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Presidential Poll: Let’s Meet In Court, APC Tells PDP

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared its readiness to meet the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in last Saturday’s election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the law courts should they make good their threat to challenge the result of the presidential election.

APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, revealed the party’s position at a news conference yesterday in Abuja.

LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that Atiku and his party had rejected the results of last Saturday’s presidential election in which the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) declared President Muhammadu Buhari winner, alleging irregularities and vowing to challenge it in court.

However, the APC is already looking forward to defending its victory in the law court.

Oshiomhole said, “You cannot possibly deny anyone the right to dispute the outcome of an election, however free and fair, but like me, when I believed I was cheated out, I went to court and I mobilised my evidence, I had the benefit of being very resourceful. So, we hope and we are looking forward to meeting Atiku Abubakar in court.”

He also chided Atiku for thinking that the country’s future was tied to his presidency, even as pointed out that the Adamawa-born politician was not destined to be Nigeria’s president.

“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. 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 defected to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); I was in ACN then. We offered him the ticket. Like Fr. 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 again contested the primaries against Jonathan and he lost the nomination. Because of his sole interest, he defected again from PDP and returned to APC. He joined us in Lagos, rolled out the dollars and President Muhammadu Buhari had to say to APC people, myself inclusive, that he had no dollars to give; that he did not have Intels or Itel; that he did not have foreign account and that even if he had, he would not give. The APC men 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 realised 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?”, he queried.

Apparently speaking on the complaints of rigging from the camp of Atiku and the PDP, the APC chairman said they were only crying foul because they were not allowed to defraud the electorate as they had done in the past due to improvements in the electoral system.

“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 try to improve the electoral process such that rigging can be eliminated or reduced to a tolerable level,” he said, adding that despite its overall victory, it still has complaints about rigging in some places.

“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 in Adamawa State.

“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 in 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,” he said.

…PMB Not Jittery Over Atiku’s Plan To Challenge Result – SGF

Similarly, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said that the Buhari administration is not bothered about Atiku Abubakar’s decision to challenge the result of the recently concluded presidential election in court.

Speaking to State House correspondents on Wednesday night, Mustapha noted that any aggrieved person had the right, under the country’s constitution and the Electoral Act, to approach the court if he is not satisfied with the results of the election.

He, therefore, encouraged the PDP candidate in the presidential election to toe that line, as already indicated.

“We are not jittery at all because the process was open and transparent. It was a credible election and we will continue to savour in 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. We encourage them to go along that path,” he said.

The SGF assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari will 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 have this opportunity to now consolidate on the tenets and gains of our democracy.”

…Don’t Incite opposition, Presidency Tells  Supporters

Following the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the just concluded presidential elections, the presidency has appealed to the supporters of the president not to incite the opposition as they celebrate his victory .

Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday, the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, cautioned those celebrating the electoral success to control their jubilations so as not to do anything that could infuriate the opposition.

He  also advised all candidates for the governorship and House of Assembly elections to measure their campaign words to ensure better peace and order than was seen during the presidential and National Assembly elections.

“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 said.

According to him, the real winners in the election are the Nigerian voters who trooped out enmasse to vote on Saturday.

“The real winners 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, we congratulate and welcome them. We are praying that their actions should also be conciliatory. In the next election we are going in on March 9, next week, we should look at it, as a party and as a government, the areas and the pitfalls and address them so that there would be peaceful election.

“I will advise that all those who are going for the election, the governorship candidates and the House of Assembly candidates who are going in for the elections, they should also measure their campaign words and they should maintain peace better than was maintained in the presidential and National Assembly elections.

“I will urge the opposition party which has lost, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be measured in their statements and reactions and their decisions. If they have grievance, let pursue the appropriate constitutional channel – with a petition,” he added.

Senator Enang also commended the security agencies for maintaining peace during the exercise and appealed to them to remain unbiased.

“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 the monitors and the international community would be sustained,” he said.

Abdulsalami Peace Committee Visits Atiku

The National Peace Committee (NPC) led by former head of state, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, met with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last night.

It was gathered that the peace committee met with Atiku at his residence in Abuja.

The meeting, held behind close-doors, was convened shortly after Atiku’s declared his intension to  challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in court.

Speaking shortly after the meeting, Gen. Abubakar said the mission of the committee was to douse the rising tension in the aftermath of the presidential election.

It was also gathered that Atiku had mandated his legal team to proceed with filing his petition.

The party source, who confirmed the meeting on condition of anonymity, said, “Yes, the committee visited the PDP presidential candidate at his residence but I don’t know what was discussed.”

Besides Abubakar, other members of the committee that visited Atiku were the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese,  Matthew Kukah, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and Rev. Fr. Atta Barkindo of the NPC Secretariat.

Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi; Senate President Bukola Saraki; PDP chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; Speaker Yakubu Dogara, and other PDP leaders were also in attendance.

However, this was not the first interaction Atiku has had with the  committee. Atiku, during his world press conference in Abuja, revealed how he complained about last Saturday’s election to Abubakar when the former head of state reached out to him.

Atiku said, “As I have always said, this year is my three decades in Nigeria’s struggle for democracy. And this is the worst election in those 30 years. I told Gen Abdsulsalami two nights ago when he called me that not even the military conducted such a bad election. This is a long journey but I am confident of victory.

All hope is not lost, stay strong.”

Atiku has since dismissed the election as a grand theft of the people’s will and vowed to contest the legitimacy of the election in court.

The former vice president, who claims that the PDP has the true figures of the election as collated at the polling units, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration of suppressing votes in PDP strongholds and allowing the bloating of votes in states considered to be strongholds of the ruling party.

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