Election Tribunal: You Will Not Succeed – Lagos Monarch Tells Atiku

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Nasirudeen Usman, leader of the NIPSS delegation presenting honorary award to Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos.

The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, on Wednesday said Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, will not succeed in his quest to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari through the election tribunal.

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Mr Akiolu advised Mr Atiku to drop his case against Mr Buhari’s re-election, saying he strongly believed the president had the mandate of Nigerians and would finish his second term in office.

The traditional ruler also launched an attack on former president Olusegun Obasanjo. He said his self-acclaimed powers had been demystified by Mr Buhari’s re-election.

The Lagos monarch spoke when participants of the Senior Executive Course 41 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, visited him in his palace.

The NIPPS delegation is in the state for a study tour of its health sector. The visit is coordinated by NIPSS in collaboration with the Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC) through PACFAH@Scale.

“If anyone of you here is close to Atiku, tell him he can never succeed in what he is doing now.

“Buhari will complete his term in office, but Buhari too has to listen to the people, pray to God and be honest in what he is doing,” the Oba said.

Background

Mr Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was the main challenger to President Buhari at the February 23 elections.

On February 27, the electoral umpire declared Mr Buhari winner of the elections, and issued him a certificate of return for a second four-year term starting May 29.

Mr Abubakar and his party challenged the results at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal two months ago, saying he won the election and was in possession of evidence that would upturn the declared outcome.

Mr Abubakar’s legal team submitted a different result to the tribunal, which showed the former vice-president as the winner of the election.

His lawyers said the results were released by an INEC whistle-blower who had access to the commission’s internal server and other tools throughout the election.

In its initial response to Mr Abubakar’s petition, INEC strongly denied operating a server during the election, accusing Mr Abubakar of circulating fake results for the purpose of his petition.

Mr Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) also sided with INEC and alleged criminal interception of a public institution’s communication by Mr Abubakar and the PDP.

Obasanjo not left out

The Oba also seized the opportunity to mock Mr Obasanjo who had supported Mr Atiku in the election.

Mr Akiolu said Mr Obasanjo had always arrogated to himself the divine power to determine the country’s leaders, but “Buhari’s victory in the last election had demystified him.”

Former President Obasanjo is considered one of the most influential politicians in Nigeria. Since the return of democracy in 1999, he has been having his say in who becomes the president, until the 2019 general election.

Mr Akiolu said he had always believed Mr Buhari would win the election and that he was glad that the former president “had been proved wrong at the end of the day”.

“I had said that Buhari would win even before the election. Unfortunately, the number one person creating problems in this country is former president Obasanjo.

“He arrogated to himself the powers of the Almighty Allah by saying it was the support he gave to Buhari that made him win the first term.

“Obasanjo said Buhari would not win the second term, but did Buhari not win? Did I not say Obasanjo will be disappointed by the time the results were announced?

“The president’s victory clearly shows power belongs to God only and no man can decide who leads the country,” he noted.

Mr Akiolu said the problems of insecurity, unemployment and other challenges of the country would be better tackled if citizens joined hands with government to address them.

The monarch urged politicians to put the issues of the last elections behind them and work together for the progress of the country.

NIPSS Visit

The monarch expressed optimism that Lagos would benefit from the study tour of the NIPSS delegation.

The Oba said he was delighted that the focus of the tour was to understand the challenges affecting healthcare delivery system in the state, with a view to providing solutions.

Mr Akiolu said qualitative healthcare system was key to improved life expectancy.

He urged the government to improve budgetary allocation to the health sector in line with World Health Organisation standard. He noted that there was a link between quality health care and economic development.

Mr Akiolu also described the NIPSS as a good initiative that had helped shaped policy formulation in the country.

Nasirudeen Usman, the leader of the NIPSS delegation thanked the Oba for a warm reception. He said the visit was to pay respect to the monarch “as it was the norm for participants to visit distinguished personalities anywhere they go.”

Mr Usman presented an honorary award to the traditional ruler.

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