The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed as reckless and groundless claims by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is a Cameroonian.
The main opposition party said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that the claim is a calculated attempt by the APC to trivialise and divert attention from the compelling issue of “their criminal rigging of the 2019 Presidential election.”
Signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, the statement said it the disingenuous claim is also a woeful design by the APC to overburden, distract and bog down the Presidential election petition tribunal with trivialities, lies and falsehood, so as to derail the course of justice.
The PDP added: “Such diversionary tactic has however only helped in further exposing the fact that the APC has no answers to the plethora of overwhelming evidence before the tribunal that the election was won by Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.
“Whereas Atiku Abubakar’s citizenship by birth, even under our constitution, cannot be contested, it is indeed the biggest irony of the year, that Atiku’s citizenship is being disputed by individuals whose ancestry has always been a subject of debate.
“These individuals include those who, being not sure of their origins; have no love for Nigeria and even refused to be on the side of our nation at the 1985 summit of the defunct Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa.
“Such persons prefer to deploy our national resources for infrastructural development in affiliated places outside the shores of Nigeria when our country is in dire need of attention.
“The apparent links were further manifested in the participation of aliens in the campaigns of a particular Presidential candidate in Kano.
“Moreover, this claim by APC appears to contain explanations as to why its administration has remained insensitive to the challenge of the insurgency, general insecurity and economic travails of Nigerians in the North East, particularly in Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Taraba States.
“In any case, Nigerians should not despair as the PDP and Atiku Abubakar will not be distracted in the pursuit of our mandate. The PDP has implicit confidence in the competence of our legal team to handle the diversionary antics and technicalities of the APC to unnecessarily overstrain the tribunal and derail the course of justice in the matter.”
Meanwhile, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said he has been vindicated in his submission that he has verifiable and incontrovertible evidence to show that the last presidential elections were fraudulent, not credible and did not reflect the will of the Nigerian people.
He said the response of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) President Buhari, as well as the party is a vindication of the petition he filed at the Electoral Tribunal hearing the petition.
In a release signed by his spokesperson Mazi Paul Ibe, the former Vice President said he based his case on facts and statistical evidence and challenged both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC, to disprove his factual submissions.
The release said: “That the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019.
“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian.’
“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).”
The release reminded that Atiku Abubakar has served the nation diligently in various capacities, from the Civil Service, where he rose through merit, to the top of his chosen field, to public service, where, by the grace of God, he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Moreover, he has committed his assets and talents to developing our nation through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs. I make bold to state that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty are the very people whose Nigerianness should be in doubt, and not a man, who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita income of our nation in less than eight years,” the statement said.
However, Lawyers have weighed in on the subject of who is a Nigerian.
A professor of Law, University of Benin, Benin City, Edoba Omoregie said where someone was born is irrelevant if before the country’s independence and after, the fellow’s parents were born in Nigeria or one of them was born in Nigeria to a community indigenous to Nigeria.
“I think the provisions in Chapter III of the Constitution is relevant because they provide for what make a Nigerian by birth. If you look closely at section 25 (1) (a) – (c) and (2), you will see that where you were born is irrelevant if before independence and after, your parents were born in Nigeria or one of them was born in Nigeria to a community indigenous to Nigeria. Or where before independence, your grandparents were born in Nigeria or one of them was born to a community indigenous to Nigeria,” he explained.
According to him, citizenship by birth also relates in the same context if the person was born in Nigeria and his parents or either of them, or any of his grandparents is a citizen of Nigeria. Any of them, he said, must belong to a community indigenous to Nigeria.
Omoregie said: “Now, on the issue of those born in a place not forming part of Nigeria, and none of whose parents or grandparents is a Nigerian pursuant to the foregoing provisions, the issue becomes relevant if the place can truly be said not to be part of Nigeria.
“Nigeria as we know it included the British trust territories of some areas of current Adamawa State and some areas of current Southern Cameroon. In 1961 those places were asked in a plebiscite to choose whether or not they wanted to remain in Nigeria. Prior to that time, persons from those areas were accorded recognition as British protected citizens of Nigeria like those in the entire Nigeria were so regarded.
“By independence in 1960, that situation continued until the plebiscite when parts of current Southern Cameroon chose to belong to Cameroon while part of current Adamawa chose to remain in Nigeria.
“It’s preposterous to suggest that even at independence, those territories where not Nigerian territories, when they weren’t also Cameroonian territory. Where then were they? No one can be stateless.”
He argued that the ancestral (indigenous background) roots is more than relevant because it immediately dispenses with where a Nigerian by birth (as provided in the Constitution) was actually born. If it is established that one of the parents or grandparents was or is from a community indigenous to Nigeria, such a person could be born even in Mars, and still be constitutionally regarded as a Nigerian by birth provided any of his parents or grandparents is of a community indigenous to Nigeria, he stressed.
“So, if a person was born in London in 1950, and his parents (or grandparents) were born in Nigeria or one of them was born in Nigeria; and from a community indigenous to Nigeria, that person is a Nigerian by birth,” he declared.
Also, Lagos based legal practitioner, Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN) described the allegation as silly.
“Seriously, this is silly by anyone saying this. The press should lambast anyone saying this. I’m APC but I don’t subscribe to this nonsense. Let’s find more serious points to raise,” he fumed.
Abuja based lawyer, Abubakar Sani is of the view that since Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution said one cannot contest for the Office of the President of Nigeria unless he is a citizen by birth, Atiku will have some explanations to make.
“I completely agree that that disqualifies Atiku who was allegedly born in Jada, Adamawa State at a time the place was part of Cameroon,” he stated.
According to him, the chickens have finally come home to roost and “those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
FG Approves Final Evacuation Flight From US
The Federal Government has approved the ninth and last evacuation flight for Nigerians stranded in the United States due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
This was announced by the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, in a statement dated August 10, 2020, on behalf of the country’s missions in the U.S.
According to the statement, the flight is scheduled to convey the evacuees from New Jersey on August 20 to both Abuja and Lagos.
This would come after the seventh and eight evacuation flights scheduled for August 15 and August 19, respectively, from Houston, Texas, to Lagos.
The government had so far evacuated 1,739 stranded Nigerian citizens in six special flights from the U.S. which is witnessing a second wave of Coronavirus infections.
That country’s Covid-19 tallies as at Monday stood at 5,044,864 infections with 162,938 deaths, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins University of Medicine.
Wike Decries Encroachment On Government Land …Moves To Restore Foremost Academic Institutions
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has decried the encroachment of government land in the state.
He described as unfortunate the excuse by residents to encroach on the land owned by Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Port Harcourt.
The governor made the observation, yesterday, when he visited the school to see the extent of encroachment there.
“It is most unfortunate that our people will always want to encroach on school land believing that nothing will happen. This is not acceptable. I pray that this does not continue.
“This is because another government can come up tomorrow and bring down such illegal structures. People will then bring ethnic colouration to it.
“I have endorsed the redesign of the Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri in order to restore its former glory.
“The school, which had made the state proud and produced eminent Nigerians cannot be allowed to die.
“I believe that this is one school that has made name for us. Nigerians and Rivers people should know that we cannot kill it.
“We will do everything we can do to bring it back to its lost glory. We may not demolish all the structures because of those erected as historical symbols,” he stated.
Wike applauded the Old Boys Association of the school for showing interest in restoring the glory of the school that made them to be responsible citizens, and also commended them for setting up a technical committee to achieve their goal.
“I am happy with their concerns. If Old Boys of other schools can show the kind of support these ones are showing to their school, I think we will go a long way.
“The Old Boys Association has agreed to set a technical team. They will do a redesign of the entire school based on the available land because there was too much encroachment.
“We are going to give them all the necessary support to achieve maximum result. They will also supervise the construction work themselves to ensure that they get the quality they want,” he added.
President of the Old Boys Association of the School, Noble Abe, thanked the governor for supporting the vision of the association.
He said almost fifty percent of land belonging to the school has been illegally taken over by residents but they are willing to make use of what is available in restoring the school.
“Close to 50 percent of the land owned by the school has been encroached upon. The governor in his magnanimity has decided that we should restore as much as what is left,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the dissolution of the State Task Force on Illegal Street Trading and Motor Parks with immediate effect.
Consequently, the Special Assistant to the Governor in charge of the Task Force, Mr. Bright Amaewhule has been relieved of his appointment.
A statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, directed members of the task force to return the operational vehicles and Identity Cards of the body to the Office of the Secretary to State Government not later than 4p.m today.
“They will be paid their salaries as they return the vehicles and Identity Cards. Government will reconstitute the Taskforce after proper orientation and training”, the statement added.
You’ve Failed Nigerians, Catholic Bishops Tell Buhari
For the umpteenth time, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has expressed their worry over the insecurity ravaging parts of the country.
In the face of this concern, they have declared 40 days of joint prayers against terrorism and banditry.
The Bishops, in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, also decried the pervasive corruption in the land and the nation’s dampening economic outlook.
They, therefore, passed a verdict, saying the Federal Government had failed to keep its core campaign promises of security, corruption eradication, and economic growth.
The statement signed by CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Obiora, on behalf of all the bishops reads: “We, the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria have been following the recent events in Nigeria closely.
“We continue to hear of increasing insecurity and unabated acts of terrorism in Northern Nigeria. So, we are all tired of this situation.
“We do not want any politician to politicise the killing of Nigerians. There should be one response from everyone, and that is; the killings must stop.
“Our hearts are bleeding, and we are more troubled when we hear of the massacre presently going on in Southern Kaduna. We want all the people suffering the incessant attacks in Southern Kaduna to know that all Catholics in Nigeria are praying for them.
“We call on the Federal and the Government of Kaduna to bring a complete stop to the killing of innocent people. The loss of the life of any Nigerian does not help to further the agenda of any religious ideology or the ambition of any politician.
“The perpetrators of the killings must be brought to justice. Where there is no justice or justice is not seen to be done, there cannot be peace. Where there is no peace, there cannot be development.
“Any Government, State or Federal that wants peace must work for justice for everyone. There will never be sustained development built upon the bloodshed of innocent people brutally murdered by religious fundamentalists without any recourse to justice for the victims.
“We need not remind Nigerians that the present Federal Government came to power, promising Nigerians, the eradication of corruption, a guarantee of security to life and property, and rapid growth in the economy.
“The creation of jobs, and an enabling environment that engenders growth of the private sector; a significant increase in the supply of electricity to Nigerians, affordable and quality health care to Nigerians, and the revamping of the educational sector were the promises the Government continues to make.
“Many Nigerians, irrespective of political party affiliation, will affirm that these promises have remained a far cry. We strongly appeal to Nigerians to unite together in calling the Federal Government to give priority to these areas of our lives.
“To all Catholics, we request that you join in praying for forty days, starting from August 22, 2020 and ending September 30, 2020, the eve of Nigeria’s Independence Day.
“On Independence Day, let us join in praying to start from 12noon. We appeal to each Bishop to encourage the faithful in his Diocese to participate fully in this prayer for God to save Nigeria.
“Finally, as we pray, we know that God wants us to do what is humanly possible to ensure that there are prosperity and freedom for every Nigerian.
“Let us not harbour hatred for anyone. We must be instruments of forgiveness and reconciliation. We must be on the part of justice for all and peace in Nigeria.
“May God grant eternal rest to all who have lost their lives to the violence in Northern Nigeria and other parts of the country. May God give us the courage to work for justice and peace in Nigeria.”
Politics3 days ago
INEC Inaugurates Election Result Viewing Portal
Niger Delta3 days ago
Edo Poll: Business Mogul Urges Politicians To Emulate Jonathan
Sports3 days ago
Rivers United To Petition NFF, LMC Over Position
Business3 days ago
NEPZA Boss Tasks Staff, Clients On Economic Recovery
Politics3 days ago
Restructuring, Not Solution To Nigeria’s Problem – Group
Sports3 days ago
Bonfrere Yet To Receive Atlanta’96 Gold Medal
Sports3 days ago
Nwankwo Wants To Return To S’Eagles
News3 days ago
A’Ibom Discharges 26 COVID-19 Patients From Isolation Centre