Atiku defends his Nigerian nationality

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*Buhari, Atiku

The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Atiku Abubakar, has responded to the issue of his nationality raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC had, in a reply to the petition Atiku and the PDP jointly filed before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, alleged that as of November 25, 1946, when Atiku was born, Jada, was part of Northern Cameroon and as such he was not qualified to vie for elective position since he was not born in Nigeria.

But Atiku, in his response, denied the APC’s claim insisting that he is a full-blooded Nigerian.

He said he was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, therefore he is a Nigerian by birth.

He said while his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, hailed from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State, his mother, Aisha Kande, hailed from Dutse, now Jigawa State.

“Contrary to the allegations contained in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 3rd respondent’s (APC’s) reply, the petitioners state that the 1st petitioner (Atiku) is a citizen of Nigeria by birth and thus qualified to vote and be voted for and returned in the election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, held on Saturday February 23, 2019 going by the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The 1st petitioner was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, by Nigerian parents and he is, therefore, a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

“The 1st petitioner’s father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State, while the mother, Aisha Kande, was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in the present-day Jigawa State.

“The parents of the 1st Petitioner are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria.

“The birth of the 1st petitioner in Jada, in the present-day Adamawa State of Nigeria, was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku, who was an itinerant trader, from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State to Jada in company with his friend, Ardo Usman.

“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st petitioner, gave birth to Garba who in turn gave birth to the 1st petitioner and named him after his father, Atiku.

“The 1st petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande, was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in the present-day Jigawa State.

“All averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons, League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the 1st petitioner and therefore completely irrelevant more so that the 1st petitioner is a Nigerian by birth within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st petitioner,” said Atiku and the PDP.

To further buttress his Nigerian citizenship, Atiku listed his career path and political activities and the awards and honours that he had received.
These included his being a civil servant in the Nigerian Customs Service for over 20 years, retiring as a Deputy Director; a politician for about 30 years, who in 1992 contested the presidential primaries on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) alongside the late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe.
He also mentioned his participation in the 1999 governorship election in Adamawa State in 1999, which he won and the presidential elections of 1999 and 2003, which he won as running mate to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Besides, he mentioned his being a recipient of the National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) and holder of the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017 when he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.

“In 2007, the 1st Petitioner contested Presidential election under the platform of Action Congress (AC) and the 2nd respondent contested under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP).

“In 2014, the 1st Petitioner and the 2nd respondent contested the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the 3rd respondent for the 2015 presidential elections,” he added.

Atiku’s response was signed by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria on behalf of 20 other SANs.
They are Kabiru Turaki, Chief Chris Uche, Pius A. Akubo, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, Adebayo 0. Adelodun, Saka Abimola Isau, Isiyaku Ibrahim,
Paul Erokoro, K.C.O. Njemanze, Eyitayo Jegede, Sebastine T. Hon, Dr. Mike Ozekhome, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, Prof. Maxwell Gidado, Dr. Akinpelu Onigbinde, Emeka Etiaba, Chief Gordy Uche, Dr. Mrs. V.J.O. Azinge, Emeka Okpoko, and Olalekan Ojo.

Other lawyers listed in the petition are Ebenezer Obeya, Emmanuel Enoidem. Peter Afuba, Prof. Yusuf Dankofa, Prof. Lanre Adeojo, Ahmed Tijjani Uwais, Alexander Ejesieme, Abdulaziz Ibrahim, Chike Okafor, Shikammah K. Sheltu, Jabiro Bashir Mohammed, Silas Joseph Ono, Dr. Jennifer Abubakar, Jude Daniel Odi, and Mohammed Malabo.

It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission had on February 27, 2019, declared the APC and its presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari winner of the February 23 with 15,191,847 votes and credited Atiku with 11,262,978 votes.

But Atiku, in his petition filed at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal stated that from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server he polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who scored 16,741,430 votes.

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