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Nigerian govt accuses Labour Party’s presidential candidate, running mate of treason

Nigerian govt accuses Labour Party’s presidential candidate, running mate of treason

The Nigerian government Tuesday warned the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, against inciting people to violence over the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

The country’s minister of information, Lai Mohammed, gave the warning in Washington DC during his official engagements with some international media organisations.

The minister said it is treason for Obi and Datti to be threatening that if the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is sworn in on May 29, it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria.  But Obi and the Labour Party have since debunked the allegation.

Baba-Ahmed in an interview with Channels Television said Tinubu failed to fulfill the requirements stipulated in the section of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for election to the office of the president.

He said swearing in Tinubu as president is “ending democracy” and a clear violation of the constitution.

He then asked Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), not to participate in the swearing-in of Tinubu as president.

A few days ago, the Department of State Service (DSS) raised the alarm that some politicians were plotting to truncate the May 29 inauguration of Tinubu and enthrone an interim government.

The information minister who is in Washington to engage with international media organisations and think-tanks on the just concluded 2023 polls, such as Washington Post, Voice of America, Associated Press and Foreign Policy Magazine, said it was wrong for Obi on one breadth to seek redress in court over the outcome of the polls and on another breadth to incite people to violence.

“Obi and his Vice, Datti Ahmed cannot be threatening Nigerians that if the President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is sworn in on May 29, it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria. This is treason. You cannot be inviting insurrection, and this is what they are doing.

“Obi’s statement is that of a desperate person, he is not the democrat that he claimed to be. “A democrat should not believe in democracy only when he wins the election,” he said.

The minister said in challenging the election results, there was no pathway to victory for either Obi or Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the minister, neither Obi nor Atiku met the constitutional requirements to be declared as president.

“The constitution has stringent criteria for anybody who wants to be president of the country. “Not only must he have the plurality of vote cast in an election, he must also have scored one-quarter of votes cast in at least 25 states.

“Only the president-elect met the criteria by scoring 8.79 million votes and having one-quarter of all the votes cast in 29 states of the federation,” he said.

The minister said Atiku who came second with 6.9 million votes was only able to make one-quarter of the votes cast in 21 states.

He said Obi came third with 5.8 million votes but won only one-quarter of votes cast in 15 states.

“You cannot win an election in a poll where you came to a distant third position and failed to meet constitutional requirements.

“Peter Obi, while complaining of fraud, has not disowned his victory in Lagos,” he said.

Reacting in a series of tweets Tuesday, Obi said there were efforts to portray him in a bad light.

“In the past few days, I have observed various campaigns of calumny directed at my person, with the latest being allegations attributed to the information minister, Lai Mohammed from Washington DC.

“It is most unfortunate that these consistent efforts to portray me quite contrary to what I am and my core values, is coming from such high quarters. Minister Lai accusing me of stoking insurrection is totally malicious and fictitious.

“I have never discussed or encouraged anyone to undermine the Nigerian state; I have never sponsored or preached any action against the Nigerian state. Those initiating these actions have increasingly used their official positions and agents to make false allegations against me.

“I am on record as always, advocating for peace and issue-based campaigns and never campaigned based on ethnicity or religion. I am committed to due process, and presently seeking redress in the court.

“I urge those engaged in this demarketing process to stop presenting Nigeria in such a bad light. Our future generations deserve a new Nigeria, where they can live a secure and decent life like their counterparts in other climes. It is possible,” Obi said.


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