By Godson Ikiebey-

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has described as “ridiculous” the claim by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he is not qualified to contest the election.

According to the former vice-president, while he will “not dignify” the ruling party with a response, the assertion suggests they have admitted to “tramping on the will of Nigerians” during the election.

You will recall that in its response to Atiku’s petition challenging the outcome of the election, the APC had said that the PDP candidate is not a Nigerian by birth and therefore not qualified to run for president.

Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to APC, argued that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa state, which was then in Northern Cameroon; hence, he’s a citizen of Cameroon.

But in a statement issued by Paul Ibe, Atiku’s spokesman, the former vice president said while he based his case on “facts and statistical evidence,” the APC’s only defence is “to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’”.

He said rather than question his origin, those who made Nigeria become the world poverty capital are “the very people whose Nigerianness should be in doubt”.

In a statement issued on Saturday, April 13, 2019, Atiku said:

“The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019”.

“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’.

“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended)”.

Atiku also said that he has committed his assets and talents to developing Nigeria “through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs”.

“I make bold to state that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty are the very people whose Nigerianness should be in doubt, and not a man, who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than eight years”.

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