Presidency Warns Atiku, PDP To Stop Blackmailing Judiciary

The Presidency has responded to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s criticism of judges and justices, alleging inducement by President Bola Tinubu’s administration. Atiku accused the current government of stifling opposition through the judiciary.

He made these claims after the removal of governors in Zamfara, Kano, and Plateau states following the 2023 presidential election, which he contested under the Peoples Democratic Party.

In a statement by his media adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, Atiku expressed concern over the judicial arm being used to suppress opposition. In response, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, issued a statement cautioning Atiku and the PDP against their accusations and urged them to cease their campaign of slander and intimidation against the judiciary and its judges.

Onanuga defended President Tinubu, stating he is a democrat who has not influenced judiciary decisions. He also highlighted previous court cases in Osun and Bauchi states where the PDP emerged victorious, reinforcing the impartiality of the judiciary.

“In separate statements, the Peoples Democratic Party and the spokesman of Atiku Abubakar, its defeated Presidential candidate, threw caution to the winds as they assaulted the integrity of the judiciary and made wild and libellous allegations against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” the statement read.

“In the wake of the poor run of some elected governors of the party at the appeal court,  the PDP and former Vice President and his spokesman have become overtly desperate to hang their woes on President Tinubu and the judiciary, an important arm of government in Nigeria. 

“In blaming others, Atiku and his party have failed to demonstrate whether they had done any soul-searching before going public with their weighty, specious, reckless, and irresponsible allegations.

“While we do not hold brief for the judiciary, we urge Nigerians to discountenance the malicious allegations by the PDP and its candidate that President Tinubu as governor of Lagos, silenced the opposition and corrupted the judiciary and that he is planning to foist a one-party state on the country by appointing “loyalists” as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). 

“President Tinubu is a democrat to the core. We make bold to say that as president, he has not interfered with the judgment of the judiciary. We had witnessed how under his watch, the PDP governor in Osun defeated the APC at the Supreme Court. Similarly, the PDP Governor in Bauchi also won his case in the Appeal court, beating the APC.

“President Tinubu is also not planning to impose a one-party state as Atiku has serially alleged and his party and spokesman have now parroted.

“These allegations are deliberately aimed at unnecessarily heating up the polity and causing disenchantment in our country. They exist only in the imagination of the PDP and the former vice-president.

“Unlike Atiku Abubakar, President Tinubu’s record as a democrat par excellence and a strong advocate of the rule of law have been globally acknowledged.

“His record of service as governor, which witnessed giant strides in various facets of the state, was responsible for the dominance of his political structure in Lagos and not by any undemocratic conduct, as Atiku Abubakar wants the public to believe.

“In contrast, it is on record that Atiku Abubakar recently confessed about the electoral heist his party executed in the South West in 2003, in, which Tinubu survived out of the six Governors of the defunct Alliance for Democracy.

“While Atiku and PDP are now crying wolf over the Appeal Court rulings on governorship polls in Plateau, Zamfara and Nasarawa States, we hasten to ask the former Vice President where he was in 2019 when the court ruled against All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State. The court then awarded all the positions won by the APC to PDP.

“Where was Atiku also in 2019 when in Rivers State, the court stopped APC from fielding any candidate in both the Governorship and House of Assembly elections?

“Where were Atiku and the PDP in 2019, when on the eve of the swearing-in of Bayelsa  governor-elect, David Lyon, the Supreme Court handed the victory of the APC  to the candidate of the PDP, Governor Diri who was earlier rejected at the poll by the people of Bayelsa? 

“Atiku and PDP then savoured all these court-handed trophies as sweet victories for PDP and celebrated the courts as protectors of democracy. 

“Now that the same courts are annulling PDP victories, based on the blatant violations of the law by the lawless party, the party is mudslinging the judiciary and President Tinubu.

“We once again implore Atiku and PDP to stop their campaign of calumny and blackmail against the judiciary and the honourable judges and justices. Judgments are based on law and evidence. In election petition cases, they are based on the Electoral Act and the Constitution, not on sentiments and emotions.

“It is irresponsible and a disservice to our country for the opposition, after failing to observe the letters and spirits of the law, to now turn around to tear down an important arm of our government.”


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