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Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar pose differing reactions to Supreme Court’s verdict on presidential election

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President Muhammadu Buhari and his main opponent in the 23 February 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, have expressed divergent views on the Supreme Court’s judgment in favour of Buhari.

On Wednesday, 30 October 2019, the Supreme Court of Nigeria dismissed the case brought before it by Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, the president again thanked Nigerians for the mandate they gave to him to run the affairs of the country for another four years.

“The Government – and people of Nigeria – have been aware that the result of the 23 February 2019, presidential election has been settled now for some eight months.

‘‘President Buhari was re-elected by an absolute majority of 55.6 percent of the national votes, with Nigerians casting nearly four million more votes for President Buhari than his nearest challenger – representing a margin close to 15 percent of the total votes.

“The former Vice President and his political party exercised their rights, under the Nigerian Constitution and the electoral laws, to petition the courts and dispute this result.

‘‘They did so first at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which ruled in September 2019 against them. Now – following his appeal to the Supreme Court and its ruling to dismiss their case for “lacking merit” – this matter is now closed.

“The President and Government of Nigeria do wish to extend our gratitude to former vice-president and his party for undertaking their campaign through protestations to the courts.

‘‘In this regard they have conducted themselves in line with the laws of the country they sought to lead,” he said.

But In his reaction, Atiku Abubakar said that he was sorry to disappoint those who thought they have broken his spirit.

He said that as a democrat, he fought a good fight for the Nigerian people and he would keep on fighting for Nigeria and for democracy, and for justice.

“I am too focused on Nigeria to think about myself. I gave up that luxury twenty years ago. The question is not if I am broken. The question is if Nigeria is whole?’

“This is not a time for too many words. It will suffice for me to remind Nigeria of this – we are an independent nation and we are the architects of our fate. If we do not build a free Nigeria, we may end up destroying her, and God forbid that that should be the case.

“I was a democrat, I am a democrat, and I will always continue to be a democrat. May God bless Nigeria,’’ he said.

He, however, said that he must accept that the judicial route he chose to take, as a democrat, has come to a conclusion.