Atiku a Cameroonian, His Votes Invalid, APC Tells Election Tribunal
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja that former vice president Atiku Abubakar cum the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential election is not a Nigerian.
The allegation was made about three weeks after the former vice president got the nod of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to serve his petition against the outcome of the presidential election on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and winner of the poll, President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ruling APC in its formal response to Atiku’s petition cited by THISDAY, declared that in the first instance, he (Atiku) was not eligible to contest the election on grounds of his nationality.
In a swift reaction last night, Atiku, through his media adviser, Mr. Paul Ibe, described APC’s response as idiotic, shameful and disrespectful to the office he once occupied as vice president of Nigeria.
According to the APC, since the former vice president is a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen, his petition against Buhari, should therefore be dismissed for lacking in merit.
Atiku and the PDP had on March 19, 2019, filed the petition against the declaration of Buhari as winner of the February 23 poll.
Their petition which was anchored on five grounds, prayed the tribunal to annul Buhari’s victory on grounds that the election was characterised by widespread rigging, violence and substantial non- compliance with electoral laws.
They also urged the tribunal to disqualify Buhari over alleged non possession of requisite academic qualification for the office of president.
However in its response, the APC urged the tribunal to void and considered as waste, the 11.1m votes recorded in favour of the petitioners.
The APC’s position filed by its lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, faulted the candidacy of Atiku in the election, insisting that as a Cameroonian, he ought not to have taken part in Nigeria’s presidential election in the first instance.
Specifically, the APC in the reply averred that, Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa in Northern Cameroon and is therefore a citizen of Cameroon and not a Nigerian by birth.
The party further claimed that prior to 1919, Cameroon was being administered by Germany and that following the defeat of Germany in the world war 1, which ended in 1918, Cameroon became a league of nation’s mandate territory which was split into French Cameroon and British Cameroon in 1919.
APC further argued that in 1961, a plebiscite was held in British Cameroon to determine whether the people preferred to stay in Cameroon or aligned with Nigeria.
According to the party, while northern Cameroon preferred a union with Nigeria the southern Cameroon chose alignment with the mother country and that it was a result of the plebiscite that northern Cameroon which included Adamawa became a part of Nigeria.
The APC therefore said that contrary to the assertion of Atiku in his petition, he (Atiku) had no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019.