The controversy surrounding the citizenship of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the last presidential election continued on Sunday as the spokesman of President Buhari Organisation and member of his legal team, Festus Keyemo, SAN, poured petrol to an already raging fire.
Keyamo while appearing on Channels Television Sunday told his interviewer and Nigerians that the criteria to become a senior custom officer differs significantly to that required when one aspires to become Nigeria’s number one citizen.
The SAN was responding to an argument earlier canvassed by the Atiku campaign that the former vice president rose to the highest office in Nigeria Custom Service, and as such his nationality cannot be questioned.
Keyamo said, ”Our constitution did not state that you must be a citizen by birth to become a senior custom officer but section 131 of the constitution is clear on who can become Nigeria’s president”. He urged Nigerians to go read the details of that section of the constitution.
The man at the centre of the citizen controversy
Reminded that Atiku contested and won governorship election in Adamawa and later became Nigeria’s vice president for eight years, Keyamo replied that may well be because that matter has never been brought before a court of competent jurisdiction and never been raised in a security report.
Atiku Abubakar contested the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party but lost to President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress.
He rejected the outcome of the election, alleging that INEC rigged the election in favour of Buhari and filed a petition before the election tribunal urging them to declare him the winner of the election.
But responding to Atiku’s petition, the ruling APC claimed that Atiku is not a Nigerian and should not have been allowed to contest the presidential election.
The party claimed that the PDP candidate was a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen, adding that his petition against President Muhammadu Buhari should be dismissed for lack of merit.
Atiku has since dismissed the claim as ridiculous.