“…reasoning of the lawmakers in ensuring that the persons to be the president of Nigeria is a citizen of Nigeria by birth is because such a person is the number one citizen and the image of the Nigerian state.”
The last is yet to be heard in the war between the Buhari administration and the country’s de-facto opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar.
When the Supreme Court in 2019 dismissed the argument of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and its legal team questioning the nationality of the former vice president as unfounded, the 4-time Presidential Aspirant must have heaved a huge sigh of relief.
However, with political actors within and outside the ruling party gradually rolling out drums for the 2023 Presidential showdown, President Buhari’s men appear to still have scores to settle with the Waziri Adamawa, despite triumphing over him at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
According to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who has allegedly filed an affidavit in support of a suit by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA) before the Abuja Federal High Court, “the first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”
“This qualified all those born before the 1961 plebiscite as citizens of Nigeria, but not Nigerian citizens by birth. Consequently, only citizens born after the 1961 plebiscite are citizens of Nigeria by birth,” the Justice Minister added.
Diverse reactions have trailed the development, but one of the major issues that has been raised is how worrisome an elite who had risen to the position of Director at the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and held the second highest office in the land for two full terms would not have been exposed as unqualified to be elected. Isn’t that embarrassing to the Nigerian justice system?
On the other hand, for AGF Malami and his ‘goons’ to be perceivably reopening a case after the apex court had ruled on it, they probably have a strong case, thus making this some Infinity War to watch out for.
Is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar an ‘alien’ or a citizen? We await Justice Inyang Ekwo’s ruling on May 4.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.