The candidate of the Labour party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, has said that the October 26 judgment of the Supreme Court affirming the election of President Bola Tinubu amounts to a total breach of the confidence Nigerians have on the judiciary.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja today, November 6, Obi said the apex court’s decision contradicts the ‘’overwhelming evidence of election rigging, false claim of a technical glitch, substantial non-compliance with rules set by INEC itself as well as matters of perjury, identity theft, and forgery”
Obi who addressed the press in company of his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, said;
‘’About a fortnight ago, I was traveling abroad on a prior scheduled engagement when I received the notice that the Supreme Court would give judgment on Thursday 26th October 2023 on our challenge of the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC). That judgment has since been delivered as scheduled. The leadership of the Labour Party has already pronounced its position on the judgment.
As someone who has previously benefited from the rulings of the Supreme Court on electoral matters, I have, after a period of deep and sober reflection, decided to personally and formally react to the recent judgment as most Nigerians have. Because we are confronted with very weighty issues of national interest, I will speak forthrightly. As students young lads at CKC, Onitsha, we were taught values and admonished to always; “choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.”
Setting legal issues aside, the Supreme Court exhibited a disturbing aversion to public opinion just as it abandoned its responsibility as a court of law and policy. It is, therefore, with great dismay that I observe that the Court’s decision contradicts the overwhelming evidence of election rigging, false claim of a technical glitch, substantial non-compliance with rules set by INEC itself as well as matters of perjury, identity theft, and forgery that have been brought to light in the course of this election matter. These were hefty allegations that should not to be treated with levity. More appalling, the Supreme Court judgment willfully condoned breaches of the Constitution relative to established qualifications and parameters for candidates in presidential elections. With this counter-intuitive judgment, the Supreme Court has transferred a heavy moral burden from the courtrooms to our national conscience. Our young democracy is ultimately the main victim and casualty of the courtroom drama.
Without equivocation, this judgment amounts to a total breach of the confidence the Nigerian people have in our judiciary. To that extent, it is a show of unreasonable force against the very Nigerian people from whom the power of the Constitution derives. This Supreme Court ruling may represent the state of the law in 2023 but not the present demand for substantive justice. The judgment mixed principles and precepts. Indeed, the rationale and premise of the Supreme Court judgment, have become clearer in the light of the deep revealing and troubling valedictory remarks by Hon. Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad, (JSC) on Friday 27th October 2023.
In disagreeing very strongly with the ruling of both the Presidential Petitions Court (PEPC) and the Supreme Court on the outcome of the 25th February 2023 Presidential election as declared by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as democrats who believe in the rule of law, we recognize that the Supreme Court is the end stage of the quest for legal closure to the matter. As a party and as candidates, Datti and I have now exhausted all legal and constitutional remedies available to us. However, this end is only another beginning in our quest for the vindication of the hope of the common man for a better country. After all, sovereignty belongs to the people! If only for historical purposes, it behooves us to place our disagreement with and deep reservations about this judgment on public record.”
Speaking further, Obi said;
‘’INEC has displayed incompetence in the conduct of its statutory duty. The judiciary has largely acted in defiance of constitutional tenets, precedents, and established ground rules. Political expediency has preceded judicial responsibility. A mechanical application of technicalities has superseded the pursuit of justice and fairness. Both INEC and the Supreme Court as the referees, respectively shifted the goalposts in the middle of the game.”
He announced that his party is now fully an opposition party and will take its message to every Nigerian.
‘’Going forward, we in the Labour Party and the Obidient Movement are now effectively in opposition. We are glad that the nation has heard us loud and clear. We shall now expand the confines of our message of hope to the rest of the country. We shall meet the people in the places where they feel pain and answer their needs for hope. At marketplaces, motor parks, town halls, board rooms, and university and college campuses, we all carry and deliver the message of a new Nigeria. As stake holders and elected Labour Party officials, we shall remain loyal to our manifesto.We will continue to canvas for good governance and focus on issues that promote national interest, unity, and cohesion. We will continue to give primacy to our Constitution, the rule of law, and the protection of ordered liberties. We will offer the checks and balances required in a functional democracy and vie robustly in forthcoming elections to elect those who share our vision of a new Nigeria.” Obi said
Obi and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, had challenged the victory of Tinubu in the last election up to the apex court.
Not satisfied with the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) earlier in September, Atiku and Obi approached the Supreme Court seeking the nullification of Tinubu’s election on the grounds of double nomination, alleged certificate forgery, non-transmission of results electronically, 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), amongst others.
However, penultimate Thursday, the Justice John Okoro-led panel of the apex court threw out all the appeals by Atiku and Obi for lacking merit. The panel thereafter upheld electoral victory of Tinubu.Share this story to friends