Atiku rejects Tribunal judgement, denies congratulating Tinubu
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, said that he refuses to validate any form of ‘electoral banditry’.
Atiku said this in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Paul Ibe, following Wednesday’s judgment by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) which went in favour of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former Vice President denied congratulating Tinubu following the affirmation of his electoral victory by the Tribunal or issuing any press release to that effect.
Ibe added that the purported congratulatory message was fake news being orchestrated by those desperately looking for validation for the usurpation of the mandate of Nigerians.
“Atiku Abubakar couldn’t have validated electoral banditry because doing so would have amounted to a rape on the conscience of Nigerians who have struggled for years to entrench electoral integrity,” he said.
“If their conscience is clear and they are convinced that their victory is valid, they don’t have to blackmail their political opponents into congratulating them through fake news.
“Why should a man be desperate for validation? Does truth require validation? Why should you issue a congratulatory statement and attribute it to Atiku if your conscience is not troubled by the electoral heist you have perpetrated?,” Ibe queried.
Also on Thursday, Atiku spoke at a press conference that was held at the PDP’s headquarters in Abuja to reject the judgement of the Tribunal as regards the February 25 presidential polls.
He said that he challenged Tinubu’s victory because he believes the court is the sanctuary of justice but feels the verdict “failed to restore confidence in our dreams of free and fair elections devoid of human manipulations”.
“Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure that democracy is further strengthened through the principles and processes of fair hearing,” Atiku said.
“Gentlemen of the press, I take great pains to tell you that the decision of the court of first instance on this matter utterly falls far short of that expectation.”
The PDP presidential flagbearer pointed out that, although he respects the judgement of the court, he will not accept it.
“I refuse to accept the judgment because I believe that it is bereft of substantial justice. However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary,” he said.
“I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works. All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.
“It is my conviction that the electoral process in Nigeria should be devoid of untidy manipulations and that the outcome of every election should be a perfect reflection of the wishes of the electorate.
“I believe that such is the only way through which our democracy can have a manifest expression of its true meaning. Whether I prevail in this quest or not, the record of my effort in ensuring an order of credible elections in Nigeria shall remain for future generations to evaluate.”
Atiku urged his supporters to remain steadfast and take solace in an immortal lesson he learned from his leader and mentor, the late Shehu Yar’Adua, that losing a battle is less important than losing the war.
“We might have lost a battle yesterday, but the war is well ahead of us. And I believe that with our hopes in God, we shall win the war of restoring confidence in our electoral system.”
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