Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has announced his decision to challenge the judgment delivered by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Wednesday.
The tribunal which sat at the Court of Appeal complex in Abuja had in its 12-hour marathon judgment on the three petitions filed by Obi of the Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), ruled in favour of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The five-man panel of the tribunal led by Justice Haruna Tsammani upheld the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Reacting to the judgment, Obi in a press conference on Thursday in Onitsha, Anambra State said he will not relent in the quest for justice and would pursue the case to a logical conclusion at the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter.
Obi disclosed that his legal team has been instructed to file an appeal against the judgment at the apex court and urged his supporters and Nigerians, in general, to remain focused, peaceful, and law-abiding. He said the quest for justice is not solely for himself but that of his supporters who gave their mandates to them at the polls.
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He said: “Yesterday, 6 September 2023, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) finally delivered its long-awaited judgments on the Petitions challenging the outcome of the presidential election held on 25 February 2023. This judgment was delivered within the statutory time frame under the extant statutes. We acknowledge the Court’s contributions to due process and the seeming attempt to strengthen our democracy.
“As petitioners in this case, we respect the views and rulings of the Court, but we disagree with the Court’s reasoning and conclusions in the judgment it delivered. It is my intention as a presidential candidate and the intention of the Labour Party to challenge this judgment by way of appeal immediately, as allowed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The PEPC has rendered its judgment, but that esteemed body is not the final arbiter. The responsibility now falls on the Supreme Court. I do know that judgment is not coterminous with justice. I implore Nigerians to remain focused, steadfast, and peaceful; abide by the rule of law, and understand that this matter has not reached its logical conclusion.
“Our legal team has already received our firm instruction to file an appeal against the decision. I shall not relent in the quest for justice, not necessarily for myself but indeed for our teeming supporters all over the country whose mandate to us at the polls was regrettably truncated by INEC.”
Continuing, the former Anambra State governor pointed out that the strength and value of democracy lies in national institutions and that electoral litigations are needless if an institution like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) performs its functions fairly, transparently and creditably that all citizens can see and believe.
“The strength and value of our democracy reside in solid national institutions and our confidence in them. Electoral litigations will be almost unnecessary and nonexistent if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) discharges its statutory functions creditably, transparently, and with discernible fairness. When that body fails, as it did recently, thus subverting the will of Nigerian voters, the recourse to the judiciary becomes imperative, as is now the case.
“I thank every Nigerian who has supported our cause and campaign for a New Nigeria characterized by fairness, equity, justice, the rule of law, peace, prosperity, inclusiveness, sustainable growth, and development. A New Nigeria is possible and achievable. I especially thank our legal team, the Labour Party and Obidient Family, and all those who showed up daily during the court trials. God bless you all, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Labour Party had on Wednesday, rejected the tribunal judgment, stating that justice was not served.
In a statement issued by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, it said the ruling “did not reflect the law and the desire of the people.”
The statement said democracy is at stake in Nigeria and that they would not relent until the will of the people prevail.