The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has reacted to statements credited to the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi, saying it was unfortunate that he was casting aspersions on the judiciary, which gave him victory as governor of Anambra State.

Replying to Obi, Onanuga said the Presidency is at a loss as to how the copycat Obi and his faction of the Labour Party convinced themselves they won an election in which they came a distant third.

He advised that Obi and his party should come to terms with the Supreme Court judgement, start playing the role of the opposition and start preparing for another shot at the presidency in 2027.

According to the presidential aide, they are optimistic that by then he will campaign on issues and not whip up religious and ethnic sentiments as he did in the last campaign.
The presidential aide also said the grand delusion that made Obi believe he could have won a national election where he ran the most hateful, divisive, and polarising campaign that pitched Christians against Muslims and one ethnic group against the other in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like Nigeria should be a matter for deeper examination.

He accused Obi of addressing a press conference on Monday, where he tried, in vain, to gaslight Nigerians with false claims and innuendos, noting that he (Obi) contradicted himself.

Onanuga stated: “Here was a beneficiary of judicial pronouncements in the past now castigating the same court because its judgement did not go his way.

“Mr Obi claimed the Supreme Court justices didn’t consider public opinion in delivering what has been applauded as a most profound judgement in an election appeal where the Labour Party candidate presented the most watery and unreasonable petition before any court in the history of electoral cases in Nigeria.

“He made false allegations of rigging and other electoral malpractices yet could not produce any evidence to back up his claims at both the court of first instance and at the apex court. In a failed effort to mobilise and retain the support of his supporters, Obi gave them a forlorn hope that he won the election and would prove it before the courts. Throughout the trial, his lawyers didn’t present any alternative results different from the results INEC uploaded on the IReV portal and the ones signed by all party agents from the 176,000 polling units.

“We wonder how the Labour Party candidate expected the courts to do justice on the basis of rumours, lies, and false narratives by sponsored partisans and fanatical members of his Obidient Movement.

“We expected the Labour Party candidate to know that the Supreme Court or any other court does not give judgement based on public opinion and mob sentiments. Judicial pronouncements are based on evidence, precedents, and the rule of law.”

He added that, having admitted that the Supreme Court ruling brought an end to litigation and any challenge to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the validly elected leader of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Obi should have congratulated President Tinubu for his victory and pledged his support in the spirit of statesmanship.

Onanuga said again: “But instead, he brought up extraneous matters that he thought the apex court should have considered to declare him the winner. In our view, the drowning Obi, just like Atiku, was merely attempting to hold on to a straw in raking up new allegations, which exist only in his imagination and that of his hordes of supporters.

“Our admonition to Mr Peter Obi is to find another worthwhile vocation to engage his time henceforth, having been rejected by majority of Nigerians who didn’t consider him qualified to lead our country.

“Nigerians rejected Peter Obi and his demagoguery at the poll because he posed present and future danger to the peace, progress, and stability of our country.

“Obi’s antecedents as Governor of Anambra for eight years didn’t inspire any confidence as someone capable of running a country like Nigeria. No tangible record of achievement in the state he governed recommended him for the Presidency of Nigeria.

“If Mr Peter Obi truly believes in Nigeria, the time to prove it is now when all men and women of goodwill are rallying support for President Tinubu in his determination to lead a new era of prosperity, inclusive governance, and economic growth in Nigeria.

“Finally, we welcome Obi and his party to play the role of the opposition and start preparing for another shot at the presidency in 2027. We hope by then he would campaign on issues and not whip up religious and ethnic sentiments as he did in the last campaign.”

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