“When is the tribunal starting its work”? Or has he withdrawn”? And those who ask these sort of questions in Nigeria expect you to know that they refer to PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who has challenged incumbent Mohammadu Buhari’s victory at an elections tribunal. Some ask just so they’d be able to tell you what they have been told. Namely, that he is wasting his time. And money. Yet, some genuinely hope and pray that Mr Atiku succeeds at removing Mr Buhari.
Never has Nigeria’s succession circle been this murky since the June 12 days. And some predict it is deja vu. All over again.
One of Mr Buhari’s spokesmen, Festus Keyamo, at some point, suggested to the state security services that Mr Abubakar be hooked in for treason: Well, that the candidate “hacked INEC’s servers and obtained fake results “.A senior advocate, some held their breath at the sheer shallowness of Mr Keyamo’s frenzied ,self-indicting recommendation.
Another spokesperson, Lauretta Onnochie, not one of nature’s best communicators, has given her party and the president cause to worry. She alleges that Mr Abubakar has hired “foreign agents to destabilize Buhari “.
Two things gave birth to this: An organizational consultancy, Fein & DelValle PLLC, American, has allegedly been contracted by the PDP and its presidential candidate to smoothen its path to “reclaiming its mandate ” .
The firm is expected to “encourage Congress and the Executive to forbear from a final declaration and recognition of Nigeria’s February 23, 2019 presidential election until outstanding legal challenges to the initial government of Nigeria assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Supreme Court of Nigeria without political or military influence, intimidation or manipulation”.
Other terms of reference includes: “Meet and consult with members of Congress and staff in an effort to pass House and Senate resolution(s) to forebear from a final declaration and recognition of a winner of the 2019 Nigeria presidential election pending legal challenges to the initial assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Nigerian judiciary in accordance with the rule of law and due process, free from military or political influence.
“Draft articles and op-ed pieces to spotlight the issues in Nigeria post-2019 presidential election and to promote the rule of law and due process in resolving electoral disputes in Nigeria.
“Make television and other media appearances to engage in public advocacy discussions of these issues.”
Another one : Fresh posters of the candidate adore prominent places in Abuja’s Business District with epigraphs like “The real and the right” ,in many languages. Some also bore “Pukka”, Hindi for “Genuine “. To the APC, these inscriptions seem to suggest that Mr Buhari is neither real nor genuine hence it suggests ,yes, treason. The whole thing is actually a handiwork of an Adamawa group that supports Mr Abubakar.
We are tempted to ask: Why do Nigerians pray that Mr Abubakar wins at the tribunal and the government acts as if it can’t sleep? Perhaps partly because the economy has taken a turn for the absolute worse and law and order has broken down. Terror ,deaths reign daily. Everywhere. It is also mainly because that it looks like Mr Abubakar has a strong case. That Mr Buhari didn’t win free and fair. Proving those foul means is the reason people like Lauretta Onnochie are climbing walls.