Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the 2023 Nigerian election, has chosen to extend his challenge against President Bola Tinubu’s victory to a court in the United States, amidst awaiting the judgment of the Presidential Elections Petitions Court in Nigeria.
The 2023 presidential election results, with Bola Tinubu declared as the winner after polling 8,794,726 votes, have been one of the most contentiously contested in Nigerian history. Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, representing the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party respectively, were the runners up, with the former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, landing in fourth place.
Atiku and Obi have exhibited their dissatisfaction with the election process by filing petitions against Tinubu’s declaration, claiming that INEC did not conduct the polls in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022. Both are questioning Tinubu’s eligibility to run for the office, with Obi focusing on Tinubu’s involvement in a U.S. drug-related case, and Atiku delving into Tinubu’s academic records at Chicago State University.
In response, Tinubu filed a motion to quash the subpoena before the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Chicago, USA, dismissing Atiku’s petition as premature. Tinubu’s counsel, Victor Henderson, described Atiku’s actions as an “improper fishing expedition.”
The move to take the dispute to the U.S. court has drawn varying views from lawyers and Nigerians. Human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, views it as a positive development, while constitutional lawyer Kennedy Khanoba argues that unless Tinubu is convicted, Atiku’s endeavor may prove fruitless.
Political analyst, Jackson Ojo also pointed out that the sovereignty of Nigeria might render Atiku’s quest for justice in a foreign court ineffective. However, he added that Atiku might have received the best legal advice before taking this action.
IMAGE: Premium Times