Thursday, February 28, 2008

Atiku Abubakar: Africa's Fraudulent Elections: A Non-Violent Alternative

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of Nigeria

I am posting this press release by the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for reference, since it was released before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, dismissed the suits of former military ruler, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and upheld the fraudulent election of "President" Umaru Yar'Adua in the April 2007 presidential poll.

23 Feb 2008 23:00 Africa/Lagos
Atiku Abubakar: Africa's Fraudulent Elections: A Non-Violent Alternative

Africa's Fraudulent Elections: A Non-Violent Alternative

A statement by former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar

In advance of a decision by a Nigerian tribunal on February 26 on whether the 2007 election of the President was legal, former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar delivers a statement.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

"Nigeria will soon confront one of the most difficult challenges that any emerging Democracy must face, whether the rule of law as set by the courts will prevail. The Nigerian Supreme Court will soon decide if it will nullify last year's presidential elections on fraud charges. How the government reacts could well determine the future of the country. Nigeria is a sovereign nation, but the United States must urge the current leaders to abide by the Supreme Court's ruling. If not, the unfolding tragedy in Kenya and the violence in that neighboring country could well repeat itself.

On December 27th, Kenyans went to the polls to elect a president. The election was close, pitting an incumbent President Mwai Kibaki against opposition leader, Raila Odinga. Faced with the prospect of losing, President Kibaki apparently chose to steal the election, and in doing so, he precipitated an ethnic civil war. Thus far, about 1,000 Kenyans have died, and another 300,000 have fled their homes.

The election fraud last April in Nigeria was much worse than Kenya's. Incumbent President Obasanjo manipulated every stage of the process. Although I was elected as his Vice President, by the end of his second term, he used every instrument at his command to try to soil my reputation and prevent me from running so as to leave a clear path for him to change the constitution and allow himself a third term. I opposed his effort and was joined by a courageous majority in Parliament that prevented the constitutional change. The Supreme Court also stood up to him and rejected the charges of corruption that he trumped up against me. On the eve of the election, the Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission to put my name on the ballot.

By then, it was too late for my party to organize to win the election, but Obasanjo took no chances. He instructed the Chair of the Election Commission, Maurice Iwu, a pharmacist, to concoct the election results like a drug prescription.

Virtually every international and domestic observer denounced the fraud. General Buhari and I were the two principal opposition candidates, but instead of inflaming our supporters as the Kenyan leaders did, we encouraged our people to stay calm, and we took our case to court. The courts moved swiftly to nullify state elections, and they are now considering validity of the presidential election.

It is imperative that all of us have confidence that the Court will make the right decision, and I certainly have decided to place my trust there. If the Justices declare the election valid, I will accept the result. If they annul the election, the Court and our country will become a model for all of Africa, but we will need solidarity within Nigeria and help from the world to turn the promise of such a decision into a real democracy. The problem is that if a new election is held under Iwu and the same election law, it will be fraudulent, and the people will lose their patience.

If the Appeals Court declares the Presidential election invalid, I will urge my supporters to remain calm, and I will ask the other presidential candidates to join me to invite a group of world leaders to help us fashion a new Election Commission and a new Election Law that would permit us to adhere to the Constitution and prepare for Nigeria's first genuinely free and fair election.

Kenya has disillusioned many democrats in Africa. Our hope is that Nigeria's Supreme Court will send a message to all Africans that democracy is not only possible, it is essential to peace and ethnic coexistence. Incumbents will no longer be permitted to manipulate the electoral process. Election Commissions must be genuinely autonomous, impartial, and professional.

I pledge to do all that I can to assure that democracy and rule of law return to Nigeria peacefully. We hope that the world will stand with us and give Africans a reason again for hope."

~ Atiku Abubakar was Vice President of Nigeria from 1999-2007. He was the Presidential candidate of the Action Congress in the fraudulent election of April 2007.

Note to editors: This information is distributed by Qorvis Communications LLC on behalf of Atiku Abubakar. Further information is available at the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

Source: Atiku Abubakar

CONTACT: Matt J. Lauer, +1-703-463-1841,

Nigerian Times Commentary:

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal may have the brains to pass judgment on the petitions against the disputed election of "President" Umaru Yar’Adua, but will not have the balls to annul the election.

The fact cannot be denied, that the April polls in 2007 were not free and fair.

If the various election petitions tribunals, because of electoral irregularities and fraud, have annulled the gubernatorial elections of seven state governors from the notorious ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the presidential election of Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua should also be annulled, because the gubernatorial and presidential elections were held on the same day and they were all rigged.

The incumbent People's Democratic Party (PDP) violated the electoral procedures and caused the premature death of over 700 people who were killed during the marred 2007 April polls in Nigeria. It would be unfair and unlawful for the election petitions tribunals to validate the fraudulent elections of all the legislators, governors and the President from the notorious PDP.


Dr I Craig said...

Atiku Abubakar knew before he posted press release Nigeria’s Supreme Court will not make right decision, because it is still under control of PDP and “Retired generals”.
The President is “Their man” and can be given orders and manipulated, as well as Senate President (Retired general) is the “right person” also.
So, what democracy and rule of law was he expecting?
I am a foreigner; Medical doctor spent 17 years working in Nigeria closely watched and admired A.Atiku’s rise in political arena. I believe he deserves to be a President to bring changes to the country that was under military dictatorship for so many years.
He made a right decision to be calm and appeal to international community for help.
I am joining him in support for building real democracy based on the Constitution and rule of law.

Anonymous said...

Here is an intersting article on Atiku...

"Solid reputations take years to be won, but they can be lost virtually overnight. The political landscape is littered with the (figurative) bodies of those who have been implicated but later exonerated in scandal. The same is true in Africa as it is here in the States. And this is precisely what happened to former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is seeking his nation's presidency (full disclosure: Atiku's Washington-based attorney is a client, and I have provided counsel on his issues. Two of my colleagues have met directly with the Vice President). Mr. Abubakar was implicated in the bribery scandal that led to the indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), but on close examination of the evidence it turns out, well, there is no evidence that he was involved at all."