Tuesday, 07 November 2023 04:58

Presidency reacts to Obi, says he ‘tried in vain to gaslight Nigerians with false claims and innuendos’

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PRESS RELEASE

Labour Party Presidential candidate in the last election, Peter Obi, addressed a press conference, just like Atiku Abubakar, where he cast aspersions on the Supreme Court and the Independent National Electoral Commission for not declaring him the winner of the February 25, 2023 election.

We are at a loss as to how the copy-cat Obi and his faction of Labour Party convinced themselves they won an election in which they came a distant third.

The grand delusion that made Obi believe he could have won a national election where he ran the most hateful, divisive and polarising campaign that pitched Christians against Muslims and one ethnic group against the other in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like Nigeria should be a matter for deeper examination.

At the press conference where he tried, in vain, to gaslight Nigerians with false claims and innuendos, Obi contradicted himself. Here was a beneficiary of judicial pronouncements in the past now castigating the same court because its judgment did not go his way.

Obi claimed the Supreme Court justices didn't consider public opinion in delivering what has been applauded as a most profound judgement in an election appeal where the Labour Party candidate presented the most watery and unreasonable petition before any court in the history of electoral cases in Nigeria.

He made false allegations of rigging and other electoral malpractices yet could not produce any evidence to back up his claims at both the court of first instance and at the apex court. In a failed effort to mobilise and retain the support of his supporters, Obi gave them a forlorn hope that he won the election and would prove it before the courts. Throughout the trial, his lawyers didn't present any alternative results different from the results INEC uploaded on the IReV portal and the ones signed by all party agents from the 176,000 polling units.

We wonder how the Labour Party candidate expected  the courts to do justice on the basis of rumours, lies and false narratives by sponsored partisans and fanatical members of his Obidient Movement.

We expected the Labour Party candidate to know that the Supreme Court or any other court does not give judgment based on public opinion and mob sentiments. Judicial pronouncements are based on evidence, precedents and the rule of law.

Having admitted that the Supreme Court ruling brought an end to litigation and any challenge to the bona-fide of President Bola Tinubu as the validly elected leader of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Obi should have congratulated Tinubu for his victory and pledged his support, in the spirit of statesmanship.

But instead, he brought up extraneous matters that he thought the apex court should have considered to declare him the winner. In our view, the drowning Obi, just like Atiku, was merely attempting to hold on to a straw in raking up new allegations, which exist only in his imagination and that of his hordes of supporters.

Our admonition to Obi is to find another worthwhile vocation to engage his time henceforth, having been rejected by majority of Nigerians who didn't consider him qualified to lead our country.

Nigerians rejected Obi and his demagoguery at the poll because he posed  present and future danger to the peace, progress and stability of our country.

Obi’s antecedents as Governor of Anambra for eight years didn't inspire any confidence as someone capable of running a country like Nigeria. No tangible records of achievement in the state he governed recommended him for the Presidency of Nigeria.

If Obi truly believes in Nigeria, the time to prove it is now when all men and women of goodwill are rallying support for Tinubu in his determination to lead a new era of prosperity, inclusive governance and economic growth in Nigeria.

Finally, we welcome Obi and his party to play the role of the opposition and start preparing for another shot at the presidency in 2027.

We hope by then he would campaign on issues and not whip up religious and ethnic sentiments as he did in the last campaign.

Bayo Onanuga

Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy

November 6, 2023

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