former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has vowed to approach the Supreme Court to set aside the election of President Bola Tinubu.
Atiku, said he was dissatisfied with the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, that affirmed President Tinubu as the valid winner of the presidential election held on February 25.
Speaking through his team of lawyers led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, the PDP candidate, said he only got a judgement from the court and not justice.
“Judgement has just been delivered but we have not received justice. Luckily, the Constitution has given us the right to go on appeal.
“This is the court of first instance. We still have the right to go on appeal to the Supreme Court and you see, this is a struggle that is not just for our client, but for the Constitution of this country, for the rule of law and democracy.
“We were expecting an outcome that will improve, encourage the use of technology to enhance election management, to enhance transparency, to enhance accountability, so that Nigerians will believe in democracy.
“So that Nigerians can come out in their masses like they did, to vote. We don’t want Nigerians to be discouraged.
“There are certain things and principle of law that he know that we need to explore and we strongly believe that when we get to the Supreme Court, it will have the opportunity to review a number of things that have been said here today.
“We have the instruction of our client to go to the Supreme Court. So, we have asked for the records. We have asked for the judgement. We are going to apply for the transmission of the records because we have a very limited time to push this.
“So, the struggle continues and as it is said, it is not over until it is over,” Atiku’s lawyer added.
Good afternoon, Gentlemen of the Press.
I am here today to give my official reaction to the judgment delivered yesterday by the Presidential Election Petition Court on the 2023 presidential election.
As you already know, I approached the court following the declaration by INEC that the APC and its candidate are the winners of the February 25, Presidential Election.
My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary.
Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and 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.
The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe the courts have a duty to redress. Our gains in ensuring transparent elections through the deployment of technology was heavily compromised by INEC in the way it managed the last presidential election, and I am afraid that the judgement of the court as rendered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday, 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.
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. I am therefore here to tell you that, though the judgment of the court yesterday is respected, it is a judgment that I refuse to accept. 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.
Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which, in the instance, is the Supreme Court. 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 the future generations to evaluate.
On this note, I urge all my supporters to remain steadfast. I urge them to take solace in an immortal lesson I learned from my 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.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Press, I thank you for your attention.
Atiku Abubakar, GCON
Vice President of Nigeria (1999 – 2007)
2023 PDP Presidential Candidate