In a swift response to the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the recent election, Peter Obi, the president, expressed bewilderment regarding his claims during a press conference, where he questioned the judgments of both the Supreme Court and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Obi, who placed a distant third in the election, criticised the outcomes of the election and the verdict of the Supreme Court, which affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu at the last election.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said the presidency was puzzled by what it perceived as an illusion, whereby Obi and his faction of the Labour Party believed they had won an election in which they secured only a minor share of the vote.
According to the statement, the grand illusion that led Obi to believe he could triumph in a national election, despite running a divisive and polarising campaign, is a matter that warrants profound examination.
Onanuga stated that Obi’s campaign seemingly exacerbated religious and ethnic divisions, a concerning approach in Nigeria’s diverse and multi-religious society.
During his press conference, Obi made attempts, albeit unsuccessfully, to cast doubt on the election’s legitimacy with unproven claims and insinuations.
The presidency noted his contradictions, emphasising that he had benefited from judicial rulings in the past but was now criticising the same court because the verdict did not favour him.
Obi alleged that the Supreme Court justices did not consider public opinion when delivering their judgment, a viewpoint countered by the presidency, which argued that judicial decisions are based on evidence, precedents, and the rule of law, not public sentiment.
Despite acknowledging the finality of the Supreme Court’s ruling and the legitimacy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s election, Obi delved into extraneous matters he believed should have been considered to declare him the winner. The presidency regarded these allegations as unfounded.
The presidency’s advice to Peter Obi was to explore alternative endeavors and abandon the pursuit of national leadership, as he had been rejected by the majority of Nigerians during the election.
Nigerians reportedly rejected Obi due to concerns about the potential disruption he posed to the nation’s peace, progress, and stability. His eight-year tenure as governor of Anambra State was criticised for a lack of tangible achievements, which raised doubts about his capability to lead Nigeria.
The presidency encouraged Peter Obi to demonstrate his belief in Nigeria by supporting President Tinubu’s vision for a new era of prosperity, inclusive governance, and economic growth.
Finally, the presidency welcomed Obi and his party to play the role of the opposition and prepare for future electoral opportunities, with the hope that the campaign would focus on issues rather than stoking religious and ethnic sentiments, as seen in the previous election.
(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; email@example.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)