By Adetokunbo Fakeye
More facts are emerging about the citizenship debacle facing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP in the February 23 presidential election
Alternativeafrica.com has learnt that Atiku Abubakar’s problem with others affected could have been resolved under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, but the then leadership refused to address the problem deliberately to punish Atiku after defecting to All progressive Congress, APC. It was alleged that Jonathan government refused to address the problem to ensure that Atiku would never be qualified to rule Nigeria
Feeling the heat: How former Nigerian president, Jonathan, PDP orchestrated Atiku’s citizenship crisis
It was learnt that a Constitutional Amendment Bill to address the grey area of being a citizen by birth as one of the conditions to run for the office of the President was passed to accommodate those from former Saudauna Province/Northern Cameroun among other proposed amendments.
The Bill passed all the parliamentary processes, got the requisite constitutional 2/3 votes from the National and State Assemblies but the PDP-led government headed by President Goodluck Jonathan rejected the entire amendment bill leaving those affected like Atiku Abubakar in limbo confirming the whole saga, a legal practitioner and human rights activist, Dr. Kayode Ajulo said PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan should carry the blamed for the predicament of Atiku.
Ajulo who is Secretary of a pro-President Muhammadu Buhari re-election movement, Forward with Buhari, said “I have to refrain myself from saying anything that may prejudice the case before the court. I am, however, taken aback by the PDP and Atiku’s personal attacks on the APC counsel, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.
Former president, Goodluck Jonathan refused constitutional amendment that could have addressed and resolved citizenship by referendum
“Having said this, I make bold to say that if there should be any blame on the issue, the PDP and former President Jonathan are to be blamed. I recall that while the PDP was in full power and glory, a Constitutional Amendment Bill to address the grey area of being a citizen by birth as one of the conditions to run for the office of the President was passed to accommodate those from former Saudauna Province/Northern Cameroun among other proposed amendments.
“The Bill passed all the parliamentary processes, got the requisite constitutional 2/3 votes from the National and State Assemblies but the PDP-led government headed by President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR rejected the entire amendment bill.
“The implication of such a monumental slip and another failed project by the PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan is today being faced by the party and it’s Presidential-candidate in the 2019 election.
Dr. Kayode Ajulo says Jonathan and PDP should carry the blame for Atiku’s citizenship debacle
APC had alleged in its response to Atiku’s suit challenging the victory of president muhammadu Buhari that “Our dear Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, situated in the then British Northern Cameroon.
He was born a Cameroonian. Atiku is a Cameroonian citizen by birth and became a Nigerian by referendum. He is not a Nigerian by birth. We have to get that right. .
“The constitution of Nigeria is very clear on the requirements for vying for the office of the President. The candidate must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth. Citizenship by referendum is not recognized by our constitution for the purpose of elections.
“Section 131(a) of the 1999 Constitution clearly states that ‘a person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President of Nigeria if he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth.’
Atiku became a citizen of Nigeria by referendum and not by birth. So, Atiku is a Nigerian citizen by referendum. He ought not to have taken part in Nigeria’s presidential election in the first instance.
“It is like this in the United States, too. You must be born on American soil to contest for the office of the President. So, you can see that it is not a Nigerian thing.