The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that hes a Nigerian by birth, contrary to the allegations made by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) crowned the APC’s President Muhammadu Buhari winner of the February 23 election with 15,191,847 of the total votes cast while Atiku gained 11,262,978 votes.
However, in a petition filed before the tribunal last month, Atiku claimed that he actually won the election with 1.6 million more votes than Buhari according to an internal compilation of results he claimed was obtained from INEC’s server.
He also accused Buhari of not possessing the educational qualification to contest, alleging that he submitted false academic documents to INEC to aid his qualification.
In their counter to Atiku’s petition, Buhari and the APC said the former vice president is not qualified to contest for the presidency because he was born in Adamawa State at a time when it was Northern Cameroon before it voted during a 1961 referendum to align with Nigeria.
In his response to the APC’s claim, Atiku has now informed the tribunal that even though he was born in Adamawa, both his parents are Nigerians, meaning he’s fit to contest for the presidency.
Atiku revealed that his father, a Nigerian by birth, hailed from Sokoto State, and his mother hailed from Jigawa. He noted that his birth in Adamawa, where he was elected governor in 1998, was occasioned by his paternal grandfather’s migration.
He said, “Contrary to the allegations contained in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 3rd respondent’s (APC’s) reply, the petitioners state that the 1st petitioner (Atiku) is a citizen of Nigeria by birth and thus qualified to vote and be voted for and returned in the election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, held on Saturday 23rd February, 2019, going by the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The 1st petitioner was born on 25th November, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa State by Nigerian parents and he is therefore a citizen of Nigeria by birth.
“The 1st petitioner’s father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wumo in present day Sokoto State while the mother, Aisha Kande was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in present day Jigawa State.
“The parents of the 1st Petitioner are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria.
“The birth of the 1st petitioner in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku who was an itinerant trader, from Wumo in present day Sokoto State to Jada in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman.
“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st petitioner, gave birth to Garba who in turn gave birth to the 1st Petitioner and named him after his own father Atiku.
“The 1st petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande, was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in present day Jigawa State.”
He described the APC’s claims as false, misleading and completely irrelevant to his petition contesting Buhari’s victory.
“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st petitioner,” his joint reply with the PDP read.
Atiku and the PDP also insisted that the result allegedly gotten from INEC’s server is authentic and proves that they won the election and not Buhari and the APC.
“Contrary to paragraphs 31 and 34 of the 3rd respondent’s reply, the petitioners contend that the figures and scores in paragraph 22 of the petition are neither false nor contrived or concocted by the petitioners.
“Indeed, the ad-hoc staff and officials of the 1st respondent in obedience to the training/instruction by the 1st respondent (INEC) transmitted the scores they got from the polling units to the 1st respondent’s server,” Atiku and the PDP said.
According to the result obtained from the INEC server as claimed by Atiku in his petition, the former vice president actually scored 18,356,732 votes while Buhari scored 16,741,430 votes. This does not include results from Rivers State which had allegedly not been transmitted at the time Atiku claims the data was captured.
While filing its response before the tribunal on Thursday, April 11, INEC accused Atiku and the PDP of producing fake election results to prove their case.
“INEC specifically denies the existence of electronic transmission of results and it is unknown to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),” the commission noted in its response.
In response to INEC’s position, Atiku and the PDP filed a fresh response revealing that they’ll will call upon Microsoft, IBM and Oracle experts to prove the claim that the result obtained from the INEC server is the true result of the presidential election.
The petitioners’ legal team also says it’ll tender INEC’s training manual on elections, a printout of the votes of candidates from smart card readers and a printout of the forensic audit report on INEC’s server as evidence.
Atiku and the PDP also accused INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, of committing grave errors in the final collation of results for the presidential election as he wrongly attributed four candidates with the wrong scores and political parties.