FOLLOWING the declaration of Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the Osun State governorship election by the state election petition tribunal, the former President Olusegun Obansanjo has commended the court for the courage in nullifying the Independent National Electoral commission already sworn-in candidate, Adegboyega Oyetola.
Obasanjo expressed this in a statement released on Saturday while in Dubai for a Global Education and Skills Forum meeting.
INEC had declared Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the election, but the tribunal, on Friday, ordered that the certificate of return issued to him should be withdrawn.
Thereby, the Election Petition Tribunal declared Adeleke of the PDP the winner of the September 2018 Governorship election in the state.
Obasanjo in his statement on Saturday lauded the court, adding that the result was a renewal of confidence in the judiciary of Nigeria.
“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,” part of the statement read
The elder statesman applauded Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice. This he said was a “right and proper thing to do in any decent society”.
Obasanjo added that filing a law suit needed to be encouraged, not discouraged in Nigeria.
“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,” wrote the former President.
“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.”
As the Saturday letter by Obasanjo was the first official statement made after the 2019 presidential election, Obasanjo has included his comment on the election.
He encouraged Atiku Abubakar of the PDP to proceed with the lawsuit filed against President Muhammadu Buhari who had received a certificate of return for another four years’ administration.
Atiku had written a petition to the presidential election tribunal to declare him the winner of the 2019 presidential election held on February 23, claiming that he polled the highest number of votes.
Many followers of the APC have mocked Atiku filing a law suit. But Obasanjo in his statement had tackled the people discouraging Atiku.
“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 noted.
“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.
“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.”
The former President said that court is part of the Nigerian democratic process which need to be used when necessary “if only to achieve justice, stability, unity and progress for our country.” So he added that any Nigerian who felt denied of justice should feel free to take a legal action.
“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,” said Obasanjo.