The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has expressed his disagreement with the verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) which upheld Bola Tinubu’s victory in the February 2023 poll.
Despite the court’s decision to dismiss Atiku’s petitions, along with those of his counterparts in the Labour Party (LP) and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), the main opposition party’s flagbearer remains resolute.
He has directed his legal team to pursue an appeal against the judgment.
“Gentlemen of the press, I take great pains to tell you that the decision of the court of first instance on this matter utterly falls far short of that expectation. I am therefore here to tell you that, though the judgment of the court yesterday is respected, it is a judgment that I refuse to accept. I refuse to accept the judgment because I believe that it is bereft of substantial justice. However, the disappointment in the verdict of the court can never destroy my confidence in the judiciary,” he said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“Consequently, I have asked my lawyers to activate my constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal to the higher court, which, in the instance, is the Supreme Court. It is my conviction that the electoral process in Nigeria should be devoid of untidy manipulations and that the outcome of every election should be a perfect reflection of the wishes of the electorate.
” I believe that such is the only way through which our democracy can have a manifest expression of its true meaning. Whether I prevail in this quest or not, the record of my effort in ensuring an order of credible elections in Nigeria shall remain for future generations to evaluate,” he added.
His party had earlier rejected the Tribunal’s verdict, saying it would consult its lawyers for the next course of action.
Atiku came second in the election and insists he won the exercise despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s declaration of Tinubu as the victor.
The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has also expressed his dissent over the judgment delivered by the Presidential Election Petitions Court regarding the February 25, 2023 poll, characterizing it as an affront to justice.
Speaking on Thursday in Onitsha, Obi acknowledged the Tribunal’s adherence to statutory timelines and affirmed his respect for the court’s views and rulings. However, he conveyed his disagreement with the judgment’s rationale and ultimate conclusions.
In his capacity as a presidential candidate and on behalf of the Labour Party, Obi declared his intent to promptly contest the judgment through the appellate process, as permitted by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While highlighting that the Tribunal isn’t the final authority on this matter, Obi stressed that the ultimate responsibility now lies with the Supreme Court, an institution he expressed confidence in.
He urged Nigerians to maintain their focus, resoluteness, and dedication to peaceful processes, underscoring the significance of upholding the rule of law.
Obi clarified that the matter has not yet reached its ultimate resolution. He disclosed that his legal team has already been given clear directives to file an appeal against the Tribunal’s decision.
He emphasized his unwavering determination in the pursuit of justice, not only for himself but also for the numerous supporters nationwide whose electoral mandate he believed was unjustly hindered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Obi underscored the crucial role of robust national institutions and the public’s trust in them for a thriving democracy. He pointed out that electoral disputes could be significantly reduced if INEC carried out its statutory duties transparently and fairly. However, when such bodies falter, as he asserted INEC did in this case, the judiciary becomes an imperative recourse.
In conclusion, Obi extended his gratitude to every Nigerian who supported his campaign for a New Nigeria founded on principles of fairness, equity, justice, the rule of law, peace, prosperity, inclusiveness, sustainable growth, and development. He specifically thanked his legal team, the Labour Party, the “Obidient Family”, and all those who steadfastly attended the court proceedings.