Sunday, April 14, 2024

Again, Tinubu floors Atiku, Obi

  • Supreme Court aligns with PEPT verdict
  • Tinubu, Buhari, Akpabio, Governors, others hail judgement
  • Supreme Court failed Nigerians, judgement disappointing — PDP

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR AND BRIGHT JACOB 

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and that of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

Justice John Nyang Okoro, who led six other members of the apex court’s panel, delivered a three-hour judgement which put paid to the legal dispute over the poll.

Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi had filed petitions challenging the victory of President Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission on March 1.

However, a five-man panel of the tribunal led by Justice Haruna Tsammani on September 6, 2023 agreed that the petitions accordingly lacked merit and affirmed the return of President Tinubu.

Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment, the LP presidential candidate and his counterpart in PDP filed 86 grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court to nullify the judgment.

The apex court on Thursday dismissed their petitions for lack of merit.

The Supreme Court affirmed that other panel members agreed with the lead judgment delivered by Justice Okoro, dismissing Atiku’s appeal and challenging the judgment of the presidential petition tribunal.

They also agreed with Okoro to reject the application of Atiku, seeking to present Tinubu’s credentials obtained from the CSU.

The other justices on the panel were Uwani Aji, Mohammed Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Abubakar Tijjani, and Emmanuel Agim.

Salawa Ibrahim said, “The application by Atiku is frivolous and vexatious and deserves to be dismissed. I find no merit in the appeal and dismiss, and I affirm the decision of the lower court.”

Agim said, “I agree with the reasoning if the decision of the fresh evidence is not authentic stated by the authority before it was presented. It was not sealed or had the signature. It cannot be used in Nigeria without authentication.

“I agree with why. It was obvious to all including those that brought it. The FCT violates the fundamental principle of the interpretation of the constitution and it must be interpreted in a way that provides equality. The parties should bear their cost.”

The court further said the issues raised by Obi had been dealt with in Atiku’s appeal.

The court also said the issue of double nomination ought not to have been brought before the court.

The other justices on the panel agreed with the lead judgment.

Our nation’s judiciary has never been shaken –Tinubu

Hours after the verdict, President Tinubu issued a statement, saying the nation’s judiciary has never been shaken.

The President said the judgment has laid to rest the agitations trailing the outcome of the keenly contested poll that put him ahead of the PDP and LP candidates.

“While the verdict of today has laid to rest the agitating discourse over who truly won the 2023 Presidential election and met the constitutional requirements as laid out by law, I want to reiterate that my faith in our nation’s judiciary has never been shaken, not even for a moment, because I know that our hallowed courts of law will not fail to administer justice to all Nigerians in all matters and at all times.

“Despite the fusillade of pressure and attempts at intimidation by some political actors, the judiciary demonstrated its unequivocal commitment to upholding the rule of law for the upliftment and defence of humanity,” he said.

Judgment is a relief to me, many Nigerians – Buhari

Also, Nigeria’s former president, Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed the judgment of the Supreme Court that dismissed the petitions filed against President Tinubu’s election.

Buhari said the judgment was a relief to him and many Nigerians.

Buhari urged Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi to take the hand of fellowship extended to them by the Tinubu-led administration.

The former President stated this in a post on X (formerly Twitter) by his former Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Thursday.

Shehu stated, “The former President repeated what he said on the earlier 6 September verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Court which affirmed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s victory that the decision is “a reaffirmation of the will of the majority of the people against the determined will of a hard-fighting minority.”

Buhari stated that the opposition (both Abubakar and Obi) had fought a “good fight,” adding that they should “take the hand of fellowship extended” by the Tinubu-led administration.

“Now that we have arrived at the last bus stop, after tortuous 8-months of expensive legal journey, the nation deserves a break. The opposition has fought a good fight. Having now exhausted their rights as constitutionally allowed, they should take the hand of fellowship extended by the Tinubu/Shettima APC government.

“Let them allow the government to run their administration and the people to have the benefit of the promises the All Progressives Congress, APC made.

“Buhari urged Nigerians, especially those living in the urban areas, to exercise their civic rights to vote, “and this should change given the acceptance and vibrancy of democracy in Nigeria,” the post said.

Akpabio, Yahaya Bello, Sanwo-Olu, Uzodimma, Oyebanji, Abiodun, Alia, congratulate Tinubu

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has congratulated President Tinubu on the revalidation of his February 25, 2023 election victory by the Supreme Court, describing the judgment as reflective of the people’s will.

Akpabio, in a congratulatory message to Tinubu, said the decision of the apex court was a welcome relief as it finally unfastens the last bolts to the path of social-political engineering that President Tinubu promised the nation.

Akpabio said, “Mr President, I am personally elated that the jurists of the Supreme Court saw through the arguments and, even without many technicalities, easily confirmed your victory in the poll.

“There is no doubt that victory came at a cost, but Mr President, that makes it even sweeter. I know you have in your years of public service yielded your personal and other comforts for the collective good and what it cost to confirm the victory in the courts should be seen with a similar vista.”

Akpabio also urged the President not to relent in being a father figure to his former rivals, saying that it was superfluous to remind the President of his well-known big heart.

The Senate President also called on the major rivals of the President to sheath their swords and join hands with the Tinubu administration in the collective goal of making the nation great again.

He added, “The elections have been announced by the electoral authorities and confirmed by the courts, and I call on all former political rivals of the President to show good faith by joining hands with the Bola Tinubu administration in its ongoing efforts to take the nation to a higher level.”

The Senate President said the National Assembly would continue to support the Tinubu administration by leveraging its legislative tentacles to raise the level of governance to a higher pedestal.

The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, also congratulated President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima for their landmark victory at the Supreme Court, culminating in the resolution of all electoral disputes stemming from the 2023 presidential election.

In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Onogwu Muhammed, Governor Bello emphatically underscored that the Supreme Court’s verdict was a resounding reaffirmation of the people’s choice, signifying the enduring strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions and the unwavering refuge the judiciary provides to ordinary citizens.

He emphasized the importance of the Supreme Court’s judgement, which upholds the popular will, as vividly expressed during the elections conducted on February 25, 2023, reinforcing the fundamental value of credible and transparent electoral processes in our great nation.

While conveying congratulations to the leadership of the APC, Governor Bello is optimistic that the party will also warmly invite all candidates from other political parties who participated in the election to collaborate with the President for the collective good of the nation.

Governor Bello expressed his unwavering confidence that, under President Bola Tinubu’s visionary leadership, Nigeria will continue to flourish and thrive in line with the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda of the current administration.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State equally described the Supreme Court’s judgment as a reaffirmation of the people’s mandate, which was freely given to President Bola Tinubu to lead Nigeria from May 29, 2023, to May 29, 2027.

Sanwo-Olu, who expressed his delight at the Supreme Court’s ruling via a press statement issued on Thursday by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile urged the opposition to join hands with the President to move the country forward.

He said, “We have reached the final stage of the political journey, which started over a year ago. Today’s verdict by the apex court in Nigeria has ruled and stated unequivocally that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I will enjoin all Nigerians, especially the opposition parties to join the President in his desire to take Nigeria out of her present situation to where we want it to be.

“Everyone should contribute their quota for the development of Nigeria because we don’t have any other place we can call home except Nigeria.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also applauded the judiciary for standing up for the truth and for protecting the country’s fledgling democracy.

The Governor enjoined Nigerians across party divide to team up with President Tinubu to deliver the real dividends of democracy to Nigerians through the Renewed Hope agenda of the incumbent administration, saying the Supreme Court’s verdict is a victory for democracy and the rule of law.

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has also congratulated President Tinubu on his victory at the Supreme Court.

Governor Uzodimma believed the Supreme Court ruling was a revalidation of the trust millions of Nigerians reposed in President Tinubu when they turned out en masse to cast their ballot for him on February 25, 2023.

The Governor in a statement he personally wrote after the Supreme Court verdict, said, “On behalf of the Government and the good people of Imo State, I extend our heartfelt congratulations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR on his triumphant victory at the Supreme Court, securing his presidency in the recent general elections.

“I commend President Tinubu’s proactive measures in stirring the economy of our dear nation. Despite interim difficulties experienced by the people, Mr. President’s policies are designed to offer greater economic advantage on a long term basis. His dedication to national development is evident and we are confident in his ability to lead our great nation towards a brighter future.

“As a state, we are ready and committed to working hand in hand with Mr. President on this national assignment. Together, we can achieve progress, unity and prosperity for our beloved country. We look forward to the collaborative efforts that will bring about positive change and growth on a national scale.”

In a tweet, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said Tinubu’s victory speaks to the fact that we are guided by the rule of law in Nigeria, the judgement of the Supreme Court is in line with global best practices. Our opponents can now go to sleep or congratulate our President in the spirit of statesmanship.

Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, was not left out.

He rejoiced with President Tinubu on the affirmation of his Presidential election victory by the Supreme Court, in Abuja on Thursday.

Governor Oyebanji described the triumph of the President at the apex court as “the ultimate judicial stamp on the landslide victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer at the 2023 presidential poll held on February 25, 2023.”

He described the decision of the Supreme Court validating President Tinubu’s win as victory for democracy, the rule of law and a landmark judgement in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence that has become a reference point for generations to come.”

In a statement on Thursday by his Special Adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, Governor Oyebanji, described the latest judicial victory of President Tinubu as the confirmation of the electoral wishes of the majority of Nigerians who massively voted the APC as the party of their choice.

Governor Oyebanji said the affirmation of President Tinubu’s victory by both the Presidential Election Petition Court and the Supreme Court has laid to rest all doubts and controversies raised by the opposition about the presidential election.

The Ekiti helmsman advised the People’s Democratic Party flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi and the presidential candidates of other political parties to join hands with President Tinubu to move the country forward politically, economically and socially in the interest of Nigerians.

He also advised the candidates and parties whose petitions and appeals were not successful at the courts to accept the hand of fellowship earlier extended to them by President Tinubu since there must be an end to litigation after the electorate had spoken with their votes.

Benue State Governor, Rev FrHyacinth Alia has also congratulated President Tinubu and the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, over the reaffirmation of their victory at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Alia, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Kula Tersoo, described the verdict of the Supreme Court as sound and succinct, saying that the judgment is a revalidation of the sacred mandate freely given to the President and his Vice, during the February 25th, 2023 presidential polls.

He said as the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has demonstrated sound legal and jurisprudential reasoning without any doubt that it is the last hope of the common man, as it has ensured that the will of the people of the country is not thwarted and power usurped through the back door.

He said the Judgment was victory for democracy and victory for the majority of the Nigerian masses who voted the president into office.

He called on Nigerians and Benue people to continue to keep faith with the current APC led administration in the country, saying now that the distractions of the court processes are over, the Tinubu led government will concentrate more on delivering the Renewed Hope Agenda to the entire people of Nigeria as outlined in its blueprint.

Diri, Wike congratulate Tinubu

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Duoye Diri and the former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, were among earlier callers at the presidential villa, Abuja on Thursday to celebrate with President Tinubu over the Supreme Court’s affirmation of his victory in the 2023 presidential election under the APC.

With the Bayelsa governor, who is contesting the November 11 gubernatorial election in the state under the PDP, were Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Governor Abdulahi Sule of Nasarawa State; former governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola; national chairman of the APC, Abdulahi Ganduje; the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, among others.

Even though it was not clear what brought the Bayelsa State governor to the presidential villa, he congratulated the president on his victory along with others who had come to rejoice with him.

Wike, who remains a member of the PDP though the incumbent minister of the Federal Capital Territory, told the president that Diri would have come earlier to see him earlier but was busy with his governorship campaign, which Tinubu acknowledged.

Supreme Court failed Nigerians, judgment disappointing — PDP

However, the PDP has described the Supreme Court judgment as disappointing.

Reacting to the Supreme Court Judgement in a statement on Thursday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said they are alarmed, disappointed, and gravely concerned with the reasoning of the apex court.

PDP declared, “It is indeed a sad commentary for our democracy that the Supreme Court failed to uphold the provisions of the law. Instead, it trashed the expectation of the majority of Nigerians who looked up to it as a Temple of Impartiality to deliver substantial justice in the matter regarding the case’s laws and facts.

“Nigerians earnestly expected the Supreme Court to uphold and defend the clear provisions of the 1999 Constitution in terms of qualification and minimum requirement for a winner to be declared in a Presidential election in Nigeria, especially with regards to the required statutory 25 per cent of votes in the FCT as well as issues of violation of electoral Rules and Guidelines, brazen manipulations and alterations of election results by the APC, Ologunagba added.

The opposition party publicity scribe said Nigerians are still at a loss as to how the Supreme Court condoned the serious issues of alleged forgery, falsehood, and perjury on the altar of technicalities.

He said, “The general gloom, melancholy and sense of despondency across the country upon the delivery of the judgment is an ominous sign of an eerie situation which portends grave consequences because of the disappointment embedded in the judgment.”

Ologunagba said the apex court’s judgment has shaken Nigerians’ confidence in the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, as the last hope of the common man.

PDP national publicity secretary, who said their party remains undeterred, charged Nigerians not to be discouraged or allow the judgment to detract them from their collective quest to entrench a credible electoral system that can guarantee a government that truly derives its legitimacy from the people.

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