The Presidency on Friday accepted the reasons the Supreme Court gave in dismissing the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which challenged the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 poll.
It said the apex court’s ruling represented the “popular will” of Nigerians since Abubakar and the PDP were unable to establish any case against Buhari’s victory.
“It reiterates that the onus of proof must necessarily fall on those that challenge the vote.
“Allegations must be substantiated if they are to hold, and this requires producing credible witnesses that verify key claims. As the Supreme Court has stated, the case failed this test”, the Presidency said in a statement by Buhari’s media aide, Mr Garba Shehu.
It insisted that the President was qualified to contest the election, saying that his long record of service to Nigeria was enough evidence.
“On the issue of qualifications, President Buhari has a long history of service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The questioning of this fact seems to fly in the face of all evidence”, it noted.
The Presidency called on the PDP to put the election behind it, adding that it was commendable that the party took the legal route to dispute the outcome of the poll up to the apex court.
The Presidency stated further, “However, now it is time for the PDP to take up the service mandated by this election.
“The legislative agenda of the Ninth Assembly is ambitious in both size and scope. It is critical that the opposition is there to scrutinise bills and policies, rather than preoccupy themselves with unsustainable court cases.
“We appreciate the PDP and their candidate for taking these claims to courts rather than expressing them in other ways, but now Nigeria needs a robust and rigorous opposition. The nation needs to move on.
“While it is correct to give credit to the courts for affirming this electoral victory-and we commend the courage of the bench to arrive at the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise-the reality is that courts were convinced by arguments from the lawyers representing the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari that results reflect the true wishes of a majority of our citizens.
“President Buhari won four million more votes than his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar, in the February poll.
“No serious electoral observers have challenged this result. And now the Supreme Court has explained why the PDP appeal is unsubstantiated. We hope this finally puts the matter behind us.
“We should now grasp this moment to move forward, together.”