Atiku Abubakar’s endless post-election litigation has been a source of controversy in Nigeria. Some people argue that it is a legitimate way to challenge the results of an election, while others believe that it is a waste of time and resources, and that it undermines the legitimacy of the electoral process.
Those who support Atiku’s right to challenge the election results argue that he has a right to a fair trial, and that the courts are the proper place to resolve election disputes. They also argue that the courts have a duty to uphold the rule of law, and to ensure that elections are free and fair.
Those who oppose the endless litigation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate argue that it is a sign that he is a bad loser who is unwilling to accept the will of the people. They also argue that it is a waste of time and resources.
It is important to note that Atiku has not been successful in any of his post-election challenges. In 2019, he challenged the results of the presidential election, but his petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
In my opinion, Atiku’s tuneless caterwauling is a hullabaloo of toxic politics carried too far. It is important to respect the will of the people, and to accept the results of an election, even if you do not agree with them. If Atiku has concerns about the electoral process, he should raise them through the proper channels, rather than through frivolous litigations.
There are a few reasons why his desperation to obtain President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University may not be a good thing.
First, it could be seen as an attempt to smear Tinubu’s name and reputation. Atiku is alleging that Tinubu’s academic records are not authentic, and that he is therefore ineligible to be president. However, Tinubu has denied these allegations, and there is no evidence to support them. If Atiku is unable to produce any concrete evidence to support his claims, then his attempt to obtain Tinubu’s academic records could be seen as nothing more than a political ploy.
Secondly, Atiku’s actions could set a dangerous precedence for Nigerian politics. If it becomes acceptable for candidates to use their opponents’ academic records against them, then it could lead to a more divided and toxic political landscape.
Atiku’s desperation could be seen as a sign that he is not confident in his own ability to win the election. If he is relying on technicalities and legal loopholes to try to disqualify his opponent, then it suggests that he does not believe that he can win on the merits of his own campaign.
Suffice to place on record that the attraction of democracy across many civilisations is that it contains self-correcting mechanisms, like it stipulates channels of seeking a redress when dissatisfied with processes and outcomes. This is the purview from where election petitions tribunals emanate in Nigeria.
However, in seeking redress, a striking line must be drawn between asking the court for justice and ridiculing one’s fatherland. For instance, the over 240-year-old United States democracy, hitherto seen as the bastion of infallible democracies, was dragged into ridicule by the deep aspersions cast upon it by former President Donald J. Trump, who shouted to high heavens and told the whole world that the US democracy was a fraud.
Trump and his supporters sued electoral authorities in many US states. In the end, it triggered the rebellious Capitol Hills invasion of January 6. Though he couldn’t substantiate his allegations of rigging and lost out, it severely weakened the credibility of the US democratic order and by extension, President Joe Biden.
The foregoing is what the PDP candidate in the March 25 predidential election is trying to achieve in his devious pursuits of Tinubu’s academic records at the Chicago State University. This is politics carried too far. Insisting on Tinubu’s academic records for the purpose of election litigation is tantamount to ridiculing Nigeria before the rest of the world. But he will not succeed.
I’m not sure Atiku may have forgotten so easily how he failed to provide evidence of libelous allegations against former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Atiku willfully sponsored defamatory and image-damaging statements in some newspapers to tarnish the former president’s image before members of the public.
Miffed by this mischief, I dragged the PDP presidential candidate to a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where I filed a suit seeking N40million damages for alibel against Buhari and his family. In the suit filed on January 22, 2019, I prayed the court to order Atiku to pay N40million for libelous claims published on December 27, 2018 to the effect that then President Buhari and members of his family own substantial shares in telecoms giant, 9mobile, and Keystone Bank respectively.
Instead of proving the allegations, which were clearly a smear campaign against Buhari, Atiku started by dodging the case. His lawyers refused to file and serve their amended statement of defence within 14 days as directed by Justice Mohammed. Subsequently, he started asking the court to quash the case on grounds that I was not an interested party.
The anti-Nigeria hell Atiku has unleashed in the name of election litigation did not start today. Nowmnhe thinks he is capable of diverting President Tinubu’s attention and resources away from other important issues. He knows that when a president is embroiled in legal battles, it can be difficult for him to focus on other priorities, such as the economy, security, and education. This can lead to a decline in the country’s performance and weaken the president’s standing in the eyes of the public.
Besides, excessive post-election litigation can create uncertainty and instability in the country. When the legitimacy of the election results is being challenged, it can create a sense of uncertainty and anxiety among the population. This can lead to a decline in investment and economic activity. It can also embolden opposition groups and make it more difficult for the government to govern effectively.
In the end, this can damage the president’s reputation on the world stage. When a president is seen as being unable to resolve his political differences through democratic means, it can damage his country’s reputation and make it more difficult to attract foreign investment and build alliances with other countries.
If Atiku does not discontinue with his injurious politics, it is capable of making President Tinubu vulnerable to manipulation by other world leaders and institutions. If he is seen as being weak or unstable, they may be more likely to try to pressure him to act in their interests, even if it is not in the best interests of Nigeria.
I agree that Atiku Abubakar should learn from former President Goodluck Jonathan, who conceded defeat in the 2015 presidential election. It is important for politicians to respect the will of the people and to accept the results of an election, even if they do not agree with them. Backing off the wild goose chase of fighting for access to Tinubu’s academic records from Chicago State University is in the best interest of Atiku.
It would show that he is a true statesman and that he respects the will of the people. Doing so would help to unite the country and promote peace and stability. This would allow President Tinubu to focus on governing the country without distraction. Also, for posterity sake, it would set a good example for other politicians and encourage them to accept the results of elections, even if they lose.
Recently, I read some online report suggesting that some persons within the international community who benefited from Nigeria’s fuel subsidy are angry with President Tinubu for ending the subsidy regime, and that they are perfecting plans, including processing the dossier of the president, to retaliate. I dismissed the story as the ranting of some vested foreign interest who connived with their local cronies to loot Nigeria dey.
But whatever their plans may be, we are fully prepared for the battle to ensure that Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda is sustained for all Nigerians. We have prepared our legal team to study all documents submitted before the Chicago court. After our intelligence gathering process we shall provide counter proof to wild goose allegations Atiku is making in the United States. It happened during the Buhari administration when they challenged his accadamic qualificationsm and at the end we floored opposition.
I just hope that Atiku will reconsider his position and concede defeat. It is the best thing for him and for Nigeria because he cannot stop the transformation the country is gradually witnessing under President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope.
– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC).
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