The presidential candidate of the People’s democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has rejected the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) upholding the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Atiku, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, said he reject the ruling.
“I respect the judgement of yesterday but I refuse to accept it because it lacks justice. In the words of my mentor, Shehu Yar Adua, ‘losing a battle is less important than losing a war.’ We shall win the war of restoring confidence and restoring hope in our electoral system. The war is not over.”
The former Vice president had earlier said, “I am one of the foundation of this party and I’m still standing strong. This party gave birth to every other party. Any party you can think of, PDP is their mother”
, The acting chairman of the PDP, Umar Ililya Damagum, has earlier said the party would be appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court, and he called on supporters to remain calm and law-abiding.
The tribunal, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, had ruled on Wednesday that the petition filed by Atiku was lacking in merit.
Good afternoon, Gentlemen of the Press.
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.