The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has debunked the notion that he was Cameroonian by birth and thus not qualified to contest the presidential election.
Atiku, who was born in Jada in 1946, in Adamawa State, said he was born by Nigerian parents and, therefore, “a citizen of Nigeria by birth.”
According to his response to the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) documents filed before the Presidential Election Tribunal, the former vice president said his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, is a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wurmo in Sokoto State, while the mother, Aisha Kande, is also a Nigerian, who hailed from Dutse in Jigawa State.
“The parents of the 1st petitioner (Atiku) are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria,” his lawyers said.
They added: “The birth of the 1st petitioner in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku, who was an itinerant trader, from Wurmo in present day Sokoto State to Jada in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman.
“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st petitioner, gave birth to Garba, who in turn gave birth to the 1st petitioner and named him after his own father Atiku.
“The 1st petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse, who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in present day Jigawa State.
“That all averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons, League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the 1st petitioner and therefore completely irrelevant more so that the 1st petitioner is a Nigerian by birth within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st petitioner.”
Atiku said that the votes he secured in the presidential election were not wasted votes, and still claimed that he got more votes than President Buhari.
To buttress his Nigerian citizenship, Atiku listed his career path and political activities and the awards and honours that he had received.
These included his being a civil servant in the Nigerian Customs Service for over 20 years, retiring as a Deputy Director; a politician for about 30 years, who in 1992 contested the presidential primaries on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) alongside the late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe.
He also mentioned his participation in the 1999 governorship election in Adamawa State in 1999, which he won and the presidential elections of 1999 and 2003, which he won as running mate to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He also mentioned his being a recipient of the National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) and holder of the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017 when he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.
He said: “In 2007, the 1st Petitioner contested Presidential election under the platform of Action Congress (AC) and the 2nd respondent contested under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP).
“In 2014, the 1st Petitioner and the 2nd respondent contested the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the 3rd respondent for the 2015 presidential elections.”
Atiku’s response was signed by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria on behalf of 20 other SANs.
They are Kabiru Turaki, Chief Chris Uche, Pius A. Akubo, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, Adebayo 0. Adelodun, Saka Abimola Isau, Isiyaku Ibrahim, Paul Erokoro, K.C.O. Njemanze, Eyitayo Jegede, Sebastine T. Hon, Dr. Mike Ozekhome, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, Prof. Maxwell Gidado, Dr. Akinpelu Onigbinde, Emeka Etiaba, Chief Gordy Uche, Dr. Mrs. V.J.O. Azinge, Emeka Okpoko, and Olalekan Ojo.
Other lawyers listed in the petition are Ebenezer Obeya, Emmanuel Enoidem. Peter Afuba, Prof. Yusuf Dankofa, Prof. Lanre Adeojo, Ahmed Tijjani Uwais, Alexander Ejesieme, Abdulaziz Ibrahim, Chike Okafor, Shikammah K. Sheltu, Jabiro Bashir Mohammed, Silas Joseph Ono, Dr. Jennifer Abubakar, Jude Daniel Odi, and Mohammed Malabo.