Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party on Monday, described Nigeria’s democracy as the victim of the Supreme Court Judgment of 26th October, 2023. He also said the judgment was a breach of the people’s confidence in the judiciary.
Obi, while addressing a world press conference in Abuja, said the nation’s apex 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,
He noted that despite the outcome, the issues around identity theft, and forgery have been brought to light in the course of this election matter.
According to him” These were hefty allegations that should not to be treated with levity”
Obi declared that 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, adding that ” 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 Labour Party standard bearer who noted that the judgment mixed principles and precepts, added that ” 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”
He described the judgement as 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.”
” We have long been aware of how weak national institutions have negatively affected our democracy. This year 2023 has been quite remarkable and revealing. 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.”
” Where the value and import of the recent Supreme Court ruling ends is where our commitment to a New Nigeria begins.
He declared that the mission and mandate of the party remain unchanged.
“From the very onset, our mission has been more about enthroning a new Nigeria. It is a new nation where things work, where the country is led from its present waste and consumption orientation to a production-driven economy.
“Our commitment is to a nation anchored on the principles of prudent management of resources to quickly pull millions out of multidimensional poverty, ensuring transparency and accountability in the equitable distribution of opportunities, resources, and privileges. In the new Nigeria, we aim to address all unmet needs by showing compassion for all those left behind by the present system.
” 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 who stated there is a compelling need for a strong political opposition, given the current circumstances, said ” We shall, therefore, remain in opposition, especially because of the policies and the governance modalities that we in the Labour Party campaigned for, especially reducing the cost of governance, moving the nation from consumption to production, reducing inflation, ending insecurity, promoting the rule of law, guaranteeing the responsibility to protect, and stabilizing the Nigerian currency; are clearly not the priorities of the present administration nor is it interested in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
He stated that his heart is immensely gladdened in the course of the struggle of the past 18 months, by the passionate desire of the people, especially the young people from across ethnic and religious divides, to construct a new and restructured Nigeria that will work for all Nigerians, adding that ” That goal remains my guiding light and abiding inspiration.
” I thank all Nigerians who believed in what is now only a revolution postponed. We deeply appreciate the unalloyed non-partisan moral support millions of youth and ordinary Nigerians across ethnic, religious, and geopolitical divides have continued to give to Datti Baba-Ahmed and me.
” We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Nigerians who have supported this mission from the onset. We salute the leadership and members of the Labour Party, the Obidient Movement, the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Nigerians in the Diaspora, Support Groups, and all people of goodwill who worked diligently and hoped for the realization of the beginnings of a New Nigeria in this election cycle.
Obi declared that Nigerians who supported his cause have done so out of patriotism and their sincere conviction that the nation requires and deserves dedicated and visionary leaders who will lead Nigeria toward a brighter future.
“The energy and dedication of Nigerian Youths and the Obedient Movement have been simply amazing.
” I appreciate and salute them! I want to assure them that this is not the end of our journey; but in fact, the beginning. Nigeria heard you. The world has taken note and will not forget so easily. We shall endure, persist, until we get to our destination because a new Nigeria is our destination. A destination not an event.
“To them, we wish to state unequivocally that this judicial outcome – an obvious misrepresentation of substantial justice – has by no means foreclosed the realization of a new Nigeria that is Possible.
” I take personal pride and express gratitude to those who share our vision; and who have also exhibited rare courage to challenge the nefarious system, the genuineness of individuals’ identities and their defining and qualifying particulars up to the highest extent allowed by law. Nigeria holds out hope of infinite possibilities leading to our desirable greatness.
“I remain consistent in my belief in the possibility of a new Nigeria built on character competence, capacity, compassion, integrity, and respect for the rule of law based on justice and fairness”.