The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said only the outcome of the Supreme Court case against President Bola Tinubu will end his political feud with the President.
The former Vice President stated this just as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, lashed out at him for faulting Tinubu’s academic records, in spite of depositions by the Chicago State University, CSU, that Tinubu attended and graduated from the school.
Atiku, who spoke while answering questions from newsmen at a World Press Conference, in Abuja, yesterday, following his receipt of President Tinubu’s academic records from the university, also revealed that he denied the President’s emissaries entry into his residence soon after the February 25, 2023, presidential poll.
According to him, he was made aware that a delegation, led by APC governors, acting at the behest of the President, were at his residence to meet with him probably to plead with him to accept defeat but “I did not allow them in.”
I’m not afraid of attacks on my business interests
He also said he wasn’t afraid of any of his business interests being targeted as a result of his legal challenge to the President’s electoral victory.
Atiku noted that he has since been stripped of his logistics business which was the main business that had some form of government involvement when President Muhammadu Buhari took power in 2015.
He said: “As soon as Buhari came, all our logistics contracts business were revoked till today. I’m not afraid of my businesses being affected, I’m not doing any government business. I will only leave this fight when the court rules. We are at the Supreme Court.”
Why I want to expose Tinubu’s identity
The former Vice President explained that he undertook the journey to unravel the myriad of controversies surrounding the identity and credentials of President Bola Tinubu because it formed part of larger issues that define the future of elective government and legitimate leadership in our country.
He noted that political leadership and active citizenship matter because they are ways through which we all work together to build a country that works for all who live in it.
Atiku said: “Our country is bigger than any of us, and its standing in the world affects the fate of all who come from or live in it. As leaders, it is our duty to advance the well-being of all our people and of the country.
“For this purpose, my generation worked hard to return the soldiers to the barracks and to defend the right of the people to elect and establish for ourselves a legitimate government.
“Our elections are established and governed by law and founded on the constitution from which leadership and government in Nigeria alone derive their legitimacy.
We must respect our electoral laws
“The people look up to us as leaders to respect these rules and, where necessary, to defend them. This is what brings us here.
“Today, we are called upon again as a people to uphold and defend the ground rules of elective government in our country. The constitution prescribes the requirements for those who seek the highest elective office in the land.
“It should not take months or, indeed, decades, for the institutions concerned to be able to do their work in establishing the credibility of any certificates presented by candidates for public office.”
The former Vice President further said: “We undertook this journey at great cost and for important reasons.
Nigeria’s reputation at stake
“The ground rules for legitimate governance in our country need to be upheld, and the reputation of our country is at stake. That affects everyone, Nigerians everywhere.
“I am a democrat by conviction and a citizen of a country that I love. The issues at stake in this case require us once more to rededicate ourselves to both the country and our constitution.
“Now, we entrust these facts to us all as citizens and as leaders of the institutions charged with interpreting our constitution.
“I should thank the lawyers both in Nigeria and in the United States, who have assisted us in bringing clarity and definitive answers to these issues that appear to have defied our institutions for nearly a quarter of a century.
“I also want to extend my gratitude to Nigerian citizens and friends of Nigeria both within and beyond the shores of our country for their patience as we have sought to find the facts and establish the truth.
“I wish to pay tribute to the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, who inspired us on this path of discovery.
“Now, he can truly rest in peace in the assurance that what he started about 23 years ago has come to fruition. Gani’s vindication today gives credence to the saying that no matter how fast a lie runs, the truth will someday overtake it.
“Former American President Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘if I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.
“From exposing the Watergate scandal and unraveling the dubious certificates of politicians, journalists have maintained eternal vigilance by bridging the gap and stepping in when other arms of government failed.
“It is for these reasons that commendation must be given to David Hundeyin, an independent journalist whose extraordinary work and those of many more young people like him have become a source of inspiration.
“Special thanks must be given to the millions of Nigerian youths and citizen journalists who continue to put out the truth online even when no one is listening.
“Indeed, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. They have put the country first in their firm commitment to unravel the truth and hold leaders accountable. This gives me the hope that we have worthy partners in the struggle to reclaim the country we call home.”
He further stated what was at stake was beyond his person, as Atiku Abubakar.
Appeals to Nigerians, Obi, Kwankwaso for support
While appealing for support for his legal cause, Atiku said: “It is a quest for the enthronement of truth, morality, and accountability in our public affairs. In line with this, therefore, I am calling on all well-meaning Nigerians, leaders of thought, our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, our community leaders, our political leaders, and in particular, Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP and, the leaders of every political party in Nigeria, and, indeed, every single person who loves this country, as I do, and who wishes nothing but the best for the country, as I do, to join me in this campaign to enshrine probity, accountability and the basic principles of justice, morality and uprightness in our country and in our government. This is a task for each and every one of us.”
I beat Tinubu to the AC ticket in 2007, he wanted to be my VP
Responding to claims that he was being ungrateful to Tinubu, who it was claimed gave him the Action Congress, AC, a presidential ticket to contest the 2007 election against his then principal, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku said the insinuations were not correct.
His words: “In 2006, we came together to form AC. And in Lagos at the convention in 2007, I emerged and I got the ticket. After the convention, a few of our friends, who are here, met me and told me Bola wanted to be running mate. So, I asked for their opinion on Muslim-Muslim tickets.
“All of them said they objected. So, I asked them why didn’t they tell him. So, that was the end of our political relationship, it broke away as he went ahead and supported Yar’adua.
“So, where is the ground for him to say I betrayed him? Those of you who are old enough will remember that in 2003, the PDP took over all the states in the South West, with the exemption of Lagos. I stood before Obasanjo and said no, you can’t take Lagos. And he left it.
“So, who is indebted to the other, is it me or Tinubu? Till today, I will not do a Muslim Muslim ticket, it is absolutely wrong and not right. We are multi-ethnic and multi- religious.”
How Buhari, APC ruined my logistics business
Atiku also went down memory lane to detail how the then-President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress went after his business interests as soon as they took power in 2015.
He said, “As you must have read in many places I was the founder of one of the biggest logistics companies since the military era, and as soon as Buhari came even though we had licenses and we had nothing to do with government.
“We are just contractors to the oil companies. As soon as Buhari came all those contracts were revoked and taken away from us till today, so I am not doing any government business.
“Yes, I am in other businesses, agriculture, manufacturing and so and so forth. So I am not scared of any business being taken away from me, it has already been taken away from me since the Buhari administration. They took it and distributed out among themselves.”
In response to whether he has been under any form of pressure to abandon his legal challenge, Atiku said, “Not really, yes immediately after the election I was told of a delegation of governors who claimed they were sent by the President, but I did not allow them to get into my house. I did not.
Tinubu presented forged certificates to INEC — Atiku’s lawyer, Kalu
Speaking on the alleged certificate forgery by President Tinubu, one of Atiku’s lawyers, Kalu Kalu, SAN, insisted that the documents submitted to the team by the Chicago State University confirmed that documents presented to INEC by Tinubu were forgeries.
According to him, “The qualifying certificates from Southwest College to Chicago State University bear a female name indicating that the document does not belong to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Also, the CSU admission application form has a claim that Bola Ahmed Tinubu attended Government College, Lagos and graduated in 1970, when indeed, the school was established in 1974.
“The same document has it that the owner of that document is a black American and the document Bola Ahmed Tinubu submitted to INEC, he denied having dual citizenship, which means, it does not belong to him.
“The same document under deposition says that the ‘A’ (in )Bola A Tinubu is Ahmed. But the NYSC certificate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu submitted to INEC has Adekunle.
“On the question of what use will it be in the Supreme Court, Kalu said, “It is very clear that from decided authorities, the Supreme Court has held that they can accept a party to adduce fresh evidence, as long as certain conditions are met and from what transpired in the proceedings in US courts, that condition has already been met.
“So, as we speak, our illegality law is very clear that a party at fault cannot be allowed to enjoy the fruit of his illegality.”
It will be recalled that the official repudiation of President Tinubu’s certificate, the only academic qualification he presented to INEC was deposed to in a United States Court, on Tuesday.
Caleb Westberg, the school’s Registrar while speaking under oath and penalty of perjury, said the certificate dated June 22, 1979, and tendered before INEC on June17, 2022, was not issued by the school’s administration, adding that “ its administrators could not authenticate its source.”
Westberg, who is the School’s registrar since November, 2020 during the deposition that lasted for about 5.5 hours, added that “Tinubu did not apply for any replacement, nor was any issued to him”
Recall that Tinubu had claimed that a replacement was issued to him by the institution on the 27th of June, 1997.
The certificate he is presenting was said to have been signed by Elnora Daniel and Niva Lublin, who had not joined the school in 1979, according to information in public domain.
With the revelations coming out of the subject, the President may be in violation of provisions of Section 137( 1) (j) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria ( as amended),
Section 137(1)(j), specifically states that no one can be elected into the office of the President if he or she presents a forged certificate to INEC.
The case before the Supreme Court must be decided on or before December 6, 2023, as stipulated in the Electoral Act, 2022.
It was equally revealed that the name Bola Ahmed Tinubu was actually originally a female name – Adenike Abimbola Tinubu, said to be a US citizen, as identified by her social security number.
Accept defeat, lick your political wounds with dignity, APC tells Atiku
Responding, the APC has counseled Atiku to accept his defeat and lick his political wounds with some level of dignity.
Reacting to Atiku’s press conference, yesterday, the party’s spokesman, Felix Morka, in a statement, said Atiku’s “press conference lacked purpose and delivered nothing except the pitiful regurgitation of lies, mindless distortions and deliberate falsehood on his infantile obsession with the academic record of Bola Tinubu.”
Morka said for several weeks now, Nigerians and the world have watched with incredulity the former VP’s display of utter desperation in his failed bid to become the President of Nigeria.
The statement reads: “Earlier today (yesterday), he put his desperation in overdrive during his press conference where he addressed some of the issues in his appeal at the Supreme Court and bandying unproven charges against President Bola Tinubu in a calculated attempt to shamelessly whip up public sentiments and inordinately pressure the Supreme Court.
“We believe Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should have known better than to demonstrate gross contempt of the highest court by making public comments on a matter that he has submitted to the court for adjudication.
“The major takeaway from his Yar’Adua Centre show, especially at question time, was that Atiku harbours deep animosity towards Tinubu whom he believes was responsible for his electoral woes in 2007, 2015, 2019 and this year.
Earlier, Morka in a television programme monitored in Abuja, said the development foreclosed Atiku’s political chances in the country.
“Atiku Abubakar’s political career has come to a standstill. The sun has set on his career. And I think he needs to realise it. He served in this country as Vice President. He held other positions. That is enough for any individual in this country who is politically active.
‘’I appreciate his service but he needs to rest this matter