The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has told a Federal High Court in Abuja, that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is not eligible to contest for president because “he is not a Nigerian by birth.”
The affidavit was filed in 2019 by the Integrated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA) against the PDP and Atiku, challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for president.
They are asking the court to hold among others, that contemplating the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice-president can’t contest for the apex workplace.
Atiku was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) within the 2019 general election where he lost to the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, Atiku’s son, Adamu, who spoke in the course of the presentation of his scorecard as Commissioner for Works and Power in Adamawa State, in June last year, stated his father would contest again in 2023.
“In 2023, my father will be aspiring to the number one office within the land because he has been an astute, strategic, grasp politician for almost four decades,” he stated.
However, the affidavit deposed by Malami by his counsel, Dipo Opeseyi (SAN), averred that “the first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, however not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”
In their replies, Atiku and the PDP requested the court to dismiss the suit for lack of benefit, maintaining that Atiku is a bona fide Nigerian citizen who has held completely different positions within the nation.
Justice Inyang Ekwo has fixed May four, for the hearing of the suit.
Meanwhile, a political group, Amalgamated Atiku Support Group has criticised Malami for joining the suit against Atiku.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku’s Nigeria’s citizenship is a settled matter, and anything contrary to that is a figment of Malami’s warped imagination,” the statement reads.
“For Malami to affix the suit filed by a hurriedly put collectively group referred to as Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA) begs the question as to what the interest of Malami the AGF is.
“The suit before the court difficult the citizenship of Atiku Abubakar, it could be recalled, has been exhaustively handled by the Court of Appeal and similar affirmed by the Supreme Court on the final judgment during the presidential election petition tribunal.
“It is therefore laughable and inconceivable to see the Attorney General of the Federation putting his weight behind such an exercise in futility.”