Supreme Court willfully condoned violations of Constitution -Obi

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has described the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2023 presidential election as a flagrant betrayal of Nigerians’ faith in the legal system.

Obi, at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, said the country’s democracy was the main victim and casualty of the court’s decision.

He said the apex Court exhibited a disturbing aversion to public opinion just as it abandoned its responsibility as a court of law and policy.

The former governor of Anambra State claimed that the court’s ruling went against the overwhelming evidence of election rigging, false claim of a technical glitch, substantial non-compliance with rules set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) itself as well as matters of perjury, identity theft and forgery that have been brought to light in the course of the election matter. He added that INEC displayed incompetence in the conduct   of   its statutory duty.

Though he acknowledged that the apex Court represents the last resort in the pursuit of legal resolution, Obi said “this end is only another beginning in our quest for the vindication of the hope of the common man for a better country.”

The statement read in part: “As someone who has previously benefited from the rulings of the Supreme Court on electoral matters, I have, after a period of deep and sober reflection, decided to personally and formally react to the recent judgment as most Nigerians have. Because we are confronted with   very   weighty issues of national   interest, I will speak forthrightly. As students’ young lads at   CKC, Onitsha, we   were taught values and admonished to always ‘choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.’

“Setting legal issues aside, 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 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.

“In disagreeing very strongly with the ruling of both the Presidential Petitions Court (PEPC) and the Supreme Court on the outcome of the 25th of February 2023 Presidential election as declared by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as democrats who believe in the rule of law, we recognize that the Supreme Court is the end stage of the quest for legal closure to the matter. As a party and as candidates, Datti and I have now exhausted all legal and constitutional remedies available to us.

“However, this end is only another beginning in our quest for the vindication of the hope of the common man for a better country. After all, sovereignty belongs to the people! If only for historical purposes, it behooves us to place our disagreement with and deep reservations about this judgment on public record.

“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.

“Going forward, we in the Labour Party and the  Obedient Movement are now effectively in opposition. We are glad that the nation has heard us loud and clear. We shall now expand the confines of our message of hope to the rest of the country. We shall meet the people in the places where they feel pain and answer their needs for hope. At marketplaces, motor parks, town halls, board rooms, and university and college campuses, we all carry and deliver the message of a new Nigeria. As stake holders and elected Labour Party officials, we shall remain loyal to our manifesto. We will continue to canvas for good governance and focus on issues that promote national interest, unity, and cohesion. We will continue to give primacy to our Constitution, the rule of law, and the protection of ordered liberties. We 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.

“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.”


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