The President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has reminded the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election Atiku Abubakar that he has always lost in his bid to lead the country since 1993.
Tinubu asked Atiku not to see his loss at the last election as strange, arguing that it would have been a miracle for the PDP and its candidate to win in view of the balkanization of the party before and during the election.
He noted: “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; 2019, when he lost the presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari; and now, 2023,
when he has again, lost the presidential election to the 2nd respondent (Tinubu).
“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,” Tinubu said.
He noted that Atiku was without a stable political platform and has lost majority of his key supporters, in view of his habit of jumping from one political party to another.
Tinubu equally noted that Atiku’s emergence as PDP’s candidate fueled the crisis in the party, resulting in five of its sitting governors resolving to work against him and ensure he lost.
The President-elect said these in his response to the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), in which they are praying to be declared the winner or for the court to order a rerun.
Tinubu’s response was filed on Wednesday night by his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
He faulted the competence of the petition, describing it as not only frivolous, but an abuse of the process of court, the PDP having earlier filed a suit at the Supreme Court, through some of its governors, demanding the cancellation of the election.
He argued that the PDP and Atiku cannot maintain two cases on the same issue in different courts at the same time.
Tinubu noted that on February 28, the PDP through its governors in
Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Sokoto states filed a suit at the Supreme Court, demanding among others, that the February 25 presidential election be cancelled.
‘The plaintiffs attacked INEC for not following its Manual and Regulations in the conduct of the election, and also complained of glitches, which is also the thrust of their petition.
“While the originating summons (in the suit before the Supreme Court) was filed on 28th February, 2023, this petition was filed on 21st March, 2023.
“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.
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“This latter petition is abusive of the originating summons filed at the Supreme Court and is liable to be dismissed in limine,” he said.
Tinubu also faulted the competence of the petition on the grounds that Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Rabiu Musa
Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) were excluded despite the fact that the petitioners were contesting the results from the states won by LP and NNPP.
“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 New Nigeria People’s Party has been joined as a party to this petition.
“The 2nd respondent cannot be made willy-nilly to defend any infraction allegedly committed in any of the states afore-mentioned.
“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.”