… As Atiku inaugurates legal team to challenge outcome of election
Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida has congratulated President Buhari over his re-election to lead the nation for the next four years.
In a statement signed by his and made available to Journalists in Minna, Babangida said the President should confront with renewed vigour the most urgent problem confronting Nigeria.
He stated that the insecurity of lives and property is one of the most urgent problem confronting the nation as the Boko Haram insurgency remains a threat to many Nigerians particularly in the North East sub region adding that kidnapping and armed banditry remain a national menace.
“Now that the President has won his re-election bid, he should confront with renewed vigour the most urgent problem confronting Nigeria: ‘insecurity of lives and property’.
“The Boko Haram insurgency remains a threat to many Nigerians particularly in the North East sub region, whiles the twin evils of kidnapping and armed robbery/armed banditry remain a major national menace. The president must pay priority attention to these security issues”, the statement read.
The Elder statesman further averred that the economy of the country must also occupy the president’s urgent attention.
“There is the need to be more creative in formulating policies that will improve the nation’s economy, create employment opportunities and give hope to our teaming youths.
He also urged the President wish to heed to the yearnings of reasonable Nigerians for restructuring and seek all constitutional means to devolve some powers presently exercised by the Federal Government to the other tiers of government.
Commenting on the outcome of the elections, Babangida called on the President to resist the temptation to see his co-contestants as enemies along him to work at healing the wounds of campaign exchanges.
“The newly elected president should heal the wounds of the heated campaign exchanges by embracing those who contested alongside with him. The President must resist the temptation to see them as enemies; not even opponents, but fellow compatriots who merely disagreed with him on how best to move our country forward.”
He expressed his admiration of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for his doggedness urging him to work with President Buhari to move the country forward.
“I was particularly impressed with the gallant and audacious spirit of the main challenger in the presidential race, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar GCON.
“I was not surprised that even though he lost the most exotic position of the land, his doggedness and pattern of support cut across ethnic, religious and regional lines that earned him the second position of the last Presidential election.
“I call on the former Vice –President Atiku Abubakar to close ranks and work with the winner of the election in an objective and constructive manner so that democracy will continue to thrive in our country at this crucial period of renaissance.
However, Atiku Abubakar has inaugurated a legal team to challenge the result of the presidential election, his spokesperson said.
The team is headed by Livy Uzoukwu, a senior advocate of Nigeria.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had on Wednesday declared Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the election.
Atiku rejected the result, accusing the government of using the military to intimidate voters and suppress PDP strongholds. He also alleged the connivance of INEC officials, security agents and the ruling party to manufacture bogus figures and falsify the returns from the polling units.
On Thursday night, the PDP candidate met with members of the National Peace Committee prompting reports he may have been prevailed upon not to proceed with the challenge.
“I have just inaugurated my legal team and charged them with the responsibility of ensuring that our stolen mandate is retrieved,” Atiku said Saturday, according to his spokesperson, Paul Ibe.
“I am encouraged by the presence of fearless men and women of the Bench. The judiciary which had in the past discharged itself ably is once again being called upon to deliver judgment on this matter that will be untainted by lucre and uncowed by the threat of immoral power,” he added.
Atiku said sooner “these noble dispensers of justice will give a judgment that will represent a historic denunciation of electoral fraud and mandate bandit.
“I will not mortgage the Peoples’ mandate.”
Meanwhile, Atiku’s media office said the former vice president’s son in-law and the finance director of his group of companies, Babalele Abdullahi, was arrested in Abuja on Saturday “in a desperate move to have Atiku Abubakar concede and congratulate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari”.
“…officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at about 8.30am today (Saturday) invaded the Maitama residence of Babalele. They were however not given access into the house until his lawyers arrived,” the statement said.
“The EFCC agents numbering about two dozen came in 2 regular vehicles, an 18-seater Toyota bus (registration Abuja CS 522 RSH) and a hilux van.
“They came with a search warrant to search the house and office of Babalele and found nothing incriminating.
“They then proceeded to his office at Oakland Centre in Maitama and found nothing incriminating there. However, they took away some documents of landed property.
“Not done, the EFCC officials stormed his Wuse residence where they again found nothing incriminating after the search.
“Afterwards, Babalele was taken away to the EFCC office in Wuse to make a statement alongside Mr. Lawan Ayuba.
Mr Abubakar’s media office said while the PDP candidate recognised the constitutional role of the EFCC to carry out investigations, he “will not be cowed by any attempt to blackmail him into mortgaging his mandate.”
When asked why Babalele was arrested, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said he could not immediately confirm the case, and would require time to do so.