The Director of Media and Publicity for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Bayo Onanuga, has disclosed that the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, will be willing to engage the Labour Party standard bearer, Peter Obi, only if he has concrete evidence to prove he won Saturday’s presidential election.
The development is coming on the heels of Thursday’s press conference where Obi claimed that he was robbed of his mandate and he would seek legal approach to reclaim it.
An emotional Obi told newsmen that Tinubu cannot confidently tell the world that he won the poll when it was obvious that the exercise did not meet the criteria for a free and credible election.
Reacting in a statement titled ‘We will meet Mr Peter Obi in court,’ Onanuga stated that in an election where Obi emerged third, he found his allegation of fraud ‘very weird.’
He nevertheless stated that the LP candidate, like every Nigerian, is entitled to seek redress in court if he is convinced his team has evidence of the electoral frauds to present before the tribunal.
He said, “We welcome the decision of Mr. Obi to seek redress in court as an aggrieved party if he is convinced of the evidence of electoral frauds he will present before the tribunal as alleged.
“Going to court is part of the electoral process and it is the most decent, statesmanlike and civilised course of action to take. We salute the decision. It is surely better than calling supporters to the streets and instigating social unrest.
“Before Mr. Obi goes to court, we consider it necessary to challenge some specific claims in his press address. Contrary to his statement, it is not true that the election held on February 25 was not free and fair.”
According to him, the 2023 election is one of the most transparent and peaceful elections in the history of the country.
Continuing, the APC PCC media director noted that Obi’s Labour Party was able to record over six million votes because of the credible electoral process contrary to the pre-election forecast.
Onanuga stated that that the former Anambra governor and his party also surprised bookmakers by winning in strongholds such as Lagos, Nasarawa, Plateau, Delta and Edo States where there are sitting governors of the APC or PDP.
While stating that the affected governors have entrenched political machinery, the former Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria disclosed that Obi’s victory in those regions further attests to the credibility of the electoral process.
“In those states, most of the sitting governors contested election to go to the Senate and lost to little known candidates of Labour Party. The Labour Party also swept the entire five South East states under the control of APGA, PDP or APC.
“We believe that the Labour Party Presidential Candidate contradicted himself and exposed himself to public ridicule by suggesting that the election was only credible in states and places his party won. We need us to forewarn Mr. Obi, that when he gets to court he should be prepared to tell the world how his party won over 90% of votes in his region of South East while other parties got almost nothing. We have evidence of voters’ suppression, intimidation and harassment in the South-East, especially of those who came out to vote for our party.
“Also when Obi gets to court, he will have to convince the court with his allegation of rigging in over 40,000 polling units across the country especially in North West and North East where his party had no party agents and did not sign result sheets as required by law. It is our assumption that Labour Party will enlist the PDP agents to prove its fraud claims since it is an affiliate of PDP.
“We want to state again for the umpteenth time that Mr. Obi didn’t win the presidential election and could not have won under any circumstances. Obi anchored his presidential campaign on the failed strategy of ethnicity and religion, the divisive and dangerous politics that has hobbled the progress of our country for decades.
“His campaign also ran on the engine of ethnicity, inflaming strong Igbo sentiments. He also sought to cash in on the supposed youth discontent in Nigeria, as fuelled by the #ENDSARS protest in 2020. The lesson in Mr. Obi’s defeat in the election is that no politician in Nigeria can win a presidential race by being a sectional and an anointed candidate of any religion,” he said.