Atiku | “This Is The Worst Election In 30 Years”

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has described the just-concluded presidential election as the worst held in the nation in the last 30 years.

He condemned the election while addressing party supporters on Wednesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Atiku, who rejected the outcome of the poll, said even the military government conducted a better election than the one conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 23, 2019.

“As I have always said, this year is my three decades in Nigeria’s struggle for democracy; but this is the worst election in those 30 years,” he said.

“And I told that to General Abdulsalami (Abubakar) two nights ago, when he called me. I said not even the military has conducted such a worst election.”

The PDP candidate lleged that there were a lot of irregularities in the election government conducted President Muhammadu Buhari extend his stay in the Aso Villa by another four years.

He highlighted the cases of violence recorded in some states, as well as the alleged inflation of votes in the strongholds of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Despite his loss in the election, Atiku insisted that he was confident of victory and vowed to challenge the President’s victory.

He also told his supporters not to lose hope and asked foreign investors to be patient with the nation, saying he was on the quest of reclaiming his mandate.

The PDP candidate said, “Let me start by thanking you all for choosing democracy as a certain system of government for our great nation. As you all know, democracy is a government of the people by the people only when the people’s choice prevail.”

“This is a long journey, but I am confident of victory. All hope is not lost; stay strong, by the grace of God we shall triumph,” he stated.

Read Atiku’s full speech below;

Dear citizens of Nigeria,

Let me start by thanking you for choosing democracy as the settled system of government for our great nation.

Democracy is a government of the people by the people, only when the people’s choice prevails. That did not happen on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

On Election Day, we saw the implementation of grand theft of the people’s will. I am not one for hyperbole so I will just let the facts speak for themselves.

In Akwa-Ibom for instance, the results showed a statistical impossibility of a 62% drop in voter numbers from the 2015 elections even where voter registration and PVC collection rates were much higher than in 2015.

This pattern was repeated in strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party, including in Delta, Rivers, Abia and Benue states.

As this was occurring, we saw another statistical impossibility wherein voter turnout and numbers increased astronomically in Borno State by an almost miraculous 82% in the midst of increased insecurity.

This pattern was also repeated in other strongholds of the All Progressive Congress.

One begins to ask if insecurity is conducive to higher voter turnouts and security is antithetical to high voter turnout.

It is further curious that the Peoples Democratic Party’s margin of victory in states outside the Southeast and South-south were extremely slim across board. That again is a statistical impossibility.

The fact is that when you calmly look at the numbers declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as results of the February 23, 2019 elections, they do not add up.

Let me say that I am not speaking as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. I am speaking as a Nigerian when I say that the electoral fraud perpetrated by the Buhari administration this past Saturday cannot produce a government of the people for the simple reason that it does not reflect the will of the Nigerian people.

It is for this reason that I, Atiku Abubakar, reject the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission declaring Muhammadu Buhari as duly returned by the majority of lawful votes.

I am conferring with not just my party, but also with the Nigerian people, on next steps, which will be revealed to the public shortly.

For my fellow Nigerians who feel angry, disillusioned, and let down by the process, I appeal to you to remain calm and steadfast. Rome was not built in a day. We have the real figures, we have the facts that were spoken so loudly on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

This is a long journey, but I am confident of victory. All hope is not lost. Stay strong, by the grace of God we shall triumph. 

And to investors and friends of Nigeria now pulling out of Nigeria, I urge you to be patient and keep faith with the Nigerian people. Your quarrel is not with the Nigerian people. Your quarrel is with those who stole their mandate. Please do not punish the people by divesting from Nigeria.

Thank you all and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

US, UK and EU Interference on CJN Onnoghen Suspension| Presidency Releases Statement

The Presidency notes with interest the coordinated statements of the US, UK and EU linking the suspension of CJN Onnoghen to the conduct of the upcoming elections. We appreciate the concerns voiced by the three statements and accept that the authors of the statements believe they were acting in friendship toward Nigeria with regard to making the statements.

However, we also note that friends, when not properly informed or acting in haste, can indeed make serious mistakes even with the best of intentions. Such is the case here.

The statements by the three seem more driven by unfounded assumptions and to be honest, a certain condescension to this African democracy. This is unfortunate. But this gives us an opportunity to clarify some points in the hope that these three friends reach a deeper understanding of the situation.

The statements by the US, UK and EU speak of their respect for constitutional practice and fair elections. However, the positions they stake tend to contravene rather than strengthen these laudable objectives.

Onnoghen Suspension: “Nigeria now under Dictatorship” – Saraki

CJN Onnoghen’s situation is one of his own making and, to a large degree, his own choosing.

The CJN was brought before the CCT because of a serious breach of law regarding his assets declaration. This is not a mere technicality like innocently placing a document in a wrong file or mistakenly placing yesterday’s date on a document.

All credible evidence indicates the CJN owned and operated several secret bank accounts. Unexplained large sums of money, exceeding several million dollars have passed through these accounts. Several thousand dollars are currently parked in the accounts. Multiple deposits of equal sums of money were deposited in some of those accounts during the same day. Such rapid and equal deposits are indicative of a person attempting to evade banking reporting laws and regulations.

Thus far, CJN Onnoghen has given no plausible explanation for the funds or for failing to report the subject accounts in his assets declaration despite having ample time and opportunity to explain the omission. Given the amount of money involved and the CJN’s inability to explain the source of the funds, the most plausible explanation at this point is also the most unfortunate explanation. No one did this to CJN Onnoghen. He and he alone is to blame for this turn of events.

Over the years and with great frequency, the authors of the three statements have advised and even chided Nigeria about official corruption. Now we are presented with the sad and unwanted situation where the CJN is discovered to have a vast, unexplained amount of money in his pocket.

Because of this he has been thoroughly discredited. It is untenable that a person in such compromised circumstances would be allowed to preside over the entire judicial system of a great nation. That would travesty the nation and what it stands for.

Had the situation been reversed and the US, UK or any EU member government found that its chief judicial official is the recipient of large sums of money of questionable origin and Nigeria suggested that you retain the person in that position, you would question Nigeria’s bona fides. You also would swiftly move to suspend the official pending final determination of the causes against him.

Not one of your nations would allow a person enmeshed in legal uncertainty to preside over your legal systems until the cloud has been cleared from him. That would incentivize corruption and assault the rule of law.

Thus, the CJN should have and could have helped the process in this regard by recusing himself from the bench until this matter is settled.

Instead, he indefinitely postponed a NJC meeting for no plausible reason except to avoid any consideration of this matter by the NJC.

Again, this calls into question his motives while undermining the normal operations of the judiciary. The CJN cannot be allowed to use his office to shield himself from the normal operation of the law as applied to any other jurist or any other Nigerian for that matter. Such a ruse is effectively an abuse of office. His position is one of utmost public trust; it is not a shield to protect him from the fair consequence of his own actions.

Despite these errors and omissions by the CJN, let us make this very clear, he has not been removed from office. Nor has he been permanently replaced. Those who claim that he has been permanently removed, do so out of imprecision of thought or mischief.

CJN Onnoghen has been suspended pending the final determination of the substantive issues in his matter. The suspension is only temporary. This is only as it should be. He cannot sit as both defendant and umpire in his own matter. No legal system allows for such self-interested adjudication; the US, UK and EU should not now ask us to embrace such an anomaly.

While the three friends seem to give much credence to those who question the constitutionality of the suspension, they seem to give less to those who believe what we did is constitutional and protective of the integrity of the judiciary. Only the three can answer why they have assumed this bias.

Last, the three make a curious direct linkage between the CJN suspension and the elections. However, in Nigerian law there is no such linkage. The CJN does not run the election. Nor is he the first arbiter of any electoral complaints. He and the Supreme Court will only get involved as the final arbiter at the end of the appellate process.

For the authors to link the CJN to the elections in this way is illogical unless they assume that election complaints will be filed and will go all the way to the Supreme Court. Here perhaps they know something about the intentions of certain political actors to which we are not privy.

Yet, even with that, the US , UK and EU should want any such matters to be heard by a Supreme Court led by a CJN without an obvious and outstanding ethical and legal blemish on his ledger. To have such a person preside over any case, would call into question the impartiality of any decision rendered and undermine the rule of law.

This cannot be what these three friends of Nigeria intended. Thus, they should do a bit more research on this matter and refrain from being too hastily attracted by the arguments of those who have partisan agenda at odds with the government’s positions on most matters and who thus hope to use this issue as a new arrow in their quiver of partisan contestations.

GARBA SHEHU
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
January 27, 2019

Onnoghen Suspension: “Nigeria now under Dictatorship” – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki has described the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari as a coup against democracy.

In a statement he personally signed, the Senate President said the suspension was another act of desperation by President Buhari.

Senate President-Bukola Saraki

Mr Saraki said Mr Buhari acted outside the provision of the constitution and that the action amounted to gross misconduct.

President Buhari in a statement on Friday said he suspended Mr Onnoghen based on a Code of Conduct Tribunal order.

Shortly after the suspension, the president swore in a new CJN, Ibrahim Mohammed, from Bauchi State.

The removal has continued to elicit reactions from Nigerians who believe the president has no such powers to remove a CJN from office.

checks indicate a sitting CJN can only be removed from office by the president after at least two-thirds majority members of the Senate support such a move as enshrined in section 292 of the Constitution. No such matter has been debated in the Senate.

In reaction, the Senate President said the country has returned to the days of military dictatorship.

“This action is capable of undermining the nation’s judiciary, subverting the constitution, intimidating judges of all the courts of record, and creating uncertainty in the electoral process.

“By unilaterally suspending the CJN without following the provision of the constitution, President Buhari has sent a dangerous signal to the entire world that Nigeria is no longer a democratic nation and that we have returned to the old, jaded era of military dictatorship.

“Our constitution makes no provision for suspension of the nation’s highest judicial officer. The constitution provides a clear process for removal of the CJN and specifies the roles of the three arms of government, beginning from the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Assembly and lastly, the Presidency, have different roles to play in that process. There is no condition under which the President can usurp the powers of other arms of government. I do not know where the President and his advisers got this idea of suspending the CJN on the so-called order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal but this is novel, disingenuous and alien to our laws. It is strange that President Buhari is claiming to be taking orders from a Tribunal which has been ordered by a superior court to halt all actions on the trial.“With this action, President Buhari has initiated a process the consequence of which nobody can predict. They have precipitated a constitutional crisis.

“At this point, all democratic institutions in the country, been debated community and indicate a across the world should rise against this blatant act of impunity. We should jointly condemn this retrogressive, uncivilized and despotic measure,” Saraki said.

Saraki called on President Buhari to immediately reverse this decision and allow the due process of law to take its natural course in as enshrined guilt or otherwise of Justice Onnoghen.

Buhari suspends Walter Onnoghen and Appoints Mr.Tanko Muhammed as Acting CJN.

President Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.

He said the suspension was based on the order of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on January 23, 2019.

Already Justice Tanko Mohammed from Bauchi State has been sworn-in at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja, to be on an acting capacity.

Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed

The suspension follows the allegations of fraudulent assets declaration charge against Walter Onnoghen, as detectives may have also found more undeclared funds in his accounts.

According to a report by The Nation newspaper, detectives found “suspicious” transactions, including an $800,000 Standard Chartered Bank investment subscription.

Also found is $630,000 lodged in some of the accounts through what is described as “structured payments” in tranches of $10,000 each.

Most of the lodgments, effected between 2012 and 2016, were undeclared in Justice Onnoghen’s assets declaration form, the sources claimed, pleading not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the investigation.

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has restricted the operation of five accounts with about $3million.