…seek Nigerians’ support
By Adekola Afolabi,
Jubril Bada &
President Bola Tinubu has welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict which upheld his electoral victory at the February 25 Presidential Election.
He also sought the buy-in of Nigerians, promising to exceed expectations in terms of service delivery in the remaining years of his administration.
The apex court upheld the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal affirming the victory of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party, Peter Obi, had filed petitions challenging the victory of President Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election announced by the INEC on March 1.
However, a five-man panel of the Tribunal led by Justice Haruna Tsammani in September 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 the PDP filed 86 grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court to nullify the judgment.
The apex court in its ruling dismissed the appeals by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi.
The court thrashed all the grounds of appeal of Atiku and PDP on qualification, non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the 25 per cent votes in FCT, and electoral malpractices.
Tinubu while reacting to his victory in a statement said: “With deep gratitude to God Almighty, I solemnly and humbly accept today’s judicial victory with an intense sense of responsibility and a burning desire to meet the great challenges confronting our people,” said the President in a personal statement he signed on Thursday.
The statement is titled ‘It is time for us to build our great nation together.’
In the statement, President Tinubu affirmed, “I welcome the verdict of the Justice John I. Okoro-led Panel of the Supreme Court on the Presidential Election petitions filed by the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party, challenging the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.”
Tinubu said the Supreme Court’s verdict consolidates Nigeria’s electoral jurisprudence and constitutional democracy, embedding them more indelibly in the national consciousness.
Tinubu assured Nigerians that his victory at the courts has further “energised and strengthened my commitment to continue to serve all Nigerians of all political persuasions, tribes, and faiths, with honour and total respect for the diverse opinions and uniting values of our citizens.”
The President argued that this moment demands that Nigerians continue to work and build the country together.
In a similar reaction, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Akeredolu particularly lauded the verdict, describing it as a triumph for democracy and a testament to the overwhelming support given to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Tinubu by the majority of voters.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, noted that the arduous 8-month legal journey has enriched the nation’s jurisprudence and deepened the democratic values.
“The Supreme Court’s decision has conclusively put an end to the long-standing legal dispute surrounding the 2023 Presidential Election, in which President Bola Tinubu emerged as the resounding winner.
“This judgment mirrors the collective will of the Nigerian people who voted overwhelmingly for the APC and President Tinubu, and it reinforces the confidence of the nation in our judiciary as the ultimate defender of the people’s interests.
“The extended legal process has further underscored the strength of our democracy. With the opposition exercising their constitutional rights, it is now time to unite with President Tinubu to build a new Nigeria.
“We firmly believe that Nigeria will continue to thrive under President Tinubu’s leadership. He is a dedicated, committed, and passionate leader whose unwavering motivation has always been the welfare of the Nigerian people,” the Governor stated.
He also called on political stakeholders to sheath their swords and allow the President to focus on delivering his “Renewed Hope” Agenda.
While extending his heartfelt congratulations to President Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shettima, Governor Akeredolu urged them to set aside distractions and concentrate on the task of rescuing the nation.
On his part, Nigeria’s former president, Muhammadu Buhari hailed the judgment of the Supreme Court that dismissed the petitions filed against President Bola Tinubu’s election.
Buhari said the judgment is 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.
Also, the lawmaker representing Ondo Central Senatorial District, Senator Adeniyi Adegbonmire congratulated President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the ruling of the Supreme Court.
Senator Adegbonmire in a statement said he received the news of the apex court’s verdict with excitement and great pleasure, pointing out that the unanimous decision of the seven-member panel of the highest court in the land has cleared any doubt about the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.
Chairman of Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Ade Adetimehin hailed the judgement.
He congratulated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his Vice, Kashim Shettima, the APC National Secretariat, led by Dr. Abdullahi Umar Gaduje, and all stakeholders of the ruling party over the victory.
The party chairman applauded the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission to the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
The party chieftain urged the president to put legal distractions behind, and concentrate on rebuilding the economy and welfare of Nigerians, in line with the renewed hope agenda.
The Arewa Youth Federation, AYF, has also lauded the judiciary over the Supreme Court judgement that upheld President Bola Tinubu’s election victory.
The group, through its President, Adamu Kabir Matazu, described the unanimous decision of the apex court as a victory for democracy.
The AYF equally saluted the courage of the apex court panel which it said delivered judgement on the two appeals, in record time.
Reacting to the Supreme Court Judgement, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said they were 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.
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.