ABSURD: Atiku’s Denaturalization And The Falling Dominoes

By Ikenga Chronicles April 14, 2019

ABSURD: Atiku’s Denaturalization And The Falling Dominoes

–Dr. Vitus Ozoke

As the APC continues its horrendous shenanigan of denaturalizing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, I hope they are duly and fully cognizant of the wide ranging ramifications of the harm and damage they are about to inflict on the nation. It is the kind of tsunamic harm and damage that sweeps off everything, including the APC, in its path. If the APC insists and continues on the trajectory of this nonsense, and succeeds, the implication of it would be that Nigeria would have existed as a monumental illegality since May 29, 1999.

Section 142(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) provides: “In any election to which the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Chapter relate, a candidate for an election to the office of President shall not be deemed to be validly nominated unless he nominates another candidate as his associate from the same political party for his running for the office of President, who is to occupy the office of Vice-President and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Vice-President if the candidate for an election to the office of President who nominated him as such associate is duly elected as President in accordance with the provisions aforesaid.”

What this means is that for Olusegun Obasanjo, the candidate of the PDP in the 1999 presidential elections, to be deemed to have been validly nominated, he was to have nominated a candidate for the Office of Vice President. And he was not just free to nominate whomever he chose, there were some constitutional requirements tied to such nomination. Subsection 2 of 142 contains those requirements. It reads: “The provisions of this Part of this Chapter relating to qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualification, declaration of assets and liabilities and oaths of President shall apply in relation to the office of Vice-President as if references to President were references to Vice-President.” What that simply means is that a candidate nominated by the candidate for President as Vice President must meet the same qualifications as candidate for President. Section 131 contains those qualifications for the Office of President.

Section 131 reads: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if –

(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;

(b) he has attained the age of forty years;

(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and

(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

Subsection (a) of 131 is particularly germane. A combined reading of Subsections (1) and (2) of Section 142, and Section 131, simply means that for Obasanjo to be deemed to have been validly nominated as PDP candidate for the 1999 presidential elections, he was required to be not just a citizen of Nigeria by birth himself, but also to have nominated a candidate for the Office of Vice President who was also a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

Therefore, if Atiku Abubakar, the candidate nominated by Obasanjo for the Office of Vice President in the 1999 presidential elections, was not a citizen of Nigeria by birth (in violation of Section 131), then Obasanjo was not deemed to have been validly nominated by the PDP for the February 27, 1999 presidential elections. Having not been validly nominated by his party, therefore, Obasanjo was not a legal candidate for the February 27, 1999 presidential elections. And if he was not a legal candidate for the February 27, 1999 presidential elections, Obasanjo’s swearing in and inauguration as President on May 29, 1999, was as illegal as it was unconstitutional.

So, for eight years, an illegal impostor occupied the Nigerian presidency, making presidential-level decisions, accenting to legislative Bills, effecting national fiscal policies, formulating foreign policies, directing illicit assassinations of men like Bola Ige, commanding national armed forces, giving military orders that resulted in thousands of deaths, including the obliteration of Odi and Zaki Biam communities, creating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as a tool for personal political vendetta, heisting billions of dollars of national wealth in fraudulent boondoggle power project, and making diverse decisions that impoverished tens of millions of Nigerians.

And the constitutional transgressions did not end in 2007. It carried over. And it has carried over till today. Professor Maurice Iwu, the INEC chairman who conducted the transition election in 2007, was appointed by Obasanjo in June of 2005. Being an appointee of an illegal occupant of power, Maurice Iwu had no authority to conduct the 2007 presidential elections. The purported election of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on April 21, 2007, was, therefore, a sham. And if Yar’Adua’s election was a sham, the ascension to presidential position in 2010 by ‘Vice President’ Goodluck Jonathan, following the death of ‘President’ Yar’Adua, was also a sham.

It was in that illegal and sham capacity that Jonathan appointed Professor Attahiru Jega on June 8, 2010, as the INEC chairman. An illegally appointed Attahiru Jega would go on to conduct the 2011 and 2015 presidential elections. The 2015 elections would produce ‘President’ Buhari. An illegally elected Buhari would appoint Amina Zakari (July 30 to October 21, 2015) and Professor Mahmood Yakubu, October 21, 2015.

We are revisiting and discovering these chequered histories because Mahmood Yakubu failed to declare Atiku Abubakar winner of the February 23, 2019 presidential elections, forcing Abubakar to petition the Electoral Tribunal for alleged irregularities in the electoral process. In response, Buhari and the APC, sidestepping the issues raised in the petition, have gone down this rabbit hole of trying to denaturalize Alhaji Abubakar. Well, I am not saying they should not. I am only saying that when the dominoes of the can of worms have fallen, it is not just a Cameroonian Atiku that will be left in their trails, it will also be the 20 years of national vacuum and illegality.

Where is Olu Falae? I think the Tribunal should declare him president, being the validly nominated candidate in the 1999 presidential elections with the second highest votes polled. A further consequence is that Obasanjo, the estate of Yar’Adua, Jonathan, and Buhari should immediately relinquish all privileges accruing to them by virtue of having been presidents, including pensions and taxpayer-funded security. Let the dominoes continue to fall.

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