Buhari rejects Yar’Adua’s overtures
By Jibrin Abubakar, Abuja & Yusha’u Adamu Ibrahim, Kano
Tuesday, June 19, 2007/Jamda Akhir 04, 1428 A. H.
The presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), General Mohammadu Buhari has rejected overtures by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, insisting that he would continue to challenge him at the Election Tribunal.
Describing Yar’Adua’s presidency as “illegitimate” and a product of massively rigged election, Buhari said he had wanted to mobilise the public to reject the election result outright until his party decided that the court option was better.
A statement dated June 18, 2007 and signed by General Buhari read in part: “Reports have reached the media and the public that Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua has written letters of invitation to opposition parties to discuss the way forward for the country. My view is that the time is inopportune to start any discussion of this nature while Election Tribunals are in progress.”
General Buhari’s three-paragraph statement said: “It would be recalled that my original position after result of the massively rigged elections were announced was not to go to court but to mobilise the public into rejecting the elections outright. However, my party the ANPP decided and many prominent citizens advised that the country and democratic process would be served better if we went to court.”
He said: “accordingly, as is public knowledge, my lawyer, Chief Mike Ahamba SAN has instituted legal proceedings on my behalf against INEC and the PDP presidential candidate. ANPP has also instituted a separate case.”
When contacted for details, National Secretary of the ANPP Presidential Campaign team, Alhaji Buba Galadima said General Buhari would be ready to meet President Yar’Adua if he meets four conditions.
The four conditions given to Yar’Adua by Buhari, according to Galadima are: cancellation of elections, dissolution of INEC, prosecution of INEC chairman and genuine transparent electoral reforms.
President Yar’Adua had written to the ANPP inviting it for a meeting that may lead to the formation of a government of national unity.
The Action Congress (AC) received similar letter but its presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar rejected Yar’Adua’s overtures and vowed to continue to challenge him at the Election Tribunal.
“There are no people who want spoils of office anywhere, particularly those offices that are haram(sinful),” Atiku said last week when he returned from the United Kingdom where he went for medical treatment.
In the same vein, chieftain of ANPP in Kano state, Alhaji Bello Isah Bayero told Daily Trust that General Buhari would never meet with Yar’Adua over the 2007 elections, as he (Buhari) did not believe in the legitimacy of the 2007 elections.
Alhaji Bayero explained that if Yar’Adua is sincere about this country, he should therefore step down, an interim government should be constituted and fresh elections should be conducted.
The Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD) has also called on the president to step down before July 13 or face mass action.
But at the weekend president Yar’Adua, speaking through his media adviser, Segun Adeniyi said he would not step down as president but promised to carry out electoral reforms.
Other parties have also reacted to Yar’Adua’s reconciliatory moves.
Speaking to Daily Trust, the national chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Chief Dan Iwanyanwu, said his party has not been consulted by anybody, adding that, the truth is that ‘the issue is beyond negotiation but what should be consolidated on principle.’
According to him, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must admit the fact that it has stole peoples’ mandate.
The National Conscience Party (NCP) said even if the party is consulted it will only remind Yar’Adua its earlier position which is rejecting the sham elections without any condition.
The national secretary and vice presidential candidate of the party, Mallam Tanko Yunusa said Yar’Adua must admit that the elections were sham, saying that, the system that brought him to power is equally corrupt and illegal, hence, he must begin by cancelling the elections and give way for a fresh one.
“For Yar’Adua to be able to make any meaning in his reconciliation, he should cancel the sham elections and allowed for a conduct of fresh election which will be free, fair and credible. Only then, he will have us for any reconciliation talks,” he added.
Also, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) said it has not received such letter.
Spokesman of the AD, Alhaji Rafiu Salau told Daily Trust in a phone interview, ‘If we receive such a letter we may consider it. We cannot continue this way. The nation needs to move forward. Such letter would be discussed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our party. I think we would consider it positively.’
But the presidential candidate of the National Action Council (NAC), and chairman of the Conference of All Nigeria’s Political Party (CNPP), Dr. Olapade Agoro said his party would not join illegitimate government.
According to him, the CNPP does not recognise Yar’Adua as the president of Nigeria because the election that brought him to power was fraudulent.
He said Yar’Adua could only invite CNPP as a ‘stakeholder’ but not as president.
He added: ‘the issue of forming a government of national unity is not the issue. What we want at the CNPP is a consensus national government where all the contending stakeholders, including Yar’Adua if he so wishes, would meet to form a government that will organise credible elections.
“Agreed, Yar’Adua may be the convener and a rallying point of the meeting of the stakeholders, and there we would fashion out how the government would look like.
“But if we accept Yar’Adua’s invitation, it means we are legitimising his illegitimate government.”
In the April presidential election, the ANPP presi-dential candidate General Mohammadu Buhari came second with 6, 605,299 votes, the Action Congress presi-dential (AC) candidate, vice president Atiku Abubakar came third with a total votes of 2,637,848; and the PDP candidate Umar Musa Yar’Adua got 24, 638, 063 votes.