The Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election in Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has admitted that he lost the battle at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) yesterday, but that the war is yet to be won and lost.
“We may have lost a battle yesterday, but the war is well ahead of us. “And I believe that with our hope in God, we shall win the war of restoring confidence in our electoral system.”
Atiku, who is the former Vice President of Nigeria, spoke today, September 7, at a world press conference, while reacting to the judgement of the PEPT, which confirmed the validity of the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as President in the last election.
The PDP flag bearer said that the last presidential election, in the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), left behind unenviable precedents, which he believed 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.”
Atiku said that he had instructed his lawyers to file his petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, with the aim of ensuring 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.”
Atiku called on his supporters to remain steadfast and that he tooktake solace in an immortal lesson he learned from his leader and mentor, the late Shehu Yar’Adua, “that losing a battle is less important than losing the war.”