By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday challenged the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to deploy its energy towards providing robust and rigorous opposition for the country.
This is as the Presidency has applauded the nation’s apex court, the Supreme Court judgment on the issue of qualifications, saying that President Buhari has a long history of service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated this while reacting to the Supreme Court judgement in the case challenging Buhari’s victory by the former Vice President and PDP’s Presidential candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
Garba, who noted that the president welcomed the elucidation of the Supreme Court ruling on the PDP petition, said the government also appreciated the PDP and their candidate for taking their claims to courts rather than expressing them in other ways.
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He, however, said that with the judgement, Nigeria needs a robust and rigorous opposition as the nation needs to move on.
According to him, “While it is correct to give credit to the courts for affirming this electoral victory-and we commend the courage of the bench to arrive at the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise-the reality is that courts were convinced by arguments from the lawyers representing the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari that results reflect the true wishes of a majority of our citizens.
“President Buhari won four million more votes than his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the February poll.
“No serious electoral observers have challenged this result. And now the Supreme Court has explained why the PDP appeal is unsubstantiated. We hope this finally puts the matter behind us. We should now grasp this moment to move forward – together.”
While making reference to the Supreme Court judgement, Garba said that Justices unanimously reiterated that the onus of proof must necessarily fall on those that challenge the vote.
He said: “Allegations must be substantiated if they are to hold, and this requires producing credible witnesses that verify key claims. As the Supreme Court has stated, the case failed this test.
“On the issue of qualifications, President Buhari has a long history of service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The questioning of this fact seems to fly in the face of all evidence.
“However, now it is time for the PDP to take up the service mandated by this election. The legislative agenda of the ninth assembly is ambitious in both size and scope. It is critical the opposition is there to scrutinise bills and policies, rather than preoccupy themselves with unsustainable court cases.”