Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described the Supreme Court ruling on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) petition as affirmation of the popular will of Nigerians. It reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari won four million more votes than his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar in the February poll.
A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, added that the ruling reiterated that the onus of proof must necessarily fall on those that challenge the vote. “Allegations must be substantiated if they are to hold, and this requires producing credible witnesses that verify key claims. As the Supreme Court has stated, the case failed this test. On the issue of qualifications, President Buhari has a long history of service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The questioning of this fact seems to fly in the face of all evidence. However, now it is time for the PDP to take up the service mandated by this election. The legislative agenda of the ninth assembly is ambitious in both size and scope. It is critical the opposition is there to scrutinise bills and policies, rather than preoccupy themselves with unsustainable court cases.
“We appreciate the PDP and their candidate for taking these claims to courts rather than expressing them in other ways, but now Nigeria needs a robust and rigorous opposition. The nation needs to move on. While it is correct to give credit to the courts for affirming this electoral victory, and we commend the courage of the bench to arrive at the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise, the reality is that courts were convinced by arguments from the lawyers representing the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari that results reflected the true wishes of a majority of our citizens.”