The Nigerian Government on Thursday warned the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, to stop overheating the polity.
The government’s accusation came on the heels of reports that Atiku allegedly asked the United States Government to stop recognising the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari until the courts determine the petitions before it.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a press briefing in Abuja stated that Atiku had hired a U.S-based lobbyist to persuade the American government not to recognise the re-election of President Buhari.
The Minister described Atiku’s denial of about hiring the services of a lobbyist as an afterthought.
Mohammed said the government would not fold its hands and allow the situation to degenerate further.
He, however, called on the former Vice-President to allow the court to determine the merits or otherwise of his petition against the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the election.
He said it was wrong for Atiku to resort to self-help in his desire to claim victory in the election.
The government said Atiku should know that losing an election should not be seen as the end of the world.
The Minister also condemned the resurgence of posters bearing the picture of Atiku, with the inscription: “THE PUKKA, H.E. ATIKU ABUBAKAR, THE REAL AND THE RIGHT,” which have surfaced across major streets in Abuja.
“The appearance of these posters coincide with the media report that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has hired a US lobbying firm to convince the United States not to recognise the re-election of President Buhari until the Supreme Court has ruled on the suit by the PDP presidential candidate,” the Minister said.
He said: “Yes, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has lost an election. But he will not be the first or the last person to lose an election, and he should realise that losing an election is not the end of the world.
“He has challenged the result of the election in court. That’s just as well. However, he should not give the impression that he does not have confidence in the judicial process, which his resorting to self-help implies.
“He should stop overheating the polity and quit trying to instigate a political crisis in Nigeria. No citizen, no matter how highly placed, is above the laws of the land. Enough is enough.”
Mohammed, who was flanked at the briefing by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the posters and the alleged hiring of the US lobbyists, had triggered questions about what Alhaji Abubakar was up to.
He said: “Is he starting a fresh campaign after the elections have been won and lost? Has he rescinded his decision to challenge the results of the presidential election in court, perhaps after realising that the results he claimed to have obtained from the INEC server are cooked? Is he now going for self-help? What really is Atiku’s motive?
“We are aware of media reports that the PDP presidential candidate on Wednesday distanced himself from the posters that are circulating in Abuja. He also reportedly denied hiring the US lobbyists, claiming tongue-in-cheek that the APC fabricated the report.
“If the media reports are right, it means that the former Vice-President has suddenly realised the grave implication of his actions, hence has decided to beat a quick retreat before it is too late.
“As a self-avowed democrat, he should realise that the only lawful channel for challenging the result of an election is through the courts. Resorting to self-help, as he seems to be doing now, is an act of desperation and the consequences are dire.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has the right to do whatever is lawful to challenge the outcome of that election. But he cannot get through the back door what he couldn’t get through the front door. That will be a pipe dream.”