If you live long enough, you’ll see everything.
Today at the sitting of the presidential election tribunal, we saw a new low by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The party argued that Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not a Nigerian by birth.
- The APC argued that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa state which was then in Northern Cameroon. As a result, the party stated that he is a citizen of Cameroon and ought not to have contested for the Nigerian presidency.
- According to the APC’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, Section 131(a) of the constitution prescribes that only citizens by birth are qualified to contest for president in Nigeria.
Shameful development: It is worrying to see the APC make such a divisive argument in court. The ruling party basically went to court to make the same argument that the fugitive leader of the Indigenious People of Biafra (IPOB) movement, Nnamdi Kanu, made in February.
- It is true that Atiku’s Jada town was not legally part of Nigeria until a 1961 referendum in which Northern Cameroon chose to become part of Nigeria. However, Jada was a British franchise administered from Nigeria.
- It is understandable for a divisive figure like Nnamdi Kanu to use that point to further his own argument for a Biafra referendum. However when the country’s ruling party chooses to make the same kind of argument popularized by a divisive fugitive, it boggles the mind.
Backstory: Atiku is challenging the victory of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential election. The PDP has asked the tribunal to declare the 11.1 million votes polled by Atiku and the PDP as wasted votes.