These and reports in the media about some heinous plots to harass justices sitting on the petition are ominous to peace and the security of our nation.”

 

But APC said last night that Atiku and the PDP were merely looking for an alibi to cover their expected failure at the tribunal.

 

A statement by the APC spokesman, Felix Morka, read: “Quite frankly, there is nothing in Atiku Abubakar’s statement that is worth a reaction from the APC. It is just arrant nonsense, totally lacking in substance and cogency. Its only imaginable purpose is a childish attempt to float an alibi to deflect the shame of a highly probable defeat in court, having miserably failed to make out a credible case to justify his bogus claim that he won the last Presidential Election.

 

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and our party won the election convincingly. We have full faith and confidence in our courts to dispense electoral justice in accordance with our Constitution and all applicable laws”.

 

In his reaction also last night, Tinubu said Atiku attempting to discredit an important institution of state for selfish political end is disingenuous, shameful and unbecoming of a former vice president of Nigeria.

 

The president, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications & Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, in a statement, advised the PDP presidential candidate to stop his alleged desperation.

 

He said, “We have read the laughable and jejune statement by former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Candidate in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

 

“It is obvious that having been thoroughly defeated by the All Progressives Congress and now President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Vice President has not fully recovered from the shock of defeat, hence the current attempt to mischievously rake up another round of inanities that offend basic logic and rational thinking.

 

“In the ill-thought-out and illogical statement, Alhaji Atiku accused the current administration of the governing APC of plotting to undermine the judiciary without providing any shred of evidence.”

 

Apart from innuendos, insinuations and outright lies contained in the said press statement, the former Vice President Atiku didn’t put forward any convincing argument to support his claims on how the President Tinubu-led administration and APC sought to undercut, undermine and compromise the judiciary.

 

“If the former vice president believes in democracy and the sanctity of the Judiciary, as claimed, he would not engage in making spurious and wild allegations aimed at disparaging and discrediting an important arm of government that should serve as the bulwark for our democracy.

 

“He shamelessly resorted to this cheap attempt to intimidate and blackmail the Judiciary even when he is party to a case before the Presidential Election Petition Court.

 

“Let it be said that when it comes to matters of fighting for democracy and democratic ideals, rule of law and independence of Judiciary in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu stands shoulder above Atiku Abubakar. When President Tinubu was leading the charge against the emasculation of the judiciary and promoting the sanctity of rule of law as the building block for good governance as Governor of Lagos State between 1999-2007, under a PDP central government, Alhaji Atiku was nowhere to be found.

 

“It is on record and to his eternal credit that President Tinubu, through the instrumentality of the law and Judiciary, successfully challenged many of the draconian and obnoxious decisions of the PDP-led Federal Government that trampled on the rights of the States as federating units. Lagos State under the leadership of the then Governor Tinubu won over 13 cases up to the Supreme Court against the hydra-headed PDP administration at the centre.

 

“No leader with such a sterling and enviable credential as a champion of rule of law, independence of judiciary like President Tinubu will ever contemplate undermining the Judiciary as alleged by Alhaji Atiku.

 

“President Tinubu won a free, fair and credible election. The February 25, 2023 Presidential election that produced him is the most transparent election ever conducted in Nigeria since 1999.

 

“President Tinubu and the APC absolutely have no reason to undermine the judiciary in the hope of any favourable judgement.

 

“His lawyers and that of APC have presented very solid defence of the result of the election and we are sure the judiciary will impartially deliver its ruling on the basis of points of law and evidence before it, not based on presumptuous speculations and unfounded accusations.

 

“Atiku Abubakar should be honourable enough as a statesman to allow the Judiciary perform its sacred duty without harassment and this resort to self-help. Attempting to discredit an important institution of State for selfish political end is disingenuous, shameful and unbecoming of a former vice president of Nigeria.This desperation must stop.”

 

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