Obasanjo speaks on Adeleke’s win; tackles groups opposing Atiku’s lawsuit

Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has hailed the declaration by an election tribunal, of Ademola Adeleke as the governor-elect of Osun State, saying INEC’s earlier ruling against him was a “desperate attempt to change the will of the Osun people”.

Mr Obasanjo also condemned those urging Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in last month’s presidential election, not to go to court. He said such calls were coming from the “enemies of Nigeria” and those seeking to intimidate Nigerians by threatening violence.

Mr Abubakar has rejected the outcome of the February 23 polls, alleging fraud and rigging in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari. He has asked the court to overturn the result and declare him president-elect, defying calls to concede defeat.

While such calls have publicly come from mostly Mr Buhari’s supporters, some groups have suggested a potential legal victory for Mr Abubakar could trigger unrest. Those groups have therefore argued a preference for a stable Nigeria at the cost of any merit Mr Abubakar’s claim may have.

In his first public comments on the election, Mr Obasanjo, who backed Mr Abubakar for the top job, attacked such suggestions coming from those who “call themselves our development partners and friends”. He deplored “sacrificing justice on the altar of so-called stability are enemies of justice, democracy and Nigeria.”

“Those who have conceived and are promoting the narrative that if Atiku Abubakar continues to seek legal redress there will be violence, are evil minds looking for excuse to unleash violence on Nigerians,” he said.

“At no time in history has sustainable peace been built on theft, injustice, corruption and inequity. These merchants of chaos and violence should have no place in any decent society. And they must know that no intimidation or prophesy of violence and doomsday will cow anybody.”

He took a swipe at Mr Buhari who thrice challenged the results of elections he contested in the past.

Read the full statement:

STATEMENT BY H.E OLUSEGUN OBASANJO ON THE JUDGEMENT

OF THE OSUN GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL

DUBAI – 23 March 2019

While I was in Dubai to attend the Global Education and Skills Forum meeting, I received the news of the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal declaring Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the winner of the 2018 Governorship election in the state.

Let me take this opportunity to commend the tribunal for its courage in nullifying what was clearly an illegality. This action by the judicial officers, albeit a first step in the legal process, gives renewed confidence in the judiciary at a time when there are coordinated efforts by some political leaders to undermine, if not destroy, it.

As I have repeatedly said, the world is watching events in Nigeria with keen interest. What we do or do not do right in our electoral process will have implications not just for Nigeria but for Africa and indeed the world. By correcting what was clearly a desperate attempt to change the will of the Osun people, the tribunal has saved Nigeria from great embarrassment and started the process of saving and strengthening our democracy.

Let me also commend Sen. Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice. This is the right and proper thing to do in any decent society. Going to court must be encouraged and not discouraged as some people are now attempting to do.

While I have refrained from commenting on the 2019 elections because one of the parties has gone to court, may I point out that those who call themselves our development partners and friends and preach sacrificing justice on the altar of so-called stability are enemies of justice, democracy and Nigeria. We will continue to sustain Nigeria in stability and unity on the altar of justice, equity, fairness, freedom, human rights and democracy. Stability cannot be successfully built on injustice, corruption, inequity, and divided nation, and incompetence, nepotism and one-sidedness.

Nigeria will march forward with or without those who will want to feed us with diet of values and actions that are not acceptable in their own countries. Nigeria is of age. And if Buhari could go to court three times to seek justice, even without reasonable cause, any Nigerian who feels denied of justice must feel free to go to court.

Those who have conceived and are promoting the narrative that if Atiku Abubakar continues to seek legal redress there will be violence, are evil minds looking for excuse to unleash violence on Nigerians. At no time in history has sustainable peace been built on theft, injustice, corruption and inequity. These merchants of chaos and violence should have no place in any decent society. And they must know that no intimidation or prophesy of violence and doomsday will cow anybody. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians. We will respect as friends those who believe that what is good for their country should be good for Nigeria. Yes, we are Africans but we have values that are consistent with international standards. Court is part of our democratic process and it must be used when necessary if only to achieve justice, stability, unity and progress for our country.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

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