Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the judgement of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) which affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
Abubakar, a former Vice President, at a Press Conference on Thursday at Abuja, who said he was not new to legal battle vowed to continue to explore the judiciary for respite as the PEPC judgement failed to restore confidence.
“Though the judgement of yesterday is respected, it is a judgement I refused to accept. I refused to accept the judgement because I believe it is bereft of substantial justice,” Atiku said.
“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 this instance, is the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
Abubakar said his decision to go to court is anchored in his 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.
“Indeed, I am no stranger to legal battles, and I can say that I have a fair idea of how the court system works. All through my career as a politician, I have been a fighter, and I must say that I have found the judiciary as a worthy pillar to rest on in the pursuit of justice.
“The last presidential election in our country and the way it was managed by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, leaves behind unenviable precedents, which I believe the courts have a duty to redress.
“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 said.
Chris Uche, SAN, Atiku’s Lead Counsel, said he had received instructions from his client to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.
“The judgment has been delivered but we have not received justice. Luckily, the law has given us leverage to go on appeal to the Supreme Court. We have instructions from our clients to go to the Supreme Court. The struggle continues,” Uche said.