*Opposition rejects Tribunal’s verdict
*To consult lawyers on next steps
*As Tinubu reacts to court victory
By KEMI KASUMU
“Nigerians were witnesses to the electoral robbery that took place on February 25, 2023, which was globally condemned but the Tribunal in its wisdom refused to accept the obvious.”
Some public affairs observers in Nigeria say they are not surprised by Wednesday’s ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, which predictably dismissed all petitions against February 25, 2023 declaration of All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as President-Elect by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This is also as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) announce their total rejection of the Tribunal’s verdict, which affirmed Bola Tinubu’s victory in the February poll.
While both parties, who were petitioners in the case are mulling their next line of action, President Tinubu has reiterated his call for government of national unity, urging the PDP and LP’s candidates – Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively – to support his government.
Tinubu spoke, in a reaction following the Tribunal’s marathon judgement on Wednesday, during which its five-member panel of judges dismissed petitions against Tinubu, the APC candidate in the 2023 election.
By the statement, Tinubu welcomed his victory at the Tribunal.
But in a swift reaction, both parties in separate statements faulted the verdict, saying they would consult their lawyers to know the next line of action.
LP’s spokesman, Obiora Ifoh, said the judgement “did not reflect the law and the desire of the people”.
He added that, “Nigerians were witnesses to the electoral robbery that took place on February 25, 2023, which was globally condemned but the Tribunal in its wisdom refused to accept the obvious.”
The Labour Party said, “What is at stake is democracy and we will not relent until the people will prevail. We salute the doggedness of our team of lawyers who fearlessly exposed the wrath in our system. We can only weep for democracy in Nigeria but we refuse to give up on Nigeria.
“Details of the party’s position will be presented after consultation with our lawyers after the Certified True Copy of the judgement is made available to us.”
For Nigeria’s main opposition party, the verdict is against facts and evidence and one that is “generous in technicalities”.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said “the judgement is against reason, against the facts and evidence presented in Court; against the relevant Electoral Laws, Guidelines and Regulations as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”.
According to him, the PDP would meet with its lawyers and review the verdict to know its next move.
“The PDP, as a law-abiding political party, will consult with our lawyers, have a comprehensive review of the judgement and decide on the next line of action within the ambit of the law,” the PDP added.
“The PDP calls on Nigerians to remain at alert, calm and united as our party continues to lead the charge to defend democracy and ensure that the Will of the people as expressed in the February 25, 2023, presidential election is respected and restored.”
Call For Support
Despite their rejection of the verdict, President Tinubu is calling on their candidates to support his administration in its quest to better the lot of Nigerians.
Tinubu’s media aide Ajuri Ngelale said his principal is ready to work with all Nigerians irrespective of political, ethnic or religious leanings as he called on his rivals to team up with him.
“The President urges his valiant challengers to inspire their supporters in the trust that the spirit of patriotism will now and forever be elevated above partisan considerations, manifesting into support for our Government to improve the livelihood of all Nigerians,” Ajuri said moments after the judgement.
“Once more, President Tinubu thanks Nigerians for the mandate given to him to serve our country while promising to meet and exceed their expectations, by the grace of God Almighty, and through very diligent hard work with the team that has been put in place for that sole purpose.”