Our reporter, The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday said that last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections were largely flawed and should be challenged.
Atiku, who said this in a press briefing on Thursday, also revealed that the PDP is open to forming an alliance with the Labour Party (LP).
He accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of shattering the dreams and aspirations of Nigerians with their conduct of the polls.
“Having consulted with leaders of our party who are seated here with me and Nigerians from different walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that the processes and outcome of the presidential and national elections on Saturday was grossly flawed by every single material and as such, must be challenged by all of us,” Atiku said in Abuja.
He noted the 2023 presidential election presented Nigeria and Nigerians an opportunity for a reset but claimed that INEC “failed woefully.”
According to him, the electoral umpire’s failure has been attested to by both local and international observers.
The PDP flag bearer wondered why the electoral umpire was in a haste to declare the result of the election, calling the process “a rape of democracy”.
Saying that the last Saturday election is not about him but about the future of the Nigerian youths, Atiku, however, called on the youths to conduct themselves well.
While the PDP and LP have rejected the outcome of the poll, Atiku, who ran alongside Obi in the 2019 election, says he is open to working with the former Anambra State governor.
“So, as far as I am concerned, Peter is welcome to dialogue with the PDP. We are ready to dialogue with him. I don’t think we will have a problem if he wants to dialogue with the PDP, whether for an alliance or not,” he said during the event.
Obi, who was a former chieftain of the PDP left the party before the presidential primary and joined the LP where he became its candidate.
But Atiku has faulted the move which he said was “hasty” and not well-thought-out.
“At the time Peter decided to leave the PDP for the Labour Party, we had not really begun our primary process,” Atiku explained. “So, the question of whether he was going to get a ticket or not did not arise.”
The former vice-president admitted that the PDP lost a considerable number of votes to Peter Obi, the LP presidential candidate in Saturday’s election.
“It is a fact that he took our votes from the south-east and the south-south, that of course would not make him a president,” he said.
“You all know that to be a president in this country you all need votes from everywhere. So as far as I am concerned, Peter is welcome to dialogue with PDP, we are ready to dialogue with him.
“I don’t think we will have any problem if he wants to dialogue with PDP, either form an alliance or not.”
Abubakar said Obi left the party and joined the LP after governors in the PDP insisted that someone among them must the be standard-bearer, and vice presidential candidate.
He said instead of leaving the party, he “stood and fought the governors” and won the party’s presidential ticket.
“I think Peter was in a rush (to leave),” he said.
“Peter got scared and left. I did not get scared. I stood up against the governors.
“When we formed the PDP some of them (PDP governors) were perhaps in secondary schools or the university.
“So if he (Obi) was there, nothing could have stopped him from becoming a running mate because I had the right to choose whoever I wanted to choose as my running mate.”
On Wednesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Tinubu as the winner of the election and also issued him a certificate of return.
Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the INEC, said Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes.
Abubakar had the second-highest figure with 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) was next with 6,101,533 votes.
Both the PDP and LP have rejected the results and vowed to challenge the election in court.