Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded general elections met on Thursday night with members of the National Peace Committee led by former military Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (retd.). According to reports, efforts to convince Atiku to drop his challenge of the election result were unsuccessful.
Who attended meeting?: Abubakar was accompanied by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah; Cardinal John Onaiyekan; Rev. Fr Atta Barkindo of the NPC Secretariat, and other members of the National Peace Committee (NPC). On Atiku’s side of the table were his running mate, Peter Obi; President of the Senate, who was also the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council of the party, Dr Bukola Saraki; PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and other PDP leaders.
Backstory: The meeting was reportedly convened following Atiku’s decision to go to court to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory. The Atiku group narrated alleged intimidation of its supporters in some states and alleged inflation of votes in favour of President Buhari in some other states. The PDP is also said to have reported that it is in possession of documentary evidence to show that the election was characterized with irregularities that were too weighty to ignore.
What the Peace Committee wanted, according to a source who spoke with The Punch newspaper: “The committee came to meet with us and asked us how we felt about the outcome of the election. We explained our disappointment to the committee and they agreed with us on some of the issues we raised. The committee members pleaded with us to accept the outcome and probably forget the issue of going to court and all that. But we let them know the danger of ignoring such calamity as it would send a dangerous signal to both the international community and future generations in the country. We have to lay a good example that we cannot build on nothing. It will be dangerous to forget the massive rigging and dangerous things that happened in many parts of the country.”
What Abubakar told journalists afterwards: “Currently now, tensions are high and we need to see how we can douse the situation. We have come to listen to the grievances from the PDP. We will continue shuttling to see how we can make sure that the peace is maintained,” he said.