The Federal Government yesterday warned Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar against resorting to self-help over the outcome of the February 23 election.
It asked Atiku to realise that the only lawful channel for challenging the result of an election is the court.
Any act capable of triggering a crisis will not be condoned, the government said.
The government said it was absurd that Atiku had hired a lobbying firm to convince the United States not to recognise the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari until the Supreme Court has ruled on the suit he filed. Atiku has denied this.
It said having lost by almost four million (4m) votes, it was unfortunate that Atiku is seeking US recognition as the winner of the election.
To the government, it is unfortunate that Atiku is thinking of replicating the Venezuelan model in Nigeria.
The government made its position known at a briefing in Abuja by Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, which was attended by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Mohammed said: “As you must have noticed in recent times, posters bearing the picture of former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, with the inscription: ‘’THE PUKKA, H.E. ATIKU ABUBAKAR, THE REAL AND THE RIGHT’’, have surfaced across major streets in Abuja.
“The appearance of these posters coincide with the media report that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has hired a US lobbying firm to convince the United States not to recognise the re-election of President Buhari until the Supreme Court has ruled on the suit by the PDP presidential candidate
“The posters and the hiring of U.S. lobbyists, the latest of such by the PDP candidate, have triggered questions about what Alhaji Abubakar is up to. Is he starting a fresh campaign after the elections have been won and lost?
”Has he rescinded his decision to challenge the results of the presidential election in court, perhaps after realising that the results he claimed to have obtained from the INEC back server are cooked? Is he now going for self-help? What really is Atiku’s motive?
“Gentlemen, we are aware of media reports that the PDP presidential candidate on Wednesday distanced himself from the posters that are circulating in Abuja. He also reportedly denied hiring U.S. lobbyists, claiming tongue-in-cheek that the APC fabricated the report.
“If the media reports are right, it means that the former Vice President has suddenly realised the grave implication of his actions, hence has decided to beat a quick retreat before it is too late.
“As a self-avowed democrat, he should realise that the only lawful channel for challenging the result of an election is through the courts. Resorting to self-help, as he seems to be doing now, is an act of desperation and the consequences are dire.”
The Federal Government described Atiku’s plot to replicate the Venezuelan model in Nigeria as sheer daydreaming.
Mohammed added: “There is no doubt that the PDP presidential candidate, out of desperation, is thinking of replicating the Venezuelan model right here in Nigeria. But he should realise that Nigeria is not Venezuela, and that the situations in both countries are not the same.
“President Muhammadu Buhari won the Feb. 23rd 2019 presidential elections fair and square, with a margin of 3,928,869 million votes. The election’s credibility was attested to by local and foreign observers.
“There is no doubt that President Buhari’s victory is well- deserved. As I said at a different forum, it represents the triumph of the ordinary Nigerians over the elite.
“The election is a direct contest between ordinary Nigerians and the elite, most of whom are rent seekers. Of course, the ordinary Nigerians have won. This is not a surprise, considering the pro-poor policy of the Administration.
“Despite the antics of the naysayers, Nigerians demonstrated that they appreciate the giant strides that have been made by the administration; whether in the areas of economy, fight against corruption or in tackling insecurity.”
Although the minister admitted that it is within the fundamental human rights of Atiku to go to court on the results of the Presidential Election, he cautioned him against seeking U.S. recognition as the winner of the poll.
He said: “ Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has the right to do whatever is lawful to challenge the outcome of that election. But he cannot get through the back door what he couldn’t get through the front door. That will be a pipe dream.
“ If he believes hiring a foreign lobbying firm will advance his quest, we wish him the best of luck. But seeking U.S. recognition as the winner of an election that he lost by almost four million votes is unconscionable.
“Recall, gentlemen, that after the result of the presidential election was announced, the U.S. joined other countries to congratulate President Buhari.