Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party says he has no issue with Bola Tinubu, the country’s president-elect, whom he said is his elder brother, but is challenging the process that produced him.
Obi who spoke in an interview with Arise TV on Monday, claimed that the presidential election was flawed.
He said the presidential election was one of the worst ever conducted in the country, while thanking his supporters for their steadfast and commitment.
“The election was the worst ever conducted in Nigeria because it has clear rules which were clearly violated,” he said.
“Just listen to what foreign people are saying and read reports and editorials of foreign newspapers, and international rating since the election and you will be ashamed. Nigeria can’t conduct a simple election with clear rules. India is the largest democracy with 900 million voters; almost 70% vote in India, but here, we have 25%. We will go through all the legal means to ensure the right thing is done.”
Asked whether he agrees with those who have contented that the outcome of the election is God’s plan for the country, Obi said, “Those saying the outcome of the election is God’s will don’t understand the issues. I respect our religious and traditional leaders, but I disagree with them.
“They are using God’s name in vain. They are only preaching Nigeria’s problems. Why are they not accepting all the other bad things in the country, such as poverty, money rituals, kidnapping etc. This is what’s killing the country. People steal government money and share it to people and we say it God’s will. What is the difference between an armed robber and the man who steals government money? God’s will is doing the right thing.”
Obi decried the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow his party to inspect election materials despite a subsisting court order.
” INEC is a public institution sustained by public funds. This is not the first time I am going to court against INEC, I know them and I know what to expect. If they abused the rules for the election so badly, how do we expect them to obey court order? We know what to do. I am not asking them to change the candidate they declared; we are only challenging the process of declaration. If they say the person they declared as winner actually won, show us how he won, simple. We have to stop this rascality, when rules are made, we must follow through. We must have access because they have declared somebody winner.”
Addressing allegations that the Labour Party also rigged the election, Obi said said the party couldn’t have rigged as it has no capacity to do so.
“I contested the election not to help anybody, but to change things. The person they declared did not win. Democracy is government of the people. To win, you must win the people, he didn’t. I don’t respond to people who are not presidential candidates. Reno (Omokri) raised issue of rigging because I got 92 percent in Anambra state. I have never asked anybody to add a vote for me or give anybody money to change results for me. Ask police, INEC, NYSC etc.
In fact, I’m even surprised that I didn’t get 100 percent there. Go out with me in Onitsha, where I live and see the reaction, I don’t need police. How many Igbo are in Lagos? Non Igbo voted for me more than Igbo. I don’t have the structure for rigging – no local government chairmen, commissioners, police, INEC etc.We want change the present system of rigging in election. I won over 60 percent in Rivers state.”
Obi said the Obidient Movement is a movement for a new Nigeria where things are done right.
” Nigerian politics is transactional, it is about sharing. The Obidient Movement is self driven and different. People did not believe us because there was nothing to share. Though, they movement and LP are working together, they are different. There are few states we don’t have candidates, the LP and Obidients can choose whoever they prefer.
“We want to support other candidates of good quality in such places, and LP and Obidiebts may differ. It is about having competent, credible and compassionate candidates, who can do well; it is not about LP. With time we will build a new politics that is based on capacity, character, competence and compassion.
Asked whether he has spoken to Tinubu, Obi said, “I have no issue with Tinubu, I respect him; I am only challenging the process of declaring him winner. We must follow the rule of law, as we want to build a good society.”
Addressing the introduction of ethnicity ahead of the governorship election, especially in Lagos, Obi said, “Ethnic strife is people trying to do something to confuse the people. I got votes from all tribes. In 2003, Obasanjo got over 90% votes in South East, despite Ikemba, a reverted Igbo running. Abiola had a lot of votes in South east when an Igbo was vice presidential candidate to Bashir Tofa. I am appealing to the people of Nigeria; it is this division that we are trying to remove.”
Obi who encouraged the people of Lagos to vote for Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivor, Labour Party’s governorship candidate in Lagos, dismissed suggestions that at 40, he lacks the experience to govern Lagos.
“We should stop the old from perpetuating the old ways of failure. If we retire professors, judges, bishops etc at 70, then we must do so in politics.
“I was at the same age with Rhodes-Vivor when I start contesting in 2001. I was about 39 years. They told me I didn’t have experience but we made things work in Anambra. The experience is the structure of criminality that we want to dismantle. Rhodes-Vivor will listen to the people & govern like a good leader.”
Addressing those who accused him of accepting national assembly results to produced some Labour Party candidates, but not the presidential election, Obi said the national assembly elections were transmitted from polling units in accordance with INEC guidelines, but the presidential election results were not.
“We will apply to protest and legal means to achieve our objective. Court has given order and we must be governed by rule of law. The greatest contributor to western economy is the intangible asset of rule of law. There was so much expectations in 2023, the world wanted things to change in Nigeria, but INEC took us backward; to the same old ways.
“There are things we need to do going forward to change the present situation. Nigeria can’t get better until we stick to rule of law, it is the most important requirement for prosperity, because it gives people confidence to trust in your system. We are committed to a new Nigeria and we hold retreat with our NASS people to teach them to be different and not join the present confusion. We accept the Senate and Reps results because they went through BVAS and IREV.”
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