Editor's Note: In this piece, Nurudeen Lawal writes, with sarcasm, on the possibility or otherwise of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, defeating President Buhari in court.
Shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari was declared the winner of the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, the PDP's flagbearer went to tribunal to challenge the victory.
Atiku's move was against the advice of some Nigerians who believed the former vice president should have just 'let it go'.
However, by the time Atiku closed his case at the tribunal, many Nigerians were already of the opinion that there's no way he could get a favourable verdict.
His petitions were not solid: reopening the Buhari certificate saga, claiming he won based on results obtained from a 'non-existent server', claiming the election was marred with irregularities without sufficient evidence, calling clueless and incompetent 'star witness', etc.
Check the Twitter thread below for some insight on Atiku's shaky petition:
Also, Fredrick Nwabufo in an op-ed by titled Sorry, I don't Think Atiku Is Coming, questioned the substance of Atiku's petition -- and also Buhari's defence.
In fact, the ruling APC, prior to the judgement day, even mocked Atiku and his party, saying they have to thank them for making Buhari's tribunal victory easy.
This is what the national publicity secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said before the tribunal ruling:
“We have no reasons to doubt that it will go in our favour because the PDP were not able to put up any legal resistance. We have to thank the PDP for helping us to prove our case beyond all reasonable doubts.
“We are hopeful that since we didn’t have to waste our time and they have nothing to contradict our claims like the issue of certificate of the president, which they could not bring anything to show that it is not genuine either from WAEC or Cambridge; they did us favour.
“On the issue of results, they brought all manners … and we don’t know which one they expect the tribunal to take. The whole exercise has turned out to be nothing but synonymous with the way the PDP operates. We have no doubt that it will go in our favour."
Thus, it wasn't particularly unexpected when on Wednesday, September 11, the five-member panel of the presidential election tribunal dismissed the petition "in its entirety".
So, as Nwabufo and others predicted, the tribunal had delivered its verdict and Atiku "didn't come".
But Atiku and his party are not done yet; they are heading to Supreme Court to challenge the tribunal verdict.
Do I think Atiku may get a favourable verdict at the apex court? Is that why I think Atiku may be coming back?
NO! I don't think the Supreme Court will upturn a verdict unanimously agreed upon by a five-member tribunal.
Though, an informed review of the tribunal verdict by Charles Omole suggests Atiku may get favourable rulings in some of his applications, upturning Buhari's victory is not any way visible.
Check the Twitter thread below for the review of the tribunal judgement:
So, if I don't believe Atiku will win at the Supreme Court, when do I think he is coming back? IN 2023!
Some political conspiracy theorists are of the opinion that Atiku's not challenging Buhari's victory with the aim of winning. Rather, his goal, they claim, is to remain politically relevant so as to secure the PDP's ticket again in 2023.
One reason Atiku may become president in 2023, if he gets the PDP ticket, is the imminent breakdown of the APC after the Buhari presidency.
Though it's the ruling party, APC is not yet a party with nationalistic spread and spirit. All it has are strong leaders and loyal disciples. Without Buhari and Tinubu, what remains of the APC?
Surviving beyond 2023 is probably the biggest hurdle facing the APC at the moment. Even the president is aware of this when he urged APC state governors on the need to institutionalise the party to guarantee its survival beyond the end of his tenure.
“What I will say to the chairman of the party and governors in return for your congratulating me is to make sure you really institutionalise the party so that when we leave, the party will continue to lead,’’ the president said recently.
In the build-up to the 2019 election, APC solicited votes for Buhari by promising both the southwest and the southeast 2023 presidency.
But after Buhari's victory, the statements coming from Northern elites do not indicate they are ready to keep to zoning arrangement and let the south take over the presidency.
If APC fails to amicably address the complexity and put up a strong, widely accepted candidate from the 'appropriate' region in 2023, Atiku may be heading to the Aso Villa, provided he secures the PDP ticket.
So, I think Atiku may still be coming; in 2023!
Note: You may consider this piece a sarcastic response to Nwabufo's piece.
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Election tribunal: Atiku’s camp reacts to Buhari’s victory | Legit TV