The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and the party have stated that he is a Nigerian by birth as his parents both have roots in the North West and is therefore qualified to seek office of the president.
Atiku and PDP stated this in reply to claims by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, filed at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday, April 18, 2019.
The APC had claimed that Atiku is Cameroonian by birth and not qualified to contest the office of the president based on the Nigerian Constitution.
According to APC, Atiku was born in Jada, now Adamawa State, but then in Northern Cameroon as of his birth was in 1946, and his, therefore, a citizen of Cameroon.
However, Atiku in a petition by his team of lawyers led by Livi Uzoukwu (SAN), stated that his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wurno in present-day Sokoto State, while his mother Aisha Kande was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in present-day Jigawa State. He said both were of Fulani tribe, indigenous to Nigeria.
“The birth of the 1st petitioner (Atiku) in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku who was an itinerant trader, from Wurno in present day Sokoto State to Jada in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman,” he said.
Atiku contended that he had served in the Nigerian Customs Service, and had been a presidential aspirant under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992, contested and won the governorship of Adamawa State in 1999 under the PDP, and became vice president under the same platform in 1999 with President Olusegun Obasanjo and was re-elected in 2003.
He further averred that he was the recipient of the National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), and was the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017 when he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.
Atiku contended that APC’s reply was incompetent because the counsel who signed it did not reflect his National Identity Number “contrary to the provisions of the Mandatory Use of National Identification Number, Regulations, 2017, made pursuant to the National Identity Management Commission Act, 2007.”
Atiku also countered Buhari’s submission that his petition challenging his qualification to contest the election was not a post-election issue which could be entertained by the tribunal, insisting that the matter was both a pre-election and post-election matter.
He said the issue of qualification of the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) to contest election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was a mandatory statutory and/or constitutional requirement that cannot be waived by the petitioners as erroneously averred in paragraph 499 (d) of the 3rd respondent’s reply.