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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Tinubu’s anarchy claim desperation to retain ‘stolen mandate’ — Peter Obi

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Peter Obi has poured cold water on Bola Tinubu’s final written address at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) as an attempt to blackmail the judiciary, citing the President’s threat of anarchy if his election is legally voided.

Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in his own final written address filed before the court, said he was alarmed when he heard the claim by Tinubu, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The address filed by Obi’s legal team, led by Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, described the submission by Tinubu and the APC, as “desperation taken too far.”

He added: “A sentence in the 2nd [Tinubu] and 3rd Respondent [Vice President Kashim Shettima’s ] address alarmed the Petitioners and millions of Nigerians.

“The 2nd and 3rd Respondents went too low and abandoned discretion when they claimed as follows: ‘Our submission is that the Petitioners are inviting anarchy by their ventilation of the issue of non-transmission of results electronically, by INEC.’

“This is a cheap, misguided, and destructive blackmail clearly intended to target the country’s judicialism and constitutionalism.

“It also aims at cannibalizing our democracy. It will also raise the issue of insecurity if the Petitioners emulate the bad example of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.

“However, that will never happen. When has it become offensive to canvass a ground prescribed for the challenge of an election in section 134(1) (b) of the Electoral Act 2022?

“Desperation taken too far can be extremely dangerous. Let the 2nd and 3rd Respondents know that where the rule of law is trampled upon or truncated, anarchy reigns supreme!”

Obi urged the PEPC, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, to uphold and grant all the reliefs he sought in the petition to remove Tinubu from office.

Whereas he called 13 witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence to prove his petition, Obi noted, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) called one witness, and Tinubu and the APC called only one witness.

Argument for Shettima’s disqualification

Prior to the presidential election, Obi told the court, Vice President Kashim Shettima had been nominated as an APC senatorial candidate for Borno Central, via reporting by Vanguard.

The petitioners insisted Shettima remained a senatorial candidate until 15 July 2022 when he withdrew his nomination.

“Whilst the 3rd Respondent was standing nominated as the Senatorial candidate as aforestated, he was unlawfully nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate of the 4th Respondent [APC] on 14th July 2022, thereby, knowingly allowed himself to be nominated as a candidate in more than one constituency within the meaning and intendment of Section 35 of the Electoral Act.

“The Petitioners will argue that the invalid nomination of the 3rd Respondent as the Vice Presidential candidate, nullified the nominated/election of the 2nd Respondent as the presidential candidate of the 4th Respondent, within the meaning of the provision of section 143 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”

Tinubu and narcotics case

On Tinubu’s alleged involvement in narcotics, Obi and the LP averred “it is common knowledge that the 2nd Respondent was a subject of an order of forfeiture made by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483.

“The order of forfeiture against the 2nd Respondent was in terms, forfeiting the sum of USD $460, 000 against him, Bola Tinubu, which represents ‘proceeds of narcotics trafficking’ and ‘money laundry’.

“The order for forfeiture against the 2nd Respondent was a fine within the meaning of Section 137(1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution for which a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of the President if he is under a sentence of fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud by whatever name called, imposed on him by a Court or Tribunal.

“The virus of the statutory and constitutional disqualification of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents as candidates in presidential election tenders their purported return/declaration as the winners of the election, invalid, null and void and liable to be set aside.”

The petitioners accused the INEC of deliberately refusing to electronically transmit results of the presidential election from polling units to the IReV portal, using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS)

They alleged the INEC eventually uploaded blurred results to its portal.

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