Peter Obi, the running mate to the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the just-concluded presidential election, has stated why his party must go to court to reclaim its “stolen” mandate despite pleas to shun the move.
Obi, who spoke to journalists in his Onitsha home Monday evening, said he was touched by the eagerness with which Nigerians came out to perform their civic duties of voting. He thanked especially the youth and women, some of whom exercised their voting rights for the first time in the over 119,000 polling booths scattered all over Nigeria.
He condoled with the families of those who lost their lives and those who sustained various degrees of injuries during the election. He appealed to them not to allow their spirit become dampened towards the performance of their civic duties in the future.
Speaking on the general conduct of the election, Obi said it was anything but a transparent, free and fair election, adding that it certainly fell far below the standard established by the 2015 presidential election.
He stated that it was characterized by deliberate voters’ suppression and intimidation throughout the South-East and South-South, actions he described as the highest form of corruption.
Obi lamented that the two zones under reference witnessed different sets of rule.
According to him, “While some zones voted strictly using the card readers, other zones, as part of the manipulation orchestrated by the ruling party, APC, were allowed to vote without card readers contrary to the guidelines INEC issued before the election.”
On the way forward, Obi said he aligned fully with PDP as a party, the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and well-meaning Nigerians in condemning the exercise.
He added that as law-abiding citizens, the PDP as a party, its presidential candidate and himself had decided to go to court because of their belief in the rule of law.
“Though elections give citizens a means to hold their leaders accountable by voting incumbents out of office or promising to hold to account those leaders successfully elected, the process is more important than the outcome as the rule of law must always prevail. Thus, the consequences of Nigeria without rule of law will be unimaginable chaos and tyranny,” he said.
Expressing his confidence in the judiciary, Obi said he appreciated the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians on the issue.
However, concerning those who advised against going to court, Obi said that the dilemma of Nigeria was allowing impunity to go unchallenged.
“Besides putting a stop to impunity”, Obi said, ” such a challenge will also go a long way in strengthening the electoral processes and in guarding against repetition of such dastardly acts in future.”
Obi, who recalled how he had been on the route before, called on Nigerians to have faith in the judiciary as the last hope of a common man.
The PDP vice presidential candidate cautioned against witch-hunting of opposition leaders and more especially voters in some parts of the country who voted according to their conscience.
He said, “To the young people, millions of whom I came across on our campaigns across the length and breadth of this country, and who showed great enthusiasm and promise for a greater Nigeria, I urge you to troop out on Saturday, March 9 to restate your message of a desire for a better Nigeria.
Though a few as shown by ballot snatching, and violence are still held down by tribalism and ethnic bigotry, I urge the majority to continue in the march of the New world order, where all are equal, and Nigeria is United, secure and Prosperous.”