Alhaji Mala Atuman is the chairman of the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, in Borno State. Atuman in an interview reviews recent developments in the State and argues that the recent alleged moves by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to seek a review of the Supreme Court judgment upholding the election of Governor Kashim Shettima was born out of desperation.
What is your reaction to speculations that the opposition PDP in Borno State wants to approach the Supreme Court to reverse its decision on the victory of the ANPP in the gubernatorial election in the state?
First of all, let me reaffirm that Governor Kashim Shettima of the ANPP won the 2011 elections in a free, fair and credible election. At least the PDP men themselves agreed that elections were held in Borno but because some of them are very naïve they claimed that in the areas or local government areas where the candidate of the PDP, our elder brother, Mohammed Goni won the elections by defeating the ANPP, the elections there were credible and should stand but in areas where they lost, elections there were not credible.
Whereas the elections in areas where the PDP won and the areas where the ANPP won were all conducted by the same INEC officials they are condemning, the same INEC that declared PDP winner of two Senate seats in Borno Central and Borno South, so they are just saying what doesn’t make sense at all.
Regarding their return to the Supreme Court, I think they are doing it for three main purposes, the PDP is not on ground in Borno and they have never been, they operate from Abuja while the governor here is a grass roots man, relates with the people come rain or sunshine, the ANPP’s structure is fully on ground in Borno and this means the party will always win the heart of the masses… (cuts in)
… You earlier said the PDP is returning to the court for three purposes. It is alleged that the PDP is claiming that 5 judges instead of seven, constituted the panel that tried the Borno matter?
I was coming back to the three purposes, the fact is that the PDP is chasing shadows because many cases were tried by five-man panel of judges in the Supreme Court, even landmark cases were determined by a panel of five judges.
PDP in Borno as such has other motives. The number one thing is that some people in the PDP in Borno are just too desperate for power because they shot themselves in the foot.
From what we gathered, they have been going to Aso Rock to mount serious pressures on the President and the Vice President to interfere with the case, so in order to achieve that, they need to be in the court no matter how unreasonable their basis may be, all they want is for the President to abuse his powers and manipulate the Supreme Court so that the court will just bring in the PDP, they don’t even want election.
You said the matter is over but what about the fresh case?
From the time the Supreme Court ruled on our matter, over five cases on governorship and other elective political offices were determined with Supreme Court judgment on our case mainly being used as reference. So is the PDP in Borno saying that all these cases should no longer be valid? Where do they want the courts to start?
By asking the justices of the Supreme Court to reverse their own judgment, I think they just want to insult the collective integrity of the respected jurists and the highest court of the land because they want the judges to indict themselves so that by the time they reverse themselves it will look like they don’t know what they are doing because if the Supreme Court can just afford to make a mistake and decide on the matter in error like the PDP men in Borno want to mislead people to believe then there is a problem but we know there is no problem. The PDP problem in Borno is that they shot their foot because the state has no representation even in the national exco of the PDP.
About five of them came out to contest the seat of national chairman, no one was ready to step down for the other because of their usual ‘I too know’ attitude so at the end of the day, the two front runners were from PDP controlled states of Bauchi and Adamawa, and of course Adamawa got it. The PDP in Borno has not received anything it didn’t deserve, their focus is to get the governorship by hook or crook which they will never get insha Allah.
You earlier said the PDP was acting for 3 main reasons… (cuts in)
They are desperate because they lost the national chairmanship to Adamawa and this was because they put all their eggs in one basket. Secondly, they want to insult the integrity of the Supreme Court judges but the third one is that they are trying to cause intense instability in Borno. They have seen how the governor is inspecting ongoing projects so they want to divert the governor’s attention with the new case so that he doesn’t achieve anything thinking that will make them relevant in 2015. The fact is that some of these PDP men are serious enemies of Borno, they do not want progress and stability.
So, I join well meaning Nigerians to call on the President and the Vice President to ignore these desperate people that don’t even mean well for his government because they are the same people that will leak it out boastfully that he influenced things in their favour and rubbish him. Above all, the Supreme Court judges should maintain their integrity like we know they will always do so that they remain ideal reference in our democratic experiments.