The Nigerian Government has warned Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of the “dire consequences” to expect if he continues resorting to self-help in his bid to reverse the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, delivered the warning in Abuja on Thursday while briefing journalists in company of Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
As reported by SaharaReporters on Tuesday, Atiku is currently lobbying the United States for support in his quest to challenge the outcome of the presidential election, and has paid $30,000 over a 90-day contract for a US law firm to provide “legal, consultancy and public advocacy services to encourage Congress and the Executive” to wait on recognizing a winner of the Nigerian election until after the legal challenge is “impartially and independently resolved".
Controversial posters of Atiku have also surfaced in Abuja; and although the former Vice President has since dissociated himself from the sight, Mohammed warned Atiku to remember that the courts are the only permissible channel for challenging the result of the election.
“As you must have noticed in recent times, posters bearing the picture of former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, with the inscription ‘THE PUKKA, H.E. ATIKU ABUBAKAR, THE REAL AND THE RIGHT’, have surfaced across major streets in Abuja,” Mohammed said.
“The appearance of these posters coincide with the media reports that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has hired a US lobbying firm to convince the United States not to recognize the re-election of President Buhari until the Supreme Court has ruled on the suit by the PDP presidential candidate
“The posters and the hiring of US lobbyists, the latest of such by the PDP candidate, have triggered questions about what Alhaji Abubakar is up to. Is he starting a fresh campaign after the elections have been won and lost?”
Mohammed wondered if Atiku had rescinded his decision to challenge the results of the presidential election in court, perhaps after realising that the results he claimed to have obtained from the INEC back server are cooked.
“Is he now going for self-help? What really is Atiku’s motive?” he asked.
“Gentlemen, we are aware of media reports that the PDP presidential candidate on Wednesday distanced himself from the posters that are circulating in Abuja. He also reportedly denied hiring US lobbyists, claiming tongue-in-cheek that the APC fabricated the report.
“If the media reports are right, it means that the former Vice President has suddenly realised the grave implication of his actions, hence has decided to beat a quick retreat before it is too late.
“As a self-avowed democrat, he should realise that the only lawful channel for challenging the result of an election is through the courts. Resorting to self-help, as he seems to be doing now, is an act of desperation and the consequences are dire.”