Aftermath of Supreme Court verdict: Labour Party now effectively in opposition – Obi

 

The Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi has declared that with verdict of the Supreme Court on his election petition, both the party and the Obidient Movement were now effectively in opposition.

At a press conference in Abuja on Monday in reaction to the Supreme Court judgement on the 2023 presidential polls, Obi said they would stick to the party manifesto and continue to expand the confines of the message of hope to the rest of the country.

He also said they “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.”

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party further said, “Given our present national circumstances, there is a compelling need for a strong political  opposition.   

“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).

“If there is one thing that has immensely gladdened my heart in the course of the struggle of the past 18 months, it is the passionate desire of our people, especially, our young people from across ethnic and religious divides, to construct a new and restructured Nigeria that will work for all Nigerians. That goal remains my guiding light and abiding inspiration.”

On the judgement, he said, “The Supreme 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, identity theft, and forgery that have been brought to light in the course of this election matter. These were hefty allegations that should not to be treated   with   levity.   

“More appalling, 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. 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 judgment mixed principles and precepts. 

“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.

“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. Our mission and mandate 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.”