President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, disclosed that he was so excited by the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which affirmed his election, that he could not sleep on Wednesday night.
Tinubu told his audience in India, where he was attending meetings on the sidelines of the G20, that Wednesday night was “a night of great expectations”.
He said he was “waiting anxiously to see if my job was secured or not”.
“So, from that, out of the excitement of the victory, I couldn’t sleep,” he added.
The president, who apologised for attending the meeting late, said, “When I looked at the time and the time difference between Nigeria and India is another problem. Then, my phone won’t stop ringing until I switched off very late afternoon.
“So, it was a very challenging day after; that was a hangover that I enjoyed and hope we all appreciate why we are starting late. Please forgive us.”
Addressing the audience of prospective investors, Tinubu said, “We are here not to talk politics, but to present a future to you. The future of a country that is so rich, endowed, highly populated, very dynamic and unique in its culture. We are unique in our tradition, unique in our ethnicity, a country that we are determined to make its prosperity possible if only we use that God-given diversity for the prosperity of Nigerians.
“And we are sure to do that. That is what I am standing here to assure you. We are not in doubt; we can do it. And you heard the names of people that I mentioned, many of them are here in their private jets.”
Meanwhile, more and more Nigerians from different walks of life continued to react to Wednesday’s ruling by PEPT, which affirmed Tinubu’s victory, with a majority of them commending the decision of the court.
A pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, congratulated President Bola Tinubu on his victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).
National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Jare Ajayi, in a statement, quoted Leader of Afenifere Worldwide, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, as expressing delight at the victory of Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima at the tribunal.
Afenifere stated that the judgement, which further validated the electoral victory of February 25, should be seen not only as an indication of growing democracy in the country, but also a challenge to the present administration to actualise various promises contained in the Renewed Hope manifesto presented to Nigerians in 2022 and 2023.
The statement quoted Fasoranti as saying, “As I indicated in my congratulatory message, when you, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was declared winner of this year’s presidential election, your victory raises a lot of hope and you cannot afford to fail Nigerians.
“Incidentally, your manifesto on how to reset Nigeria resonates with my vision for having a Nigeria of which we all would be proud – as I mentioned to you on the two occasions you visited me last year in Akure. Going by the steps you have taken so far, I believe that you are setting the country on a sound footing for progress.”
The Afenifere leader was, however, quick to add that the pains occasioned by the withdrawal of fuel subsidy should be smoothened as quickly as possible so that Nigerians could begin to enjoy life more abundant and good welfare that they deserve.
Ailing Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, yesterday, congratulated President Bola Tinubu on the verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT), describing it as a revalidation of the people’s mandate and the renewed hope agenda of the administration.
Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said, “This judgement has again deepened our nation’s jurisprudence and solidified our commitment to democratic values.
“As true democrats, we must embrace the tents of democracy, which also encompass post-election litigations. Our struggle for service must also fuel our reverence for democratic values. The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has dispensed Justice. Now is the time to come together and build our nation.
“The renewed hope drive of President Tinubu is anchored on assurance of a paradigm shift. The result of the February 25 presidential poll, upheld by the tribunal, represents the will of majority of Nigerians, who voted massively for the APC.
“Our judiciary has again lived up to expectations. It has reaffirmed our belief that it remains the last hope of the masses. We must collectively commend the pivotal role our judiciary has played in enriching our democracy and upholding justice.
“Notwithstanding our days in court, we urge the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party candidate, Mr Peter Obi, to sheath their swords and join hands with the president to develop the country.”
Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji congratulated President Bola Tinubu on his victory at the Presidential Election Petition Court, which upheld his February 25 election, saying the verdict has confirmed Tinubu as the choice of the majority of Nigerians.
Likewise, Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, hailed the judiciary for upholding the rule of law over emotions by affirming Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, Oyebanji described the judgement as “solid and detailed” and “a judicial sustenance of the mandate given to the clear winner of the presidential poll.”
The governor hailed the judiciary for upholding the truth, stressing that the judicial affirmation of Tinubu’s election has confirmed the choice of the majority of Nigerians, who elected the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard bearer as president of the country.
He said the verdict had laid every doubt on the validity and authenticity of the presidential result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rest and served as a proof that democracy and the rule of law were becoming rooted in Nigeria.
In a statement, Bamidele appealed to the petitioners to accept the outcome of the tribunal and join hands with Tinubu to deliver “Renewed Hope Agenda” to Nigerians. He said, “Politics is over; it is now time for governance.
“I commend the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) for upholding the rule of law over emotions. The verdict of the justices has once again reaffirmed that Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during February 25, presidential election.
“I also congratulate President Tinubu over affirmation of his victory by the tribunal. In the interest of our beloved country, I, therefore, urge the petitioners to join hands with Tinubu’s administration to deliver his ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ to Nigerians. Politics is over, it is now time for governance.”
AKPABIO, OTHER SENATORS
Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, as well as Senators Ahmad Lawan, Solomon Adeola, and Sani Musa, lauded the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
The senators gave the commendation in separate statements yesterday in Abuja.
Akpabio described the verdict as an affirmation of the popular mandate of the Nigerian people for the Tinubu/Shettima ticket of APC, as delivered at the polls in February.
He congratulated the president and the vice president on the resounding affirmation of their popular mandate by the judgement of the court.
Akpabio noted that the court painstakingly evaluated all the issues raised by the petitioners and delivered a clear verdict on the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral process.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Adeola, said the victory signalled a renewed hope for the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy.
He said it had shown that the wishes of the people in exercising their constitutional rights of voting were not undermined in the judiciary by subterfuges of some power mongers for selfish personal ambitions.
The immediate past senate president, Lawan, explained that Tinubu and Shettima’s victory had restored the confidence of Nigerians in the nation’s electoral processes and the judiciary.
He commended the PEPC for its impartial and unbiased posture in examining petitions brought before it.
Sani, who chaired the Senate Committee on Finance, commended the panel for its resolute and firm posture in ensuring that its judgement was guided by the facts available before the court, as against unsubstantiated claims.
He said, “The PEPC judgement has sent a clear message to politicians that the judiciary understands its limit and refuses to be an arbiter on matters within the jurisdiction of political parties.”
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, expressed joy over the judgement by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), which affirmed Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election.
In a press release by Director-General, Press Affairs, Government House, Ismaila Uba Misilli, Yahaya, who is also Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum, described the judgement as a victory for democracy and truth, and a momentous affirmation of the Nigerian people’s trust in Tinubu’s leadership.
“This victory is a testament to the strength of our democracy, the resilience of our institutions, and the belief of our people in a brighter future,” Yahaya stated.
He applauded PEPC’s dismissal of the consolidated petitions presented by the Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, and Allied People’s Movement, along with their presidential candidates, describing the decision as a reinforcement of the people’s will and the transparency of Nigeria’s electoral system.
The governor also congratulated the APC family and hailed the legal team that represented the president and the party.
Niger State Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Umaru Bago, congratulated President Bola Tinubu, the vice president, Senator Kashim Shettima, and APC on their victory at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Wednesday.
Bago also rejoiced with the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator Sani Musa, over his victory at the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, also on Wednesday
In a statement by his by Chief Press Secretary, Bologi Ibrahim, Bago described the victories as, “victories for democracy in Nigeria and other democratic countries in Africa.”
He added that it was also a testament that Nigerians and the people of Niger East Senatorial zone voted for Tinubu, Shettima, Senator Sani Musa, APC.
Bago told the winners to be magnanimous in victory and also remain focused on the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda policy of the administration
“Congratulations to our great party, the APC. It is now time for more service to the people without distractions because Nigerians deserve good governance,” he said.
Kwara State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said the recent unanimous decision of the court, upholding the election of Tinubu and APC reflected the wishes of the largest majority of the eligible voters in the country.
AbdulRazaq said, “The judgement is a triumph of truth.”
A statement issued in Ilorin yesterday by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, commended the Court of Appeal/PEPT for standing strictly with the constitution, and not succumbing to threats and intimidation anchored on fact-free claims of electoral malpractice.
“The judgement attests to the credibility of the ballot and the fact that the outcome reflects the wishes of the largest majority of the eligible voters,” he said.
The governor, who was with Tinubu on his official visit to India, added, “In the final analysis, our democracy has been enriched and the right of Nigerians to freely elect leaders of their choice equally upheld, as all issues were clinically examined and resolved in line with all relevant laws. The judgement is a triumph of truth.
“We have no doubt that this decision of the PEPT will strengthen the resolve of the president to continue to deliver on his campaign promises to the good people of Nigeria. We promise to continue to work with Mr. President and his great team in the task of building a stronger economy, a safer nation, and a happier people.”
An advocacy group, Access to Justice (A2Justice), described the judgement of the Presidential Elections Presidential Tribunal (PEPT) as disappointing, and capable of damaging efforts to ensure that elections in Nigeria were better conducted and produced credible and fair outcomes.
A statement signed by A2J Executive Director, Joseph Otteh, stated that the PEPT had dashed hopes for a better Nigeria.
The group noted that the PEPT simply “buried its head in the sand”, using legal technicalities to defeat public expectations.
The group stated, “PEPT Judgement Disappointing, Retrogressive, and Derails Hope for Credible Elections in Nigeria.”
It said, “The Presidential Elections Presidential Tribunal (PEPT) judgement rendered today, (6th of Sept 2023), is hugely disappointing and will damage efforts to ensure that, going forward, elections in Nigeria are better conducted and produce credible and fair outcomes.
“We take no position on whether the candidate whose election was challenged was legally qualified to contest for the office of President of Nigeria. We note only that the PEPT simply ‘buried its head in the sand,’ using exponential levels of legal technicalities to defeat public expectations that it would actually conduct a credible interrogation of the February 25 presidential election process.
“The judgement has very little to commend it and it is shorn of important contexts, which ought to have informed its perspective. It does not take account of Nigeria’s chequered history of badly run elections, vote manipulations and fraudulently contrived results; it did not factor in the long struggles to reform the electoral process, and the reforms adopted to reduce electoral fraud – and how BVAS and IREV played into that strategy.”
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) criticised the Wednesday judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which affirmed the victory of Tinubu.
HURIWA considered the ruling as a clear miscarriage of justice.
In a statement by National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group emphasised the importance of respecting the hierarchy of legal decisions, where higher courts’ judgements, especially those of the Supreme Court, should serve as binding precedent for lower courts.
It expressed bewilderment at the PEPT, a lower court, daring to challenge or undermine a well-established Supreme Court ruling, particularly regarding the interpretation of Section 134(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution.
HURIWA stated that the constitution imposed a challenging requirement on presidential candidates, demanding not only a majority of votes but also at least one-quarter (25%) of all votes cast in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). HURIWA cited the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the constitution as emphasising the need for precision and strict adherence to established legal principles.
Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale, Sunday Aborisade in Abuja, Hammed Shittu in Ilorin, Segun Awofadeji in Gombe, Fidelis David in Akure, Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti, Laleye Dipo in Minna, Wale Igbintade in Lagos