PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari created a stir at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday when he declared that former vice president and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is not a Nigerian.
On February 23 this year, Alhaji Abubakar stood against President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in presidential elections, which the incumbent won. However, Alhaji Abubakar has refused to accept the results, saying he was robbed of his mandate and the matter is now before the elections tribunal.
Testifying before the tribunal yesterday, Mr Kyari said that Alhaji Abubakar was a Cameroonian flesh and blood because both his father and grandfather were from Cameroon. Mr Kyari, who was led through his deposition by Chief Wole Olanipekun, counsel for the president, insisted that Jada, the hometown of the former vice president was in Adamawa Province, an enclave that belonged to Northern Cameroon in 1946 when Atiku was born.
He explained that Alhaji Abubakar was already born in 1946 before the plebiscite was conducted in 1961 to divide Nigeria and Cameroon when Jada which was part of Northern Cameroon voted to become Nigerian territory. Mr Kyari further said that the plebiscite also resulted in the southern part of Cameroon officially aligning to becoming Cameroonian territory.
He added that the French system of assimilation had compelled the people of Jada, including Alhaji Abubakar’s father and grandfather to be full Cameroonians in flesh and blood. As a result, the APC urged the tribunal to dismiss PDP’s petition for fielding a non-Nigerian to contest the presidential election.
According to the APC, Nigeria’s constitution had foreclosed the participation of non-Nigerians in the country’s elections. It further argued that it did not matter if the provision was not tested when Alhaji Abubakar was selected to be the country’s vice president, arguing that it was inappropriate for a non-Nigerian to contest or challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.