Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has reiterated his preparedness for the conduct of fresh presidential elections, as he anticipates from the ruling of the election petition tribunal.
Atiku, who returns from a medical trip of his knee injury on Saturday, said he felt justified in his consistent and unbending trust in the country’s judiciary following the Supreme Court ruling that removed Sir Celestine Omehia as Rivers State governor.
Atiku’s position is coming as his party, the Action Congress, yesterday called on President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to immediately reconstitute the Independent National Electoral Commission, preparatory for the conduct of fresh polls.
Speaking through his media consultant, Malam Garba Shehu, Atiku said he expects nothing less from the tribunal than the nullification of the April presidential elections and more of some gubernatorial elections, that were heavily marred by alleged deliberate irregularities and controversies.
He said he has recovered from his knee injury which treatment took place in the United States and Dubai and that since he no longer walks the stick anymore, he is fully back to the trenches.
In a statement, he said, “The court decisions across the country on electoral petitions so far have shown that politicians no longer needed the military to sort out politics when they mess things up. We have gone past that stage.” While praising the judiciary as the last hope of the common man, the former VP said the verdicts are signs of more things to come.
Meanwhile, the Action Congress (AC) has called on President Yar’Adua to act swiftly to rectify the situation that has led to the election petition tribunals and the
Supreme Court nullifying one election after another or reversing illegal decisions.
In a statement issued in Abuja Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the starting point would be the reconstitution of INEC and the sanitisation of the EFCC and other law enforcement agencies, ahead of the by/fresh elections ordered by the tribunals and the local government polls in the country.
AC said it would amount to a disaster – an avoidable one at that — to have the old order in place to conduct the by/fresh elections that will result from the outcome of the various election tribunals sitting across the country as well as the council polls.
It specifically called for the trial of all those who have put Nigeria in the avoidable, shameful situation of having the election of governors as well as lawmakers at state and federal levels nullified in droves, a development it said was unprecedented in the country’s history.
AC listed some of such persons as members of INEC, led by its Chairman, Maurice Iwu; EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu as well as the security agencies, all of whom colluded with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to make a mess of what had been billed as historic polls.
‘’Together, these people played a major role in the monumental disgrace the April elections turned out to be and the process leading to the polls, especially the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party, which seems only democratic in name, to respect its own rules, leading to the shuffling of candidates like a pack of cards and at the whims and caprices of Obasanjo,
‘’We also recollect that the EFCC orchestrated the so-called indictment of Rotimi Amaechi, which led to his illegal substitution as the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate with Celestine Omehia, who never contested the party’s primaries. Thankfully, the injustice done to Amaechi has been redressed by the Supreme Court.
‘’It is pertinent also to remind Nigerians that the same EFCC said Abubakar Audu of Kogi was not qualified to contest for the Kogi state gubernatorial election on the basis of a phantom indictment, even after he has been duly nominated by his party, ANPP.
“Of course the nonsense in Kebbi, where a non-party man was put forward by the PDP as its gubernatorial candidate, has also come to the fore with the decision of the state’s electoral tribunal nullifying the governorship election there.
‘’While the EFCC was weaving its web of lies against select candidates, in the name of fighting corruption, the INEC turned itself to an arm of the PDP and a willing tool in the hands of a vindictive president, who also used the security agencies, to thwart the will of the people at the polls.
‘’Unless the disgusting ‘legacy’ of witch-hunting, brigandage, lawlessness and unconstitutional acts left by Obasanjo is dismantled, all the talk about the supremacy of the rule of law and due process will amount to a mere sloganeering,’’ AC warned.
It said the delay in overhauling INEC, in particular, has continued to embolden its unrepentant, uncouth and shameless Chairman, Maurice Iwu, and his cohorts to continue wasting public funds to place newspaper adverts boasting that the April elections reflected the will of the Nigerian people, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.