By Kayode Olarewaju
President Muhammadu Buhari has faulted claims by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that they won February 23 presidential election.
Buhari describes the claims as laughable because Atiku has never won any political contest with him (Buhari) and because he is more popular and acceptable among the electorate than the ex-Vice President.
Buhari, in his response to the petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja by Atiku and the PDP, challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2019 presidential election, noted that he even defeated Atiku in his (Atiku’s) polling unit in his home state of Adamawa.
He wondered why Atiku thought he could secure victory on the platform of a political party (the PDP) he (Atiku) had previously derided and described as a dead party, and one which was beyond redemption.
The President, who is listed as the 2nd respondent in the petition marked: CA/PEPC/002/2019, said in his response filed on April 16, 2019 by his team of lawyers, led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said: “At every previous instance, whether at intra-party or inter-party contests, where he and the 1st petitioner (Atiku) had vied, he has always been the preference of the electorate and/or delegates.
“In particular, at the primary election conducted by the 3rd respondent (APC) in 2014, to pick its presidential candidate for the 2015 election, the 1st petitioner and the respondent (Buhari), amongst others, were the candidates; and while the respondent polled 3,430 votes, the 1st petitioner came a distant third with 954 votes.
“The 1st petitioner was at all material times prior to his decamping to the 2nd petitioner (PDP), shortly before the presidential election, a member of the 3rd respondent (APC).
“The 1st petitioner contested the presidential primary election of the 3rd respondent with the respondent in 2014 and after the respondent (Buhari) defeated him to a distant third place, the 1st petitioner joined the campaign train of the respondent immediately after the primary election, traversing all over the country and rightly declaring to all and sundry that respondent was the best choice available to the country for the position of President.
“On joining the 3rd respondent, the 1st petitioner consigned the 2nd petitioner to the grave, describing it as a dead party that is beyond redemption.
“The 1st petitioner could not have won the presidential election under the platform of a political, which he abandoned and described as having gone beyond redemption.
“The respondent enjoys a wide acceptability across the federation and is more popular and acceptable to the electorate than the 1st petitioner, leading to the respondent securing more votes than the 1st petitioner, even at the latter’s polling unit in Adamawa State.
“In the polling unit where the 1st petitioner registered for the election, while the 1st petitioner polled 167 votes, the respondent scored 186 votes.”