The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Mallami has approached the judiciary to question the eligibility of Nigeria’s former vice president and one time presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar if contesting for the presidency with the provisions of the country’s constitution.
Mallami in his resolve argued that the former vice president may not be qualified to run for office, hinging on the fact that Atiku is neither born of Nigerian parents or born in Nigeria and as such, would be violating some parts of the Nigerian constitution (Sections 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the constitution and Section 118(1) (k) of the Electoral Act), should he decide to run for any office in the country.
The AGF will be supporting an already existing suit filed in Federal High Court, Abuja by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA).
The EMA in its suit asked the court to disqualify Atiku, adding that by the provisions of sections 25(1) & (2) and 131(a), the former vice president ceases to be eligible to run for president.
The AGF in his support testament disclosed that Atiku was not a Nigerian and therefore, should not be allowed to run for office.
While the said suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 had been filed earlier by the group in 2019 before the presidential elections, it had not been heard since then.
In Mallami affidavit, he said:
The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The AGF argued that Atiku, having contested election to the office of the Vice President before now, knowing that he is not a Nigeria citizen by birth, committed an offence under Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act.
Malami noted that since Atiku was neither a citizen of Nigeria by birth or naturalization, he lacked the privilege to enjoy such rights to run for office in Nigeria.
However, in a swift reaction, Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party have dispelled such speculating or findings made by the AGF, adding that Atiku is an authentic citizen of Nigeria and would exercise civil rights like every other citizen.
Bothe the PDP and Atiku asked the court to trash out the suite saying the former vice president was a “bonafide citizen of Nigeria”
Atiku in his reaction debunked such a motion, adding that he had served in different political offices including being Nigeria’s Vice President from 1999 to 2007, serving as Governor of Adamawa State and also a Commissioned Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service.
He said both his parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in Nigeria and they lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.
Atiku argued that he is qualified and eligible to be elected into the office of the President of Nigeria, adding that the plaintiff filed the suit in bad faith and in an attempt to malign his person and integrity.