Several prominent Nigerians and bodied have continued to react to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said the tribunal verdict was a resounding judicial vindication of President Buhari’s personal character and his electoral victory.
In a statement entitled: “President Election Tribunal Verdict, Justice Served, Democracy Saved,” Asiwaju Tinubu said: “With the unanimous ruling of the Court of Appeal dismissing the Presidential Election Petition of PDP candidate Alhaji Abubakar Atiku today, the rule of law came to the defense of democracy by affirming the sovereign will of the people. Their will was expressed during the February 23 election when a vast, compelling majority of the electorate cast their ballots for President Buhari to serve a second term as Head of State and Commander-in- Chief of our beloved nation.
“Whatever partisan side one might take, all must agree that today was a bright day for the administration of justice. The Court of Appeal rendered a comprehensive judgment of extraordinary thoroughness, reason and breadth on the many issues presented in this important matter. The Court did so in the open air and before the television cameras that gave eyes to the entire nation to watch this fine moment for the Nigerian judiciary. The court did its job by following the law of the land wherever it might lead.
“As a Nigerian, I was proud to see both sides of this dispute behave with utmost civility and decorum despite the weight of the matters at stake and the intensity of the legal arguments presented. It is in this spirit that we must always seek to resolve even our most stubborn differences that we may emerge a stronger yet more peaceful nation.
“Former Vice President Atiku and his legal team put forth some imaginative, if desperate, arguments as was their right. They fought vigorously for their positions and were allowed to do so without pressure and without fear. No one used the power of the state to intimidate them in court just as no one used the power of the state to intimidate them during the election. As the Court affirmed, the election was free and fair and the final result should stand.
“The PDP claimed that President Buhari was unqualified to run for office. To his credit, President Buhari took this assault against his character with customary grace. The court thoroughly vindicated him. Based on his education and the experiences gained through his fine career, the Court determined the evidence presented by Atiku showed that the President was ‘eminently qualified’ and had done nothing untoward in his election filings with INEC.
“Atiku also placed unfounded reliance on the assertion of the use of card readers to send election results to an imaginary server. The court found that the operative law did not provide for the alleged electronic transmission of polling booth results. Atiku could not present evidence that such transmissions ever took place. In fact, such transmissions were technologically unfeasible. Card readers were not meant for this task and the purported mystery server was but a phantom in the PDP’s mind.
“To their credit, Atiku’s team argued and pressed their case energetically; but in the end their claims were based on things that existed only in their minds. They were arguing what they wanted to have happened not what actually took place. The Court, on the other hand, can only deal with facts at hand not the imaginings of the mind.
“Most importantly, the Court found that the election was properly conducted and that President Buhari won by the wide margin counted and recorded by INEC. Atiku was given the chance to prove his case. In the end, he did not produce the requisite evidence. This failure was not from lack of trying; the failure was because such evidence simply does not exist. President Buhari won the election openly and honestly.
“I congratulate President Buhari for this resounding judicial vindication of his personal character and of his electoral victory. I know Mr. President as a magnanimous person who will reach out his hand in friendship to Atiku in the spirit of reconciliation, national tranquility and progress. We may disagree and argue as brothers but never as enemies who cannot resolve whatever difference that has come between us.
“The next step lies with Atiku. He can decide to continue with these claims or he can take the more prudent approach by accepting the express will of the people and placing his ample talents in the service of the nation in his private capacity.
“In the meantime, this day shall stand as a proud day for Nigeria, a day when the rule of law stood in full support of democratic elections and of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people to select the leaders of their choice.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has also congratulated President Buhari and the APC on the “resounding victory” at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Lawan said: “The judgment of the tribunal has again put a judicial seal on the mandate freely given to the president by the Nigerian people in the February 23 presidential election.”
Lawan urged the President to accept the affirmation of his election as a reminder of the confidence of Nigerians in his capacity to continue to lead Nigeria towards its manifest destiny of greatness.
The Senate President said the Nigerian people have great expectations from the Next Level Agenda of the President and further pledged the full cooperation of the National Assembly with the Executive in the pursuit of the best interest of the Nigerian people.
Lawan also commended the petitioners for using the judicial window prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in seeking redress for their grievances and urged them to join hands with the government and the Nigerian people in the important task of nation-building.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, described the victory as a final lap of a relay race where the real victor is evidently seen at the finishing line.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Although millions of Nigerians were not in doubt as regards the mandate freely given to President Buhari to steer the ship of the country for another term of four years, the opposition politicians were also not wrong to have approached the court to seek redress, noting that they were free to test the country’s judicial system.
“With this pronouncement, it is clear to everyone that contrary to misinformation being spread against our party during the electioneering by the opposition, the All Progressives Congress under President Muhammadu Buhari performed to the satisfaction of Nigerians in his first term in office.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu therefore enjoined Nigerians across party divide to team up with the president to deliver the real dividends of democracy to the people.
He said the next level campaign of the President is not only exciting but also a clear indication of the new frontier the country will reach in the next four years and beyond.
“I therefore congratulate the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the leadership and members of our great party, the All Progressives Congress and all Nigerians at home and in the diaspora on this very landmark judicial victory,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Former Abia State Governor and Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Orji Kalu, described the victory as good for Nigeria’s democracy.
Kalu noted that the verdict of the tribunal is a re-affirmation of the popularity of the President among the people, adding that the 2019 presidential election provided another opportunity for Nigerians to compensate Buhari for his good works.
Acknowledging the role of the judiciary in sustaining Nigeria’s growing democracy, Kalu advised politicians to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship in their pursuits for the sake of nation building.
While commending the panel for the landmark judgement, the Senator expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their firm confidence in President Buhari and his team.
In a statement personally signed by Kalu on Wednesday, he stressed that the re-affirmation of President Buhari’s victory is a testament to the unprecedented achievements of the current administration.
Former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, has also congratulated President Buhari.
Ambode, in a statement by his media aide, Habib Aruna, said the ruling by the tribunal was a validation of the second term mandate of the people given to President Buhari to continue the strides of development and to take Nigeria to the next level.
He said: “I join millions of Nigerians, the leadership of our great party and all members of our party across the nation to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on this well-deserved victory at the Tribunal. This victory is a validation of the confidence in the President’s re-election and a testament to the fact that the people are happy with the progress made by his administration and are keen to see four more years of progressive governance.”
In a reaction circulated to the media immediately after the petition was dismissed, the Muslim Rights Concern congratulated President Buhari on his victory.
The reaction was circulated by Prof. Ishaq Akintola, Director and Founder of the organization, on Wednesday.
It said: “We felicitate with President Muhammadu Buhari. It is a victory well-deserved. We dedicate this victory to the war against corruption. It is a victory for integrity, a victory for level-headedness and a triumph for democracy. We congratulate the Nigerian people for voting right. We commend the Nigerian proletariat for refusing to sell this country to the highest bidder.”
MURIC also commended the judiciary and appealed to the opposition to accept the judgement in good faith.
It said: “But above all, we salute the Nigerian judiciary for coming out boldly and loudly to proclaim victory for conscience. We pay tribute to the temple of justice for refusing to engage in trade by batter.
“As we raise the curtain, we appeal to the opposition candidate who lost at the tribunal as well as his party to bury the hatchet and allow the Federal Government to settle down. This is not only the wisest thing to do at this stage but also in the interest of our great country, Nigeria.”