Presidential Poll: Atiku, Obi vow to challenge outcome in court

2 months ago

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, rejected the outcome of last Saturday’s presidential poll and vowed to challenge it in court.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Wednesday returned Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner and president-elect.

While Obi said he won the election and would explore all legal and peaceful means to prove it in court, Atiku concurred, saying “the processes and outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections of last Saturday were grossly flawed in every material particular and as such, must be challenged.”

The duo spoke in their first press conferences after the elections.

In a quick response, Tinubu, who had earlier in his victory speech extended a hand of fellowship to his challengers at the poll, said he would meet them in court to defend his mandate.

They spoke as the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, attacked Obi for faulting the outcome of the election that returned Tinubu as the winner; and the Chief Spokesperson of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Festus Keyamo, asked the LP candidate to desist from engaging in “crass grandstanding.”

Also, the APC PCC advised Atiku to stop being delusional over his presidential ambition.

We won this election, we’ll prove it in court – Peter Obi

Obi, who spoke at a briefing in Abuja, enjoined his supporters, especially party members, not to despair because he and his running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, had taken up the challenge posed by President Muhammadu Buhari and President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to mount a legal challenge if they were convinced the electoral process was faulty.

He said: “We are not yet in court, they asked me to go to court, and I’m going to court. Let me reiterate and assure my good people of Nigeria that we will follow all available legal and peaceful procedures to reclaim our mandate.”

He noted that his respect for his two other opponents had not waned and that as such if any of them called him he would answer.

Obi, however, insisted that on the issue of last Saturday’s presidential elections, he remained committed and determined not to let down Nigerians who invested their time and votes in his candidature.

Describing his opponents, Atiku Abubakar and Ahmed Tinubu of the PDP and the APC respectively, as his fathers, he said: I respect them but on this issue (elections), I’m challenging the process. I have no problem making calls, if they call me I will go.”

Obi paid glowing tributes to Nigerians who trooped out on February 25, 2023, en-masse to participate in what was promised and expected to be a free, fair and transparent presidential and National Assembly elections.

While noting that the decision to challenge the process was hinged on the fact that it was flawed in many respects, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, said further: “Let me also appreciate and thank all Nigerians that participated in our last election, especially those who believed and tirelessly worked for a new Nigeria and voted for us.

“My profound thanks go to the youths, ‘Obidients’ and support groups for your commitment and resilience for a better Nigeria. You truly showed that you can take back your country!

“We continue to pray for the repose of the souls of all Nigerians killed during the campaigns and for those that were violently attacked, we pray for their quick recovery.

“We reiterate our total condemnation of such attacks and continue to demand that security agencies stop further attacks and bring perpetrators to book.

“The commitment and resilience of Nigerians, even in the face of unwarranted and barbaric attacks, is a testimony that a new Nigeria is, indeed, possible.

“The Lady, Jennifer Efidi, who was stabbed but insisted on exercising her right to vote and, indeed, all Nigerians who voted during the election are the shining stars leading us to a new Nigeria.

“The election has been conducted and results announced as programmed. It is a clear deviation from the electoral rules and guidelines as we were promised and did not meet the minimum criteria of a free, transparent, credible and fair election devoid of voter intimidation and suppression, and late commencement of voting in some specific states.

“This will probably go down as one of the most controversial elections ever conducted in Nigeria. The good and hardworking people of Nigeria have again been robbed by the institutions and leaders whom we trusted.

“However, let me humbly and most respectfully appeal to all Nigerians to remain peaceful, law-abiding and conduct themselves in a most responsible manner. Please, be assured that for Datti and I, and, indeed, for all of us, this is not the end, but the beginning of the journey to birth a New Nigeria.

“Datti Baba-Ahmed and I remain absolutely undaunted and deeply committed to this project of a new Nigeria that will be built on honesty, transparency, fairness, justice and equity. ‘’All of these start with the process, the process through which people are elected to office is as important (if not more important) than what they do thereafter with the office and authority.

“If we seek to be called Your Excellency, then the process through which we are elected should also be excellent or sufficiently credible to generate the required confidence and moral authority to govern and lead.

“As you all know, the destruction of a society can be a gradual or sudden process through acts such as deliberate refusal to obey the rule of law and via the suppression of the will of the people.

“I urge you all to continue with your campaigns and troops out on Saturday, March 11, 2023, to vote massively again for Labour Party (Mama, Papa and Pikin) in the governorship and State Assembly elections. Please do not despair at a time we can still achieve massive victories in the forthcoming elections on March 11, 2023.”

Atiku, PDP challenge Tinubu’s victory

Speaking in like manner at another press conference, Atiku rejected the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the poll and described the process leading up to the declaration of Tinubu as winner and President-elect by the INEC as flawed.

He explained that he was addressing Nigerians with a heart full of sadness because what transpired under the current INEC leadership fell short of the minimum standard of elections anywhere in the world.

Atiku went down memory lane to trace Nigeria’s democratic journey from the battle to end military dictatorships to the birth of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

He words: “I have in the last three decades devoted my life to the battle to birth and deepen democracy in our country.

“It was a battle that started during the military era. It was a struggle that nearly cost me my life and that of my son, Adamu, in Kaduna. I survived the assassination only by the mercies and grace of God.

“Following that attack, I was forced into exile. But that attack claimed the precious lives of some police officers.

“That was not all: my businesses were nearly crippled and my signature business was eventually appropriated by the maximum ruler of that era.

“My commitment to enthroning democracy ensured that I joined forces with other compatriots. As a leader of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, we fought and won the 1993 presidential election, which was acclaimed as the fairest and freest election in our history.

“Sadly, Chief MKO Abiola, who embodied that hope for the birth of a new Nigeria, paid the ultimate price

“Our fight to enthrone democracy continued. Indeed, the motivating factor for the birth of the Peoples Democratic Party was to force the exit of the military from the government and their permanent return to the military barracks.

“Following the exit of the military and the advent of democratic rule in 1999, I did not rest on my oars. I deployed the same level of commitment to advance and deepen our democracy.

“I did this because our democracy was bought at a huge price of human lives. My mentor and true Nigerian hero, who this venue for which we are gathered this evening is named for, was one of those who paid the ultimate price in that battle. So, also was Chief Alfred Rewane, Chief MKO Abiola and his dear wife, Mrs Kudirat Abiola.

“It was also for this reason that I sacrificed my political aspiration and fought against the actualisation of Third Term. Whether during the military or civilian era, I have, no matter how inconvenient, pitched my tent with the people against dictators. During the military regime, it nearly cost me my life and the near decimation of my businesses.

“In the civilian administration, it had serious adverse implications on my political life. But I have remained undaunted because I was, and still convinced, that the only reason why I am in politics is to work in tandem with other compatriots in the advancement of the wellbeing of the people.”

In addition, he said: “The 2023 presidential election presented our nation and its people the greatest opportunity for a reset. We had everything going for us: a legal framework in the 2022 Electoral Act and the BVAS technology. The enthusiasm of Nigerians to turn out in large numbers was an added bonus.

“However, the dreams and aspirations of Nigerians who braced all the challenges to go and cast their votes on Saturday, February 25, 2023, were shattered by the conduct of the INEC, which failed to live up to expectations.

“The weekend election was neither free nor fair. Preliminary assessments indicate that it is the worst conducted elections since the return to democratic rule.

“The manipulation and fraud that attended this election were unprecedented in the history of our nation. I can still not understand why the electoral umpire was in such a hurry to conclude the collation and announcement of the result, given the number of complaints of irregularities of bypassing of the BVAS, failure of uploading to the IReV, and unprecedented cancellations and disenfranchisement of millions of voters in breach of the Electoral Act and the commission’s own guidelines. It was indeed a rape of democracy.

Polls grossly flawed

“Having consulted with leaders of our party and Nigerians from different walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that the processes and outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections of last Saturday were grossly flawed in every material particular, and as such must be challenged.

“This has been attested to by both local and international observers. I want to believe that this was not the legacy that President Muhammadu Buhari had promised.

“For President Buhari, it is not too late to make amends for the good of our country and the future generations and indeed to assure his legacy.

“This battle to right the wrongs of Saturday is not about me. It is a continuation of my battles to deepen democracy and for a better life for our people. It is about the future of Nigerian youths.

“I know that Nigerians, especially the youth, are traumatised by the developments, but I want to urge them to conduct themselves peacefully.

“As I have done over the years, I assure you that I will commit the rest of my life to ensure that true democracy, which affirms the supremacy of your votes and your will, will take firm footing and guarantee a stable, prosperous and peaceful Nigeria.

“This is more so as Nigeria represents the hope of Africa and the Black World.

“It is my hope that the judiciary will redeem itself this time around and rise to society’s expectation as the last hope. In the end, who wins is not as important as the credibility of our elections and electoral processes.

“I call on all men and women of goodwill to join hands with us in the vanguard to defend our constitution from the brigandage of anti-democratic forces.

“Finally I urge Nigerians to remain vigilant and resolute. You have the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom to choose your leaders. We will not sit idly by and watch your rights taken from you.”

We’ll meet in court— Tinubu

Responding, Tinubu, yesterday, expressed his readiness to defend his mandate in court, saying he accepts the decision of the LP candidate to challenge the outcome of the election.

Tinubu, in a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, Mr Bayo Onanuga, said: “We watched with dismay today’s press conference addressed by the Presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi where he made very weird and wild claims about the outcome of the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, an election in which he emerged a second runner up, according to the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

“We welcome the decision of Mr Obi to seek redress in court as an aggrieved party if he is convinced of the evidence of electoral frauds he will present before the tribunal as alleged.

“Going to court is part of the electoral process and it is the most decent, statesmanlike and civilised course of action to take. We salute the decision. It is surely better than calling supporters to the streets and instigating social unrest.”

Tinubu added that before Mr Obi goes to court, he (Tinubu) considers it necessary to challenge some specific claims in his press address.

He said contrary to Obi’s statement, it is not true that the election held on February 25 was not free and fair.

He said: “That Labour Party and Mr Obi surprised bookmakers by winning in Lagos, Nasarawa, Plateau, Delta and Edo states where there are sitting governors of either the APC or the PDP. Those governors have entrenched political machinery. That Obi won attests to the credibility of the election process. In those states, most of the sitting governors contested election to go to the Senate and lost to little-known candidates of the Labour Party.

“The Labour Party also swept the entire five South East states under the control of APGA, PDP or APC.

“We believe that the Labour Party Presidential Candidate contradicted himself and exposed himself to public ridicule by suggesting that the election was only credible in states and places his party won.

“We need to forewarn Mr Obi, that when he gets to court he should be prepared to tell the world how his party won over 90% of votes in his region of South-East while other parties got almost nothing. We have evidence of voter suppression, intimidation and harassment in the South-East, especially of those who came out to vote for our party.

“Also when Mr Obi gets to court, he will have to convince the court with his allegation of rigging in over 40,000 polling units across the country, especially in North-West and North-East where his party had no party agents and did not sign the result sheets as required by law. It is our assumption that the Labour Party will enlist PDP agents to prove its fraud claims since it is an affiliate of PDP.

“We want to state again for the umpteenth time that Mr Obi didn’t win the presidential election and could not have won under any circumstances. This is because he had no path to winning a national election in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like Nigeria where a candidate running in a national election must appeal to the cross-section of our pluralistic society.

“Mr. Obi anchored his presidential campaign on the failed strategy of ethnicity and religion, the divisive and dangerous politics that has hobbled the progress of our country for decades.

“Nigerians simply rejected an ethnic and religious bigot through their ballots.”

“Mr Obi all through his campaign presented himself as the candidate of the Christians and the Church, who wanted to help ‘take back their country” from the Nigerian Muslims.

“His campaign also ran on the engine of ethnicity, inflaming strong Igbo sentiments. He also sought to cash in on the supposed youth discontent in Nigeria, as fuelled by the ENDSARS protest in 2020.

“While Labour Party positioned its candidate as the harvester of the youth votes, its planners forgot that Nigeria does not have a homogeneous and monolithic youth population that can deliver bloc vote to any candidate.

“All the major parties that contested the election also have strong youth appeal and supporters.

*The lesson in Mr Obi’s defeat in the election is that no politician in Nigeria can win a presidential race by being a sectional and an anointed candidate of any religion.

“Mr Obi and his party knew why they failed. They knew they had no path to victory with their negative and dangerous campaign,” the APC PCC added.

Atiku should quit being delusional—APC PCC

Reacting to Atiku’s decision to seek legal redress, the Chief Spokesman of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, urged the PDP candidate not to be delusional adding that his presidential bid was dead on arrival.

Keyamo, in a statement, accused Atiku of allegedly making unfounded derogatory comments about Tinubu “in obvious bitterness and frustration.”

The statement reads: “In the typical fashion of the last kick of a dying horse, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar this evening addressed the Press and claimed that the 2023 Presidential Election was neither free nor fair. He made this bogus claim without providing a shred of evidence, except to trumpet the noise made by his supporters on social media. He also went ahead to make unfounded derogatory comments about the person of President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in obvious bitterness and frustration.

“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should be thankful that he even exceeded expectations in the elections by coming second; with all the distractions and fractured party with which he campaigned he must have sensed beforehand that he was headed for a humiliating defeat that should have put him a distant third or fourth in the elections. His performance was therefore the best he could achieve.

“Atiku’s bid for the Presidency this time around was dead on arrival when his inordinate ambition fractured his party into three parts, with Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwanso and Mr Peter Obi breaking away to the NNPP and the Labour Party respectively. The massive loss he suffered in traditional PDP zones and states is a clear testament to this. One wonders, then, how he expected to have won the election.”

Besides, the Minister of State, Labour and Employment argued that: “Atiku Abubakar’s decision to challenge the outcome of the results is welcome. We are prepared to meet his challenge, no matter the nature of the challenge, anywhere and anytime.

“If Atiku Abubakar is not embracing the olive branch extended to him and other losers in the 2023 elections by the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the least he can do is to quietly relocate to Dubai which has become his traditional home base.”

You’ve no moral justification to fault election outcome, APC tackles Obi

Reacting to Obi’s statement, APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was flanked by members of the APC National Working Committee, NWC, at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, said for a party which won Lagos, Tinubu’s stronghold, it would be out of place to now turn round to condemn the process because it did not win across the country.

Adamu also accused the PDP, and LP of having diabolic desperation for power and attempting to truncate the nation’s democracy.

He said: “It is the nature of things. You win some, you lose some and the fact that we lost some major states, such as Lagos, Kano, Katsina and even Nasarawa, Kaduna, you cannot be talking about democracy, about the evenness of representation and at the same time looking for or saying you must win everything.

“The fact that we lost these places and we didn’t shed tears, we did not cry foul, makes us the real political party in this country.

“What moral justification is there for a party that won Lagos and felt it was a good game, then loses a place like Ekiti, and said the game is a bad one? It doesn’t make sense.

“With the strategic position of Lagos, strategic in terms of location, population, in terms of economy, in terms of political history and prestige, we lost and we didn’t run the streets crying, but what is important is we got what we want, we got the presidency.

Diabolic desperation

Adamu also condemned the PDP and LP for staging a walkout midway into the final collation of the presidential election results.

He said: “I would be remiss if I fail to condemn in the strongest possible terms the shameful conduct of the leadership of PDP and the Labour Party in their unwarranted attempts to sabotage the elections and throw the country into chaos and avoidable crisis.

‘’It is a pity that they take their loss so badly. They ought to be good sportsmen and women in the political arena.

“Their protest walking out from the collation centre was not only childish but clearly a calculated attempt to rubbish the elections and impugn the integrity of the electoral umpire. Their call for the cancellation of the elections over their unproven allegations of electoral fraud must be the height of diabolical desperation.”

“Our laws provide channels for the redress of electoral grievances. We urge those who feel aggrieved to avail themselves of those channels to seek redress. To set the house on fire in pursuit of a rat is not an act of courage or patriotism. It stands condemnable,” he added.

“We are happy to see that the people have seen through their unpatriotic antics and rejected their attempts to set the country on fire. We commend the highly placed and patriotic former public officers who instantly rose up in defence of the conduct of the elections and the election results and condemned the saboteurs.

‘’They have once more risen to the challenge of saving our nation from a needless crisis. We salute them. We must learn to be good losers, not bad losers. It is the hallmark of good citizenship,” he added.

Adamu also hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which he said worked under a dark cloud of sabotage to deliver on its mandate.

*The victory belongs to the security agencies who put their lives on the line and ensured the peaceful conduct of the election at all levels. It belongs to all Nigerians who collectively showed a determination to birth a new national leadership. It belongs especially to the chairman and the members of INEC.

“They laboured under a dark cloud of sabotage. INEC offices were torched in several states; its personnel were similarly attacked but Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the man who has done more than anyone else in that difficult office, refused to be intimidated and be deflected from doing his duty to his country and his compatriots.

‘’Committed as he and the members of the commission were to free, fair, transparent, and credible elections, they found sustenance in the courage to serve the nation and its people and help the people institute a government of their choice. Our nation must remain grateful to them,” he stated.

Obi should desist from crass grandstanding – APC PCC

Also reacting to Obi’s decision to challenge the outcome of last Saturday’s presidential election in court, chief spokesperson of Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Festus Keyamo, said the LP candidate should desist from engaging in “crass grandstanding.”

Keyamo in a statement urged Obi not to seek legal redress in court but join hands with the President-elect in nation-building.

He said: “We make this brief statement in reaction to the press briefing held by the defeated candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, wherein (in his now well-acknowledged penchant for spewing falsehood) he made the outlandish claim before the world that he won the 2023 presidential election, but was robbed of victory.

“Having been officially declared winner of the 2023 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission and has received his Certificate of Return (along with his Vice-President Elect), the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would have ignored these continuous false claims being peddled by Mr Peter Obi and his supporters.

‘’But we recognise his motive of doing this is to simply delegitimise the mandate freely given to the president-elect by the majority of Nigerians.

“Mr Peter Obi is always quick to cite some isolated incidents of irregularities outside his strongholds that could not have substantially affected the outcome of the results in those areas, whereas he deliberately fails to comment on tons and tons of evidence circulating everywhere wherein his supporters in his strongholds engaged in thuggery, hooliganism, violence and outright falsification of figures against our Party and our supporters.

‘’He pretends to play the victim, whereas he is the greatest culprit in this game of brickbats.

“Mr Peter Obi knows he could not have won, having played the most divisive, religious politics in our history and the pattern of the votes clearly shows that; Mr Obi knows he could not have won, having broken out as a fragment of the main opposition, the PDP and all he could hope for was to harvest a portion of the votes of PDP in a section of the country and the results do not tell a lie.

‘’Mr Obi knows he could not have won when he presented himself as a tribal candidate and was only campaigning in settlements of his tribesmen in other states outside the South East instead of appealing to all and sundry.

‘’Mr Obi knows he could not have won having joined the Labour Party a few months ago and bought the ticket of the party without valid primaries and thereby polarised his party.

‘’Mr Peter Obi knows he did not win because he did not even fulfil the minimum requirement of our constitution which requires a spread of 25 per cent in two-thirds of the States of the Federation. He did not come even close. With his divisive rhetoric, he could not have come close.

“It is also ludicrous that Mr Peter Obi is laying claim to victory along with his new-found partner, the PDP, that is also laying claim to victory. I tweeted this morning, thus: ‘’This is the first time in my entire life that I am seeing people who came 2nd and 3rd in an exam both claiming they took first and then agreeing to protest together to the examiner to record that both of them took first, yet they are not seeing the contradiction in their actions.’ We stand by that comment.

“The President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has extended a hand of fellowship to his defeated opponents, including Mr Peter Obi, to join hands with him in nation-building.

“Mr Peter Obi should embrace that hand of fellowship and brotherhood by the President-elect as a committed patriot instead of engaging in this crass grandstanding.”


Comment Box is loading comments...
Related Forums
Court Convicts Yahoo Boy Of Love Scam In Kaduna (Photo)

Court Convicts Yahoo Boy Of Love Scam In Kaduna (Photo)

20 hours ago
Libya Court Sentences 23 ISIS Members To Death For Beheading Christians And Televising It

Libya Court Sentences 23 ISIS Members To Death For Beheading Christians And Televising It

21 hours ago
EPL: Aguero names two team to challenge Man City for title next season

EPL: Aguero names two team to challenge Man City for title next season

1 day ago
Why court sentenced Adedeoyin to death by hanging

Why court sentenced Adedeoyin to death by hanging

1 day ago