Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has reached out to his supporters to stay steadfast in the face of the setback to their legal challenge of the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 Nigerian presidential election.
On Wednesday 6 September, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) threw out Mr Obi’s petition alongside that of other opposition candidates, describing them as “frivolous and ridiculous” and upholding the declaration of Tinubu as duly elected.
The 700-page verdict of the 5-man panel of judges of the election court came to opposition supporters as a rude shock in the light of their evidences to support their allegations of mass rigging, manipulations of the process and non-compliance with regulatory provisions in the way the election was conducted by the umpire – INEC.
But Obi on Saturday morning 9 September, in an emotion-laden speech, told his supporters that their collective dreams and aspirations of a new Nigeria “has only been deferred for now but remains alive for all times“.
The billionaire businessman and former governor of Anambra State, told the “Obidients” – the self-styled description of his supporters comprising mostly of youths and Nigeria’s diaspora – that, “Today, I want to personally reach out and encourage you all to keep hope alive. Considering the challenges that lie ahead of us as a movement, despair is not an option. Nothing good in life comes easy. Throughout history, positive changes come only with sacrifices, perseverance, resilience and fluctuating fortunes.”.
He said he knew and warned his supporters that the attempt at “rescuing Nigeria is a lifelong commitment” which was never “a short sprint, but a long and tough marathon. It was always going to be difficult, painful and excruciating”.
“We set out knowing fully well that the forces we are up against are entrenched and formidable but not insurmountable. They would resist the wind of change and try to push us into surrender or despair. We must not succumb to their design”.
“I assure you that we shall persist with even greater determination and zeal until we get to our destination. Nigeria must belong to all Nigerians and not to a select few”.
Obi has ordered his lawyers to mount an appeal at the Supreme Court, whose decisions are constitutionally binding and final.
The court will have 60 days to make a final verdict.
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