Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, has said it is left for Nigerians to decide whether justice was served by the judiciary for his appeal at the Supreme Court.
He said this in a statement issued on Wednesday in reaction to the dismissal of his and the PDP’s appeal, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 presidential election.
The former vice president and the PDP had approached the apex court to challenge the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of the president and his party.
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However, a seven-man panel headed by Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, delivered a unanimous judgment which reaffirmed the president’s election on Wednesday.
The CJN said the reasons for the decision would be made known on a date to be announced later, adding that the panel had studied all the documents and exhibits tendered but found the appeal to be lacking in merit.
Reacting, Atiku stated that he will accept the result of the justices, but insisted that the apex court is not infallible. He, however, acknowledged that the decision of the court cannot be challenged as it is the final arbiter in a judicial setting.
The PDP candidate thanked Nigerians who supported him and his party in the course of their legal pursuit, saying he has fought a good fight for Nigerians.
The statement read: “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.”
Atiku, however, decried the state of the Nigerian judiciary currently, claiming that the system has been sabotaged and undermined by a cabal, which he described as overreaching and dictatorial.
He stated the gains made under the various PDP administration are being eroded by the APC administration since 2015 when the party came to power.
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He further stated that the independence of the judiciary, the electoral umpire and freedom of the press are all lacking.
The statement read: “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.”
The Waziri Adamawa also had a message for those perceive him as broken following the decision of the court, saying: “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.”