Atiku Abubakar, Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday, said he is no stranger to legal battles as he expressed confidence in his chances of overturning the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal at the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the tribunal struck out the various petitions filed by the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 election.

The five justices led by Haruna Tsammani, held that Abubakar was unable to prove claims of vote rigging and irregularities.

The tribunal also ruled that Abubakar failed to prove that Tinubu should have been disqualified from contesting the election on account of a $460,000 forfeiture to the US government after a Chicago court found that the money was the proceeds of heroin trafficking.

Similar petitions filed by Peter Obi of the Labour Party and the Allied Peoples Movement were also dismissed by the tribunal, which upheld Tinubu’s election in the February 25 poll.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Atiku noted that while he lost a battle at the tribunal, he is confident that he would ultimately win the war when the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the matter.

The statement read:

“I am here today to give my official reaction to the judgment delivered yesterday by the Presidential Election Petition Court on the 2023 presidential election.”

“As you already know, I approached the court following the declaration by INEC that the APC and its candidate are the winners of the February 25, Presidential Election.”

“My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary.”

“Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works. All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.”

“The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe 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.”

“Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure 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.”

“On this note, I urge all my supporters to remain steadfast. I urge them to take solace in an immortal lesson I learned from my leader and mentor, the late Shehu Yar’Adua, that losing a battle is less important than losing the war. We might have lost a battle yesterday, but the war is well ahead of us. And I believe that with our hopes in God, we shall win the war of restoring confidence in our electoral system.”


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