The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Mr. Atiku Abubakar has said that Nigerians would decide whether or not the Supreme Court was fair and courageous in its ruling on 2019 presidential poll.
Atiku was reacting to the court’s dismissal of his appeal to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari.
A seven-man panel of judges led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad had yesterday in a ruling that lasted less than one hour, dismissed Atiku’s appeal against the ruling of the presidential election petitions tribunal last month.
Other panelists were justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Olukayode Ariwoola, John Inyang Okoro, Amiru Sanusi, Ejembi Eko, and Uwani Aba-aji
Atiku and the PDP had appealed against the judgment of the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal which had affirmed the victory of President Buhari at the presidential poll.
Dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court justices unanimously held that the appeal lacked merit and therefore quashed it.
But the PDP presidential candidate in a statement (read full text below) took a swipe at the ruling saying the judgement “is part of democratic challenges we must face as a nation.”
He also stated that the “Nigerian judiciary, just like every estate of our realm, has been sabotaged and undermined by an overreaching and dictatorial cabal, who have undone almost all the democratic progress the Peoples Democratic Party and its administrations nurtured for sixteen years, up until 2015.”
It is said that the Supreme Court is not final because it is infallible, but that it is infallible because it is final. While I believe that only God is infallible everywhere, and only Nigerians are infallible in our democracy, I must accept that the judicial route I chose to take, as a democrat, has come to a conclusion.
Whether justice was done, is left to the Nigerian people to decide. As a democrat, I fought a good fight for the Nigerian people. I will keep on fighting for Nigeria and for democracy, and also for justice.
I thank all Nigerians who have stayed the course since the commencement of trial in the petition on the February 23 presidential election.
The judgement is part of democratic challenges we must face as a nation.
The Nigerian judiciary, just like every estate of our realm, has been sabotaged and undermined by an overreaching and dictatorial cabal, who have undone almost all the democratic progress the Peoples Democratic Party and its administrations nurtured for sixteen years, up until 2015.
Can Nigeria continue like this? Recently, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, averred that Nigeria had rolled back the democratic gains she made in 2015. When democracy is rolled back, the economy, the society and the judiciary will not be far behind. Today, the nail has been put on the coffin and the gains we collectively made since 1999 are evaporating, and a requiem is at hand.
In a democracy, you need a strong judiciary, a free press and an impartial electoral umpire. Nigeria has none of those three elements as at today.
One man, one woman, one youth, one vote, should be the only way to make gains in a democracy. And when that is thwarted, the clock starts to tick.
Two and a half millennia ago, Sophocles said “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: “Thou shalt not ration justice.” Nigeria will do well to observe this warning.
To those who think they have broken my spirit, I am sorry to disappoint you. I am too focused on Nigeria to think about myself. I gave up that luxury twenty years ago. The question is not if I am broken. The question is if Nigeria is whole?
This is not a time for too many words. It will suffice for me to remind Nigeria of this – we are an independent nation and we are the architects of our fate. If we do not build a free Nigeria, we may end up destroying her, and God forbid that that should be the case.
I was a democrat, I am a democrat, and I will always continue to be a democrat. May God bless Nigeria.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999-2007