Recently, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, is a Cameroonian. Daily Trust Saturday sought the views of some Nigerians on the statement.
Yomi Awoniyi, 58, Abuja, Architect/politician
If you read the 1999 Constitution as Amended, it doesn’t really say much on that. But if you read the 1963 Constitution, it is clearly stated that people from the colonies and the territories are now citizens of the nation. If an earlier constitution conferred citizenship on somebody and that citizenship has not been revoked, whatever is said in the newer constitution cannot set aside what has been expressly stated in the earlier one.
Moses Osheidu, Laboratory Scientist, Lokoja
As a Nigerian, my own take is that such move at this time is mischievous and seems to have some hidden agenda. To me, it is distraction of attention from the main issue. Atiku has held a lot of positions in Nigeria. He was a customs officer and was first elected as governor of Adamawa State before he was called upon to become Vice President to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. All those who are now saying that he is a foreigner but never said anything then should be regarded as culprits. They are also part of the issue for refusing to speak up if truly Atiku is a foreigner.
Mr Emmanuel Takim Obi, 65, journalist, community leader, Calabar
It is cheap blackmail. Why is this coming at this time? Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had worked as a senior Customs officer, won election as governor of Adamawa State and became Vice President for eight years and this talk didn’t come up. There was no question about his nationality. When he was campaigning to contest the presidential election, this issue was not raised. What if he had won the presidential election? Would they have then raised this issue? It is cheap blackmail. If Atiku was actually a foreigner, the issue would have long been raised.
Mrs Abisola Adeyemi, 30, Abeokuta, Entrepreneur
APC’s claim is still in the realm of what I will tag ‘Nigerian politics.’ An average Nigerian politician always agrees with whatever principle and policies of his political ally whether wrong or right, but there is always a show off when things don’t go their way. To me APC is saying that because presently Atiku is not a member of the party. When he was the presidential candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria, he was a Nigerian, when he financed APC when Buhari was the presidential candidate he was still a Nigerian but now that he is challenging the result of the just-concluded election he is not a Nigerian. So we are still watching the movie ‘Nigerian politics.’
Jamiu Folarin, 39, Lecturer, Crescent University, Abeokuta
When you are in competition or war, you employ all manners of strategies to outmarch your opponents. That is exactly the strategy adopted by the APC concerning the claim that Atiku Abubakar is not a Nigerian by birth. From observation, the parties before the presidential election tribunal are using all manners of tactics to win the case.
One cannot be categorical on whether the statement was made in good faith or not. Is it legally or morally right? APC has maintained its position that Atiku is not a Nigerian by birth. The onus now lies with the Judiciary to interpret that section of the constitution and explain the spirit and letter of that section of the constitution. On the timing of the allegation, it cannot be seen to be morally wrong for APC to have come up with this allegation at this time. The onus however lies on the party to prove the allegation because the burden of proof on this lies on APC.
Halima Iyanda, trader, 54, Ilorin
The statement is cheap blackmail and propaganda. I don’t expect the APC to come up with such and what does the Constitution say about that? We should follow the Constitution to deal with the issue.
Mrs Josephine Abeng, 68, business leader, Calabar
The issue is purely political. It is dirty politics that can be very detrimental to the country. I think that the All Progressives Congress is merely trying to get back at the Peoples Democratic Party for saying that President Muhammadu Buhari had died and the person ruling the country is a Jubrin from Sudan. APC’s action does not hold water. Boundaries are made by men. For the fact that part of Adamawa State was initially in Cameroon was artificial. But that territory is actually in Nigeria.
Musa Aliyu, 42, civil advocate, Ilorin
That statement is nothing but pure political talk meant to score cheap point. Assuming, he was born in a former Nigerian territory, must he be reminded of such due to political difference? We need politics driven by ideals. All this cheap blackmail talks will take this country to nowhere.
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