Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, said he has been vindicated over his claim that former Vice-President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was born a Cameroonian.
He spoke as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has also filed the claim in its response to Atiku’s petition before the election tribunal.
Addressing his members through his broadcast on Radio Biafra, Kanu said: “The headline: ‘Atiku Is Not A Nigerian, APC Tells Tribunal’, is a vindication that everything I say on Radio Biafra is the truth. It may appear outlandish and unbelievable at first, but eventually history always vindicates me.
“As everyone can see very clearly, it is unambiguously stated that for you to become the President of Nigeria, you must be born a Nigerian. Simply put, your birth certificate or any official notation must say clearly that you are a Nigerian. As at the time Atiku was born, the citizenship on his birth certificate read Cameroonian.”
The fugitive IPOB leader described the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as clearly defective because those who crafted it were neither philosophers, social scientists, thinkers nor constitutional experts.
According to him, the argument by some people that if Atiku was a Cameroonian, he could not have been the Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Vice-President, will not hold water.
He noted that Section 131(a) of the Constitution is clear on who should be the President of the country.
Kanu said: “The incontrovertible truth is that His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice-President of Nigeria for eight years, became a Nigerian by virtue of the referendum of February 11, 1961. He was not born a Nigerian and as such he became a Nigerian as a result of the British organised plebiscite held in British Cameroons to give the people of Adamawa, where Atiku comes from, the opportunity to choose where they would like to belong.
“When I first raised this issue, which incidentally has been ignored by all arms of government- including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), whose duty it is to ensure that candidates meet all stipulated constitutional requirements – it was not to insinuate or imply that Atiku is not a Nigerian. Rather, it is to highlight the very constitutionally critical point at the heart of IPOB agitation for Biafra independence, which is that asking for a referendum is never a crime in any law known to man…”
He berated Atiku’s defence team for what he called their weak and porous argument that if the PDP chieftain was not a Nigerian, he wouldn’t have become Nigeria’s vice-president, lived, invested and paid tax in the country for years as a citizen.
The proscribed IPOB leader noted that by virtue of relevant sections of Nigeria, anybody born in Adamawa between 1946, when Atiku was born, till 1960, was not qualified to contest election as President of Nigeria.
“Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, now Adamawa State, then in Northern Cameroon. He was a citizen of Cameroon but now a Nigerian by plebiscite. This information has always been in the public domain. What I did was just to flag it…”
First Published in The Nation