Following the recently concluded 2023 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, both claim victory.
They are not alone in the controversy, as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is issuing media statements with counterclaims about the poll results.T
Given that the cases are being litigated, the developments are viewed as concerning.
President-elect Bola Tinubu will be sworn in as Nigeria’s new leader on May 29.
But his two main rivals, Atiku and Obi, are sticking to their claim that they, not Tinubu, won the election.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated a few days ago that the opposition lost the election due to overconfidence.
“They were already telling their foreign backers that they would defeat the APC,” he was quoted as saying. We worked hard and won because our Party combined confidence with caution. Their arrogance is now causing more problems for the opposition than anyone else. They are having difficulty convincing those who have backed them from the outside why they are unable to defeat us.
“They lost because of a combination of overconfidence, complacency, and poor tactical decisions.” This has exacerbated the situation in their camp. “How come they didn’t remove us?”
Also, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has urged the opposition to put an end to their endless wrangling over the last election, which they lost badly.
However, the PDP has retaliated, claiming that Atiku won the election.
The opposition party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, stated that polling unit results showed that Atiku won the presidential election, but the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Tinubu the winner.
“The PDP insists that its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, clearly won the February 25, 2023 Presidential election, as evidenced by actual votes cast at Polling Units across the country,” he said.
“The PDP sees the subjudice claims by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the opposition lost the election as yet another attempt by the APC-led Federal Executive to bully and blackmail the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.”
“Nigerians are aware that, based on the authentic results obtained from the Polling Units, Atiku Abubakar, not the APC candidate, met all of the requirements for winning the Presidential election.”
The Labour Party’s Peter Obi also used the opportunity of a stakeholders’ meeting to re-echo his position that he was the election winner.
Obi, who finished third in the election, said he would use every legal means available to recover his allegedly stolen mandate.
“Earlier, I interacted with the Anambra State Labour Party Stakeholders in Awka,” Obi wrote after the Awka meeting. The discussion was lively and productive. Part of our discussions focused on the party’s future direction.
“I reassured them that I was willing to go the distance, to investigate every legal option available to ensure that we regained our mandate.” I appreciated all of their help thus far, and assured them of mine. PO.”
Barr Olu Omotayo, a legal luminary, stated that politicians’ behaviour following the presidential election is unusual.
The lawyer stated that he expected the Nigerian Bar Association and the Judiciary to take decisive action.
“What is happening now is very strange; we’ve never seen anything like it before, but this year is very different.”
“People who have cases pending in court are still going to the press and saying one thing or another, which is likely to prejudice the outcome.”
“When a case is before the court, you don’t comment on it so that the judges have a free hand; you don’t put them in fear.”
“It is unfortunate, and because of the weak institution, the court is not as active as it was in those days; otherwise, the CJN’s office could have said something about it and warned them.”
The CJN’s office would have told the political parties to stop doing all of that because their case is in court. However, the courts have remained silent. The CJN, who is supposed to be the court’s protector, is doing nothing about it.
“Even the bar, the Nigerian Bar Association, you see lawyers who know how things are supposed to be, making inflammatory statements, even press statements on what is pending before the tribunal, very senior lawyers; so the lawyers must be blamed; they are not informing their clients that this matter is pending.”
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“It’s unfortunate that Senior Advocates, very senior lawyers, are also making statements in a pending matter before the tribunal, and this should stop,” Omotayo advised.