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HomePoliticsYou're a serial loser, Tinubu replies PDP candidate Atiku's petition

You’re a serial loser, Tinubu replies PDP candidate Atiku’s petition

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President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reminded the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election 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 that “the first 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, and in 2007, when he lost the presidential election to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; 2011, when he lost the People’s Democratic Party presidential primary election to President Goodluck Jonathan; 2015, when he lost the APC; 2019; when he lost the presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari; And now, in 2023, when he has again lost the presidential election to the 2nd respondent (Tinubu).

“It was not a surprise and/or an accident that the electorate rejected the first petitioner at the polls of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023,” Tinubu said.

He noted that Atiku was without a stable political platform and had lost the 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 the 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 emergence of the first petitioner as the presidential candidate of the second petitioner led to irreconcilable hostilities within the ranks of the second petitioner, 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 first petitioner and vowed to mobilize their people against him.

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“While the first petitioner contested the presidential election of 2019 with President Muhammadu Buhari under a fairly cohesive PDP, with Peter Gregory Obi as his running mate and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as one of his supporters, the same Peter Gregory Obi broke away from the PDP to join the Labour Party to contest the presidential election of February 25, 2023, while Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso also broke away from the PDP to contest the presidential election on the ticket of the New Nigeria People’s Party.”

“While Peter Obi polled a total of 6,101,533, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso polled 1,496.887.

“Before the balkanization of the 2nd petitioner, the south-eastern states of Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, and Anambra used to be controlled by the 2nd petitioner, but at the presidential election of February 25, 2023, they all went the way of the LP.”

“At a press conference addressed by the first petitioner on or about March 2, 2023, he admitted the negative impact of the balkanization of the second petitioner on the fortune of his election, particularly the exit of Peter Gregory Obi from the party,” he said.

Tinubu referred to a publication in the Punch newspaper of March 3, 2023, where Atiku was quoted to have stated that:

“It is a fact that Peter Obi took our votes from the southeast and south-south, but that wouldn’t make him president.” You need votes from everywhere.

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.

He faulted the competence of the petition, describing it as not only frivolous but an abuse of the court process, the PDP had 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, marked SC/CV/354/2023, demanding, among other things, that the February 25 presidential election be canceled.

“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 February 28, 2023, this petition was filed on March 21, 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, the conduct of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023.

“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, who insisted that he recorded more than the constitutionally required geographical spread at the election, faulted the petitioners’ interpretation of Section 134 of the Constitution in relation to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He added that “the petitioner’s interpretation of the provisions of Section 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), is strange, disingenuous (with respect), and contrary to the clear letters and spirit of the said provisions and the entire Constitution as a whole.”

“Nigeria’s democracy is not based on electoral college jurisprudence, particularly as it relates to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

“There is no exclusive obligation that for a valid return from a presidential election in Nigeria, a candidate must score 25 percent of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

“The voters in Abuja are not superior to voters in any other part of Nigeria such that a candidate is mandated to score 25 percent in Abuja, which lacks a similar status for other states of the federation.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), does not create special voting rights for voters in Abuja or allocate preferential voting rights either to them or to the FCT.

“The mathematical variables in Section 134 of the Constitution are two, to wit, one-quarter of votes cast and two-thirds of all the states and the FCT, Abuja. The mathematical indices are conjunctive.

“If petitioners’ position was correct, both one-quarter and two-thirds will be applied to the FCT, Abuja, separately.” However, because petitioners know that such a result will result in an absurd situation, they have chosen to apply only the mathematical requirement of one-quarter to Abuja to the exclusion of the second mathematical element of two-thirds.

“In terms of the grammatical and in syntactic construct of Section 134 of the Constitution, the provision for two-thirds is more proximate to Abuja than one quarter, and petitioners’ failure to relate the same to Abuja demonstrates their deliberate attempt to misrepresent the constitution.

“The provisions of the Constitution are meant to apply to the FCT as if it were one of the states of the federation and not an entity superior to the other states of the federation.”

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