Nigeria: Peter Obi, Atiku's Lawyers React to Supreme Court Judgement

Abubakar Atiku, 2019 presidential candidate for PDP and President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC
30 October 2019

Peter Obi, the running mate to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 polls, on Wednesday reacted to the Supreme Court judgment that dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Mr Abubakar.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the apex court dismissed the appeal by the petitioners.

A seven-member panel of judges unanimously gave the decision but announced that the reason for the dismissal would be announced later.

In his reaction, Mr Obi thanked all Nigerians who had followed the election and voted.

He also thanked them for the court process.

The former Anambra governor said their reason for coming to court was that they believed "the result was not the result of lawful votes, but the process had come to the end".

"I thank all those that were involved, the lawyers, the judges, all of you (journalists).

"This election and the judgment is not about President Buhari or his Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. It is about the future of the country and what we are going to bequeathe our children," Mr Obi said.

Also, Mr Abubakar's lead lawyer, Levy Uzoukwu, also reacted.

"No reason has been given and we have done our best, our clients have done their best. The rest is for Nigerians.

"But let me say this that, unless something drastic is done to electoral jurisprudence in this country, there would be a problem because it is now becoming obvious that petitioners would always find it difficult to prosecute their cases.

"But all said, until they (Supreme Court) give their reason, we take it up from there," he said.

Another lawyer, who represented the petitioners, Mike Ozhekhome, said he thinks "the strategy for the short judgement without reasons is to prevent unnecessary tension gripping the country once more like during elections."

"At least today, the baby has been delivered, not aborted even if the baby is malfunctioned. It is not the issue but the thing is the baby has been delivered but what manner of baby it is, what ingredients make up the being of the baby, we do not know yet.

"Those are the reasons the apex court said they will tell Nigerians and the world for dismissing this appeal as lacking in merit, we cannot say more than this because we have not heard the reasons," he added.

Mr Ozhekhome said, "as far as they are concerned, they have done the best they could under the strangulating regime of electoral jurisprudence".

This according to the lawyer does not only place an undue burden on the petitioners but also "timelines and the period in which such burden must be discharged."

"With the Supreme Court saying that the timeline provided in the Constitution is like the rock of Gibraltar, that cannot be moved, so you are being beaten, your hands are tied to the back and you are not even allowed to cry.

"As Levy Uzoukwu said, something drastic has to be done about our electoral laws and the electoral jurisprudence, so as to cleanse the stable and make people believe that when they vote, their votes would not only be counted but that such votes must also count."

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