Atiku Abubakar is in the tribunals! Why should this be a song? He and his supporters, after receiving heavy trouncing at the last presidential election, turned going to a tribunal to a song, a dance; indeed a major achievement. Dazed by the outcome of the presidential election. Atiku started the new song of going to the tribunal. He said, over and over again, that he would go to the tribunal. If he hoped to get a reaction from Buhari that defeated him, he was terribly shocked that his song of going to the tribunal was treated with such huge snub as has been known of Buhari. In fact, it was only some of his party men who were scandalized by the margin of his loss that advised Atiku not to go to the tribunal because he was defeated fair and square. But Atiku would have none of this. He ate and breathed the threat of going to court and meant the loud but boring repetition of going to the tribunal to be a morale booster in the face of the humiliation he and his henchmen received in that election despite their noisy boasts.
We heard when Atiku constituted his legal team as a subset of the achievement of going to the tribunal. We heard when his legal team went to institute a case at the tribunal as another subset of Atiku’s weird achievement. All these and numerous others were celebrated with uncommon aplomb and publicity by Atiku and his supporters. And then, Atiku went to court. The tribunal proceedings have been carefully serenaded by Atiku and his supporters that you might wonder what really is in the whole process. Atiku suddenly started talking of retrieving his ‘stolen mandate’ and even as he and his rain-battered supporters knew that Atiku has no mandate to retrieve, they hung on to this boast as the tribunal gathered steam and is now rolling in full motion.
Atiku first anchored his claim of a mandate on the weird contents of an INEC server which is known only to him and his PDP confederates alone. He claims that a server somewhere belonging to INEC gave him victory; a queer and horrible claim that has been denied by both INEC and those who should know. Against the position of INEC, Atiku claims that a certain INEC server declared him winner of the election and chunked out a bogus end figure that favoured him with no further back up. Atiku has no coherent state by state tabulation of results in his server. He has no local government tabulation, no ward by ward tabulation and no polling booth by polling booth tabulation of the results he shamelessly hawks as being from an unknown INEC server that only he and his PDP supporters, especially his Dubai Strategy members are aware of. Simply speaking, Atiku invested heavily in bubbles in his strange claim of an INEC server where results of the 2019 presidential election were transmitted by God-knows-whom. So embarrassing was that in his so-called INEC server results, Nigerians only voted him and Buhari and not even a single Nigerian voted for the many other candidates that contested the presidential election under several platforms apart from APC and PDP! Can you beat that?
As his INEC server story refused to fly, Atiku now braced for the decisive tribunal hearing where he is expected to prove beyond reasonable doubts, his strange claim of a mandate in an election he was beaten black and blue. That is the process we are in now and beyond the watery, leaky, cock-and-bull stories that have so far clothed Atiku’s queer claims is the opportunity to prove, with indomitable facts, that he indeed won the election. That is the process we are in now. Atiku has had an 87-years old Ben Nwabueze, one of his most rabid backers, wheeled into the court room as his leading lawyer and that is where that drama ended. Atiku said he will call 400 witnesses to prove his case and the tribunal has granted him 10 days to do so. By the time of writing this report, Atiku has just managed to call 36 witnesses and he has just about 4 days left to call the remaining 384! At the last sitting on Friday, his lawyers claimed that his witnesses billed to testify that day, coming from Zamfara were attacked by bandits on the way to Abuja. They nether provided the identity of those attacked nor where they were attacked. They threw no further light to this sorry claim but then many are wondering if Atiku indeed transports his witnesses from far-flung states to Abuja on the very day they were slated to appear. What are the chances of a supposed witness slated to testify on a particular day meeting the tribunal after a journey that was supposed to last for nearly the whole day? Lie, pure lies and pure evasion tactics! Anyway, the police has said that no incident of attack by any bandit occurred in Zamfara nor any person claiming to be Atiku’s witness attacked on the said day thereby bursting Atiku and his hopeless legal team’s face saving white lie.
Care to know how Atiku and his witnesses have fared at the tribunal so far? That one has the capacity of provoking a comedy book. So far, the performance of Atiku’s witnesses at the tribunal has fed a huge industry of comedy and parody. What comes from his so-called witnesses is a cocktail of poorly fabricated stories, forgeries, outlandish lies and savagery claims that ridicule his case and his state further. One Atiku witness claimed that Atiku defeated Buhari in Buhari’s Katsina State. When cross-examined, he couldn’t even produce one sheet of paper to back up his silly claim. Even then, Atiku’s ‘INEC server’ didn’t make this claim as it said that Buhari beat Atiku in Katsina but with lesser margin than in INEC result. This particular claim led one social media commentator to make a post that the ban on tramadol is not working! Another claimed that real results were replaced with forged INEC results and when challenged to produce the real results, he said he didn’t have any.
One Atiku witness claimed that he transmitted results to an INEC server and when challenged to give details of the results he allegedly transmitted, he said he didn’t know the details but was concerned with transmitting results. One claimed that he transmitted results to INEC server and when asked the code of the so-called server he transmitted results to, he said he didn’t know. One claimed that he was seeing a statement he allegedly made and signed to support Atiku’s claim the very day he was called to witness for Atiku. Another claimed that on the day of election, a bomb was detonated at the collation center and he and all PDP members, agents and supporters ran away and APC members changed the results. When asked how he knew since he claimed to have ran away, he said that he hid somewhere and was watching what was happening, although he didn’t tell us whether the APC members were immune from bomb blast. One claimed that the results he signed was not the real results, and when asked why he signed, he said that he just felt like signing.
One of Atiku’s witnesses, in fact his chief witness, Buba Galadima went there to ridicule himself by claiming to be an APC member working for PDP. And on and on and on, the parody keeps mounting. One surprising thing about Atiku’s witnesses is that none has so far passed the integrity test after being cross-examined. None has tendered half a proof or fact to back up his specious claims. Like Atiku and those massing around him, it is obvious that his witnesses were drafted to tell fairy tales and how Atiku hopes to employ this to become president should baffle and jar any decent mind. One would have expected Atiku to come to the tribunal with proof of how he was rigged out in his polling unit in Adamawa where he was beaten but he did not do that. One would have expected him to draft his Campaign Director and National Leader of PDP, Bukola Saraki to witness with resounding proof, how he was rigged out in his Kwara State where Atiku hopelessly lost but he didn’t do that. One would have expected Atiku to call his garrulous supporter, Buba Galadima to witness how he was rigged out in his polling unit where Atiku was beaten by a whopping 750 votes to his own 25 by Buhari but this old lickspittle rather came to the tribunal to revel and loaf. One would have expected Atiku to call Obasanjo, his main godfather in this election to come and prove to the tribunal how he was rigged out at his Owu polling unit where Atiku miserably lost to Buhari but he didn’t do that. Fact is that almost all Atiku’s backbones in all the zones except South East and South South were beaten down to their wards. Atiku didn’t call these to witness how Buhari rigged him out starting from their respective polling units, wards, local governments and states but he evaded this in his disgraceful claim of having a mandate. He rather went shopping for cheap witnesses to come to the tribunal to regale the nation with such silly, empty and baseless claims; none of which has survived preliminary cross examination.
With the days for him to call his witnesses drawing close, his lawyers, obviously embarrassed by the jaded parody their case has turned to, have to fork out that bandit attack story to buy time and bring their case to an anti-climactic end. But what is obvious from what has happened so far in Atiku’s much-celebrated tribunal case is that it is a charade; a puff and a silly tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. In fact, Festus Keyamo (SAN) was even charitable in describing Atiku’s election petition as the most useless election petition in Nigeria’s history. But then, many believe that Atiku knows the hopelessness of his petition but mobilized all the drama he did around the case just to maintain a stranglehold on the 2023 presidential ticket. Time will tell on this too.