FG warns Atiku against self-help

NEWS DIGEST – The Federal Government has said former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has turned to deception to win the presidency after failing at the polls.

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in Abuja yesterday that two recent events linked to Atiku have shown that the former Vice President is turning to self-help.

He said the appearance of posters in Abuja bearing the picture of former Vice President with the inscription: ‘’THE PUKKA, H.E. ATIKU ABUBAKAR, THE REAL AND THE RIGHT’’ across major streets in Abuja is one.

The other is the media report 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.

Addressing a press conference he said the posters and the hiring of US lobbyists have triggered questions about what Alhaji Abubakar is up to.

“Is he starting a fresh campaign after the elections have been won and lost? Has he rescinded his decision to challenge the results of the presidential election in court, perhaps after realizing that the results he claimed to have obtained from the INEC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 said even though the PDP presidential candidate had distanced himself from the posters and also reportedly denied hiring US Lobbyists but added that if the media reports are right, it means that the former Vice President “has suddenly realized the grave implication of his actions, hence has decided to beat a quick retreat before it is too late.”

The minister said Atiku should realize 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,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammad said the PDP presidential candidate, “out of desperation, is thinking of replicating the Venezuelan model right here in Nigeria. But he should realize that Nigeria is not Venezuela, and that the situations in both countries are not the same.”

He said President Buhari won the elections fair and square, and the credibility of the election was attested to by local and foreign observers as well as foreign countries including the United States.

He said the outcome was not a surprise “considering the pro-poor policy of the Administration” which he listed to include feeding 9.3 million school children everyday; empowering 500,000 graduates under N-Power; 300,000 families are benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer; Interest-free loans of between N10,000 and N100,000 under the TraderMoni and the MarketMoni Schemes, respectively, to small business owners; and putting back pensioners on the payroll.

“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has the right to do whatever is lawful to challenge the outcome of that election. But he cannot get through the back door what he couldn’t get through the front door. That will be a pipe dream,” the minister said.

“He should stop overheating the polity and quit trying to instigate a political crisis in Nigeria. No citizen, no matter how highly placed, is above the laws of the land. Enough is enough!’