Atiku Is Not Eligible To Contest For President - Malami - IReporteronline
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Atiku Is Not Eligible To Contest For President – Malami

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Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) has argued that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is not eligible under the constitution to contest for President.

The AGF argued that, having not been born a Nigerian or by Nigerian parents, and having not met the provisions of Sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution, Atiku would be violating Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act should he put himself forward as candidate.

These form part of the AGF’s arguments in support of the suit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA).

The EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for President and praying the court to hold among others, that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice president cannot contest for the top office.

In documents filed for the AGF by a team of lawyers, led by Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), it was agreed that, as argued by the plaintiff, Atiku is not a Nigerian citizen by birth.

Although the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 was filed before the 2019 presidential election, it is yet to be heard and determined.

However, it was mentioned on March 15,  during which Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the suit was ripe for hearing and fixed May 4, for that purpose.

The AGF in the affidavit said: “The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The first defendant was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon. By the plebiscite of 1961, the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria.

“The first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”

In his written address, the AGF argued that the effect of the June1, 1961 plebiscite was to have the people of. Northern Cameroon integrated  into Nigeria as new citizens of the country, even after Nigeria’s independence.

He added: “This qualified all those born before the 1961 plebiscIte as citizens of Nigeria, but not Nigerian citizen by birth. Consequently, only citizens born after the 1961 plebiscite are citizens of Nigeria by birth.”

He cited provisions of the 1960, 1963, 1979 and 1999 constitutions and noted that the “reasoning of the lawmakers in ensuring that the persons to be the President of Nigeria is a citizen of Nigeria by birth is because such a person is the number one citizen and the image of the Nigerian state.”

The AGF argued that, where it is revealed that a person was born outside Nigeria before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, in a location which was never part of Nigeria until June 1, 1961, as it is in this case, such a person cannot claim citizenship of Nigeria by birth.

 

“This is even more so where his parents do not belong to any tribe indigenous to Nigeria until their death. The facts of his (Atiku’s) birth on the Cameroonian territory to Cameroonian parents remain unchallenged.

“At best, the first defendant can only acquire Nigerian citizenship by the 1961 plebiscite. The citizenship qualifications under Section 26 and 27 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), by implication, has limited the first defendant’s privileges or rights and cannot be equal or proportional to the privileges of other citizens who acquire their citizenship status by birth.

“This would include the legal preclusion of the first defendant from contesting for the office of the President of Nigeria.

The AGF noted that the only situation where Atiku could have acquired Nigerian citizenship by birth under the 1999 Constitution was if both or either of his parents and grand parents were Nigerian citizens by birth.

He added that another way would have been “if either his parents had become Nigerian citizen by virtue of Section 25(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which must be in compliance with Sections 26 and 27of the same constitution.

“With no concrete proof of compliance, we submit that the first defendant cannot contest election to the office of the Nigerian President.”

Section 26 contains the process of obtaining citizenship by registration, while Section 27 provides for the process of obtaining citizenship by naturalisation.

The AGF argued that Atiku, having contested election to the office of the Vice President before now, knowing that he is not a Nigeria citizen by birth, committed an offence under Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act.

Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on whose platform he contested the last election, have denied the plaintiff’s claims and prayed the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.

They also filed a joint notice of objection, in which they insisted that Atiku is “a bonafide citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Atiku stated that aside serving as Nigeria’s Vice President from 1999 to 2007, he held many public/private offices, including serving as Governor of Adamawa State and as a Commissioned Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service.

He said both his parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in Nigeria and they lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.

Atiku argued that he is qualified and eligible to be elected into the office of the President of Nigeria, adding that the plaintiff filed the suit in bad faith and in an attempt to   malign his person and integrity.

He queried the plaintiff’s right to challenge his nationality, arguing that  it failed to show the interest it has above other citizens of Nigeria to be entitled to approach the court on the issue.

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Politics

PDP’s Call To Restructure Nigeria Waste Of Time – APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum meeting held in Ibadan, was a waste of time, with no substance.

Recall that PDP Governors had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure Nigeria and convene an emergency meeting on insecurity.

They also advised Buhari to immediately send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend the constitution to devolve more powers to states.

This, they said, would help states work out modalities for proper policing and also help to improve general security architecture.

But reacting, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, National Secretary APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), in a statement said it was unfortunate that the PDP governors chose to engage in misplaced name calling and abuses.

According to him, the PDP also failed to seize a golden opportunity provided by the meeting to offer meaningful and patriotic contributions to the state of the nation.

He said it was disappointing that the supposed PDP governors’ consultative meeting turned out to be “a political jamboree and its outcome a waste of time, with no substance”.

He stressed that the efforts and records of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government on revamping the economy and devolution of powers was visible and unmatched.

He added that the administration’s efforts at upgrading the country’s security architecture, governance and electoral reforms, addressing perennial farmers and herders clashes,and public sector reforms were also visible.

Akpanudoedehe recalled that President Buhari on May 20, 2020, signed an executive order on the implementation of financial autonomy of state legislature and Judiciary, which was rejected by the PDP governors.

He assured Nigerians that the Buhari-led government would continue to identify and partner with patriotic and well meaning individuals and interests in its determined efforts to make the country better while addressing its challenges.

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JUST IN: Osinbajo Finally Speaks On Rumoured 2023 Presidential Ambition

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said he has no connection with a certain online group mobilising support for him ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Mr Osinbajo, who made this known in a statement issued on Monday through his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, has asked members of the public to disregard the group.

“The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a website: supportosinbajo. ng that is calling on Nigerians to join a volunteer group mobilising support for Osinbajo ahead of the 2023 presidential election.”

“Details of this website and the solicitation of the group are currently trending on WhatsApp with a suggestion that Osinbajo has “quietly” declared interest in the 2023 election.”

“The Office of the Vice President is not in any way connected to this website or the group behind it and considers such an enterprise an unnecessary distraction.”

“Osinbajo has not declared any interest whatsoever in the 2023 election; but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as vice president in the current administration to address all the compelling issues in the country and concerns of Nigerians, including finding effective and lasting solutions to the security challenges.”

“Therefore, we ask that people desist from such unhelpful permutations while we all deal together with the challenges confronting us as Nigerians, and resolve them for the benefit of our people, peace, and prosperity in the land,” he stated.

Osinbajo was picked as the running mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections.

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APC Denies Releasing Timetable For Congresses, National Convention

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The All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied releasing timetable for its Congresses and National Convention.

National Secretary APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, John Akpanudoedehe, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

“Our attention has been drawn to obviously coordinated and syndicated misinformation being circulated in some sections of the media on purported plans and timetable for Congresses and National Convention of the APC.

“This is the handiwork of political jobbers parading themselves as media sources.

“The media, party members and indeed the general public should be wary and completely disregard the misinformation, antics and schemes of these fifth columnists,’’ Mr Akpanudoedehe said.

He said the APC had never lied about its activities and had no reason to lie.

Mr Akpanudoedehe said that the consultative leadership style instituted by Governor Mai Mala Buni led CECPC had institutionalised the APC as a party of processes and internal democracy.

He said the committee was focused on delivering its mandate to recover, rebuild and reposition the APC ahead of 2023 poll.

Mr Akpanudoedehe said the committee was also focused on achieving peace and ensuring true reconciliation within the party to give a sense of belonging to all members.

The APC National Executive Committee, NEC, at its meeting Dec. 8, 2020 meeting gave the Buni-led CECPC until June 30 to conduct congresses and the National Convention.

The CECPC which was constituted in June 2020, following the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led Nation Working Committee, NWC, was initially given six months to reconcile various factions of the party.

The committee was also to ensure that aggrieved members of the party in court withdrew all litigations as well as conduct a National Convention for the emergence of a new NWC.

NAN

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