Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar yesterday said he was heading to the Supreme Court to challenge the unfavourable verdict of the Presidential Election Tribunal in order to rid Nigeria of the forces of fascism.
Former Vice President Atiku had sued President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the presidential election.
However, the Presidential Election Tribunal, in a unanimous judgement on September 11, dismissed Atiku’s petition as lacking in merit.
Specifically, Justice Garba, who read the lead judgment resolved all the issues raised in the suit against the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), and held that none of the grounds upon which the petition was anchored was proved.
In a statement he signed personally yesterday, Atiku said he was also inspired to challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court in his drive to be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria.
The former vice president declared: “Nothing good comes easy, and hard is the task to rid Nigeria of the forces of fascism, and to be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.
“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker. If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.
“And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.
“It is for these and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted.
“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.
“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality, will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.
“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way, so that our judiciary are not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation.
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief in Nigeria.
“I say to all concerned, that we will all die and give account of our lives to our Creator.”
Atiku noted the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of the country and from all regions, religions and relationships, adding, “Once again I thank you all for your support. I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal.”