The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has rejected the outcome of the February 23 presidential election. He says he will challenge the results in court.
“I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court,” Atiku said in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday morning.
Why contest the election?: After the relatively tension-free aftermath of the 2015 election when the loser, Goodluck Jonathan, decided against contesting the results in court, it appears that the 2019 election will see a return to court challenges. The former VP said the polls were not free and fair. Yesterday, his party, PDP, had listed seven instances of what they considered to be irregularities in the results. They called on the INEC chairman to halt the collation and announcement of the results until certain conditions are met. INEC however ignored the PDP request and went ahead to declare Buhari as winner.
“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South,” Atiku said.
“However, in my democratic struggles for the past three decades, I have never seen our democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, February 23, 2019. 2007 was a challenge, but President Yar’Adua was remorseful. In 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping their noses down on the Nigerian people.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari this morning delivered a victory speech in which he thanked God and his supporters for the victory. He also asked his supporters not to gloat or humiliate the opposition.
Bottom Line: Expect to hear arguments soon that President Buhari anticipated this court challenge by Atiku, which was why he moved to remove the Supreme Court chief justice and replaced him with a judge that may be sympathetic to him.