Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential poll, Atiku Abubakar, has debunked claims of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he was Cameroonian by birth and was, therefore, not qualified to contest the election.
Atiku, who was born in Jada, in 1946, in present day Adamawa State, which was then part of Northern Cameroun, insisted he was born by Nigerian parents and, therefore, “a citizen of Nigeria by birth.”
In his response to APC’s petition before the Presidential Election Tribunal, Atiku said his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was a Nigerian by birth, who was from Wurno in present day Sokoto State, while his mother, Aisha Kande, was also a Nigerian, who hailed from Dutse, in present day Jigawa State.
Atiku’s lawyers said in the filing on behalf of their client: “The parents of the first petitioner(Atiku) are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria.
“The birth of the first petitioner in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria, was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather, called Atiku, who was an itinerant trader, from Wurno, in present day Sokoto state to Jada, in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman.
“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the first petitioner gave birth to Garba, who, in turn, gave birth to the first petitioner and named him after his own father, Atiku. “The first petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande, was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse, who came to Jada as an itinerant trader, too, from Dutse, in present day Jigawa state.
“That all averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons, League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the first petitioner and, therefore, completely irrelevant; more so that the first petitioner is a Nigerian by birth; within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic ofNigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are, indeed, fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the first petitioner.”
Atiku also said the votes he secured in the presidential election were not wasted votes, and insisted he got more votes than Buhari.
Three weeks ago, the APC told the tribunal, in Abuja, that Atiku is not a Nigerian.
The party said based on that, Atiku was not qualified to have contested the presidential election; in response to Atiku, and the PDP’s petition, which prayed the tribunal to declare him (Atiku) as the lawful winner of the presidential election.
The APC’s reply to the petition, filed by its lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, specifically faulted Atiku’s candidacy in the election.
To buttress his Nigerian citizenship, Atiku listed his career path and political activities and the awards and honours 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 under the platform of then Social Democratic Party alongside late Bashorun Moshood Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe. He also mentioned his participation in the 1999 governorship election in Adamawa State which he won and the presidential elections of 1999 and 2003, which he won, as running mate to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He also mentioned his being a recipient of the national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger and holder of the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017, when he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.
“In 2007, the first petitioner contested presidential election under the platform of Action Congress (AC) and the second respondent contested under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP).”