The war is well ahead of us, Atiku vows to fight on after tribunal defeat

Atiku vowed to challenge the tribunal judgement at the Supreme Court.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has promised to fight on after losing his bid to overturn the victory of President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

Atiku, who spoke at a press conference organised by the PDP on Thursday, September 7, 2023, said that he may have lost the battle at the PEPC on Wednesday, “but the war is well ahead of us.”

The PDP candidate had challenged the President’s election on several grounds, including claims that the latter was not duly qualified to contest in the poll.

The tribunal, in a unanimous ruling by the five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, dismissed the petition filed by Atiku and his party and affirmed the victory of Tinubu in the hotly-contested February 25 election.

Speaking at the party’s Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, Atiku said, ”I am here today to give my official reaction to the judgment delivered yesterday by the Presidential Election Petition Court on the 2023 presidential election.

“As you already know, I approached the court following the declaration by INEC that the APC and its candidate are the winners of the February 25, Presidential Election. My decision to go to court is anchored in my belief that the court is the sanctuary of justice. The journey of my political career, as you know, holds so much to the courage and fearless decisions of our judiciary,” the former Vice President said.

President Bola Tinubu. [Presidency]

“Our gains in ensuring transparent elections through the deployment of technology was heavily compromised by INEC in the way it managed the last presidential election, and I am afraid that the judgement of the court as rendered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday, failed to restore confidence in our dreams of free and fair elections devoid of human manipulations.

“Like I did say at the beginning of this legal battle when I instructed my lawyers to file my petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election, my ultimate goal in this pursuit is to ensure that democracy is further strengthened through the principles and processes of fair hearing,” he added.

President Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar. [Twitter:Kayy]

Atiku reiterated his belief that the election that produced Tinubu as the president was fraught with manipulation, adding that his dissatisfaction with the outcome at the tribunal doesn’t erode his hope in the judiciary being the last hope of the masses.

“Gentlemen of the press, I take great pains to tell you that the decision of the court of first instance on this matter utterly falls far short of that expectation. I am therefore here to tell you that, though the judgment of the court yesterday is respected, it is a judgment that I refuse to accept.

“I refuse to accept the judgment because I believe that it is bereft of substantial justice. However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary.

“Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which, in the instance, is the Supreme Court. It is my conviction that the electoral process in Nigeria should be devoid of untidy manipulations and that the outcome of every election should be a perfect reflection of the wishes of the electorate.

“I believe that such is the only way through which our democracy can have a manifest expression of its true meaning. Whether I prevail in this quest or not, the record of my effort in ensuring an order of credible elections in Nigeria shall remain for the future generations to evaluate.

“On this note, I urge all my supporters to remain steadfast. I urge them to take solace in an immortal lesson I learned from my leader and mentor, the late Shehu Yar’Adua, that losing a battle is less important than losing the war. We might have lost a battle yesterday, but the war is well ahead of us.

“And I believe that with our hopes in God, we shall win the war of restoring confidence in our electoral system. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Press, I thank you for your attention,” he said.

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