Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, has debunked claims by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he is a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian.
Atiku, a former vice president of Nigeria, stated this in his reply to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in response to the counter-filing made by the APC to the PDP and its presidential candidate’s petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
The APC had claimed that Jada, where Atiku was born, was part of Northern Cameroon as at the time of his birth and is, therefore, not qualified to be described as a Nigerian and was not qualified to participate in the 2019 presidential election.
But in his response, Atiku argued that his parents were Nigerians, who were of Fulani descent. He explained that his father was from present-day Sokoto State but emigrated to Adamawa State, while his mother hailed from today’s Jigawa State.
He noted that the APC’s premise of using the agreement between Britain and Germany as pertaining to old Northern Cameroon is misleading as he is effectively acknowledged as a citizen of Nigeria, according to the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The court filing read: “The parents of the 1st Petitioner(Atiku) are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria.”
“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 tum 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 further explained his life activities to substantiate his message to the tribunal that he is indeed a Nigerian.
He stated how he served at the Nigerian Customs Service for over 20 years, retiring as a Deputy Director; also as a politician for about 30 years, who contested the presidential primaries under the platform of then Social Democratic Party (SDP) alongside the late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe in 1992.
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.
The PDP presidential candidate noted that he is 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, until he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.
“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,” the filing read.