Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had called for a rotational presidency, according to him, “This will prevent the ganging up of two or more geo-political zones to alternate the presidency among themselves to the exclusion of other zones.
“INEC should be mandated to verify the credentials submitted to it by candidates and their parties, and where it is unable to do so – perhaps because the institutions involved did not respond in time – it must publicly state so and have it on record.
“A situation where a candidate submits contradictory credentials to INEC in different election cycles, and the electoral umpire accepts them without questions points to gross negligence, at best, or collusion to break the law by the leadership of the INEC, at worst.’’
But defending the President, his media aide, Onanuga, said, “Atiku’s brand of politics is such that once an electoral process or election does not pave the way for his victory, democracy becomes dysfunctional and must, therefore, be imperilled.
“For him, democracy should either go his way or the highway. The PDP candidate said Nigeria is doomed just because he failed to achieve his ambition. We want to tell Alhaji Atiku that it is only his inordinate ambition to be President that is doomed.”
The Presidency added, “Our institutions must also ensure that corrupt, desperate, self-serving serial losers should not have a space in our democracy. Because if they don’t win the battle, they might burn the nation. We want to advise Atiku that after over three decades of elusive bid for the Presidency of Nigeria, he must now end his unprofitable bid and go away from any venture that will further pollute the political atmosphere and national harmony.”
Also, the National Secretary of the APC, Senator Ajibola Basiru, slammed Atiku, describing him as desperate.
Basiru said, “First, Nigerians need to sympathise with Atiku Abubakar. It is obvious that he is suffering from post-election trauma, going by the statement he gave. How can you grant two world press conferences in three weeks? He had one preceding his misadventure at the Supreme Court, where he pressed to submit fresh evidence and after his loss at the apex court. This shows that his level of desperation has affected his psychological composition.
He said Atiku’s attack on the judiciary because he lost an election showed he did not have regard for the same institution he approached for redress.
“What he said in the statement also showed that he lacked understanding of how the judiciary works and the electoral process in the country. For instance, he said INEC ought to disqualify people when they submit inconsistent credentials. Surprisingly, even as a presidential candidate, Atiku does not know the law has been changed since 2011. INEC does not have the power to disqualify anybody on any ground.”
“The National Assembly had PDP majority members when the law was amended. In the past, INEC had the power to disqualify anybody when they didn’t meet the requirement. But the law has changed since the PDP-led administration and control of the National Assembly. So, Atiku is blaming INEC for what the legislators and his political party had done.
“Again, the fresh evidence he is talking about, it is possible he didn’t listen to what the Supreme Court said. The court said that since you didn’t plead forgery, you cannot bring evidence to discuss it. Paragraph 146 of his petition stated that the second respondent was not qualified. He didn’t mention anyone in particular. Does he want the Supreme Court to accept evidence of a case not pleaded? His lawyer perhaps didn’t tell him that any fact not pleaded amounts to no issue.’’
But the Chief Spokesman for the Obi-Datti Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, agreed with Atiku, saying the Supreme Court and the electoral umpire were an extension of the presidency.
Tanko, however, opposed Atiku’s call for a single six-year term for the country’s president.