Contrary to an earlier position that he was not bothered by the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, President Muhammadu Buhari confessed on Friday he was under tension while the tribunal delivered its judgment on Wednesday.
Buhari admitted that but for the first meeting of the Federal Executive Council, which he presided over about the same time the tribunal sat, he would have gone into trauma.
Buhari and cabinet ministers for his second term met for the first time on Wednesday since he inaugurated them on August 21.
Coincidentally, the tribunal sat and delivered its judgment the same day, which went in Buhari’s favour.
According to Buhari, who spoke when he received the All Progressives Congress state governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he used the FEC meeting to absorb pressure.
Buhari told the governors, “On this judgment, again it was a fabulous coincidence that it came almost the same time the first FEC meeting of this government was taking place.
“It lasted about the same time with the judgment. I thank God for that because I think I would have gone into trauma or something. So, I was busy trying to concentrate on the memos. The first memo was on the budget and it took more than five hours. So, while you were doing your thing (judgment) for nine hours, we were doing ours (FEC meeting) for about seven hours here. It is a very interesting coincidence and I thank God for it because I would have been in trauma or something of that sort.”
His confession went contrary to the boastful disposition of the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, who had consistently stated up until Friday that neither Buhari nor the APC entertained any fears that the judgment would be won by the President.
Similarly, a State House statement issued on Wednesday by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, had claimed that Buhari was “unperturbed.”
The statement quoted the President thus, “Good conscience fears no evil report. I was unperturbed all along because I knew Nigerians freely gave us the mandate. We are now vindicated.”
The confession by Buhari on Friday might indicate that the earlier statement by the media office did not originate from the President or that he knew nothing about it.
Buhari, who also made a veiled reference to the controversy surrounding his not producing his WAEC certificate, recalled how in military school, his commanders promoted him without written examinations, because they were convinced his training for war sufficed.
Incidentally, Oshiomhole was part of Friday’s meeting with Buhari and he spoke ahead of the President.
Like he did on Wednesday and Thursday, Oshiomhole again repeated before the President that nobody in the APC harboured any fears about the certainty of victory.
“We never had any doubts that you won the election. You led the opponent with over four million votes.
“So, we had no reason to be worried at all”, he said.
Oshiomhole also said the party was happy that the tribunal dispensed with the issues raised by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, including Buhari’s WAEC certificate.
He added, “There was an attempt to doubt your integrity when they said that you did not attend secondary school. The PDP made so much issue out of this; but, we are happy that the issues have been trashed by the tribunal.
“We never had doubts that you won your votes. All the issues raised by our opponents were trashed out one after the order by the Justices that sat on the panel.”
In his contribution, the Chairman of the APC Progressive Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu, congratulated Buhari on behalf of the APC governors.
Atiku-Bagudu, who is the governor of Kebbi State, said, “This removed doubts from anybody’s mind,” adding that the governors were surprised that the President was able to preside over the FEC meeting while the judgment was being delivered.
“We were even surprised that you were busy presiding over FEC meeting that day, which meant that you were not distracted”, Atiku-Bagudu stated.
But, Buhari’s admission of being really shaken all through the duration of the judgment overruled Oshiomhole and the governors’ views on the impact of the judgment.