Breaking: Presidential Tribunal: Justice well served – Edeoga commends Nigerian judiciary

Ezema Thaddeus

Following yesterday’s judgment by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election, Chijioke Edeoga, the Labour Party candidate in the March 18, 2023 governorship election in Enugu State has commended the Nigerian judiciary, saying that the judgment of the tribunal is the true reflection of the will of the masses who trooped out en masse to decide the future of the country.

Speaking on Ogene Ndigbo radio program this morning, the Nsukka well-known politician cum lawyer maintained that though Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of his party made a lot of inroads in the past election, he had never anticipated that the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal delivered yesterday will be in Obi’s favor.

Edeoga maintained that as a politician with over 35 years of experience, adding to the massive knowledge he acquired in the field of media, he was able to differentiate between the organic crowd and Obi’s social media hype.

According to him, the deliberate and sustained effort of his party’s presidential candidate to use social media to exaggerate a particular subject in order to get audience attention or to make Nigerians behave in certain ways does not apply in a political clime like Nigeria, as the people he was contesting with knows the game very well and had gone ahead of him to do groundworks.

The Labour Party governorship candidate maintained that though he (Edeoga) set the social media space on fire during his campaigns, he equally concentrated more on forming cells in every society to enable him penetrate the people.

”What happens on social media is totally different from what we see in reality. Most of the candidates forgot that the majority of voters are those who do not operate on online platforms. Some of these youths that were shouting obidients do not have voter’s cards. Even those that have, the majority of them did not go out to vote in the last elections,” Edeoga asserted.

Responding to a question on how well his relationship with Peter Obi had faired during the electioneering campaigns, Edeoga disclosed that Peter Obi betrayed him during the period. According to him, it was Obi that masterminded the incident that took place at Kobb Event Centre at Shoprite in Enugu using his well-known surrogate and convener of the 40 Million Ballots Movement, the main precursor of the Obidient Movement, Comrade Kennedy Iyare who chaired the event, announcing to the bewilderment of his teeming supporters that the authentic candidate of the party in Enugu was Capt. Evarest Nnaji, a statement that sparked uproar in the hall.

He further accused Obi of conniving with Iyare and other top Labour Party national officials to influence the earlier judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja in Nnaji’s favour. He alleged that Aisha Yesufu was aware of the plan, hence her tweet to Peter Obi, ”God forbid that I become what I want to change”.

“Obi carried himself like a saint and tried avoiding me in public. All the public image of integrity we built was undermined by the way Obi avoided me like plague. Of course, we all saw how he raised the hand of Alex Otti at the Aba rally, and his wicked statement that Obidients should vote for competence and character in Enugu State instead of emphasizing my name, thus setting the Obidient family in confusion. Our brother and friend Peter Obi and other leaders of our party are nothing but traitors. They fought against us in the election.

”Of course, you saw him hugging, smilingly, congratulating and offering a seat to Peter Mbah at an event shortly after Mbah was declared a winner. Which presidential candidate of a party does that? It is not as though I am rejoicing that my party lost the battle to the All Progressive Congress (APC), but I am just telling you what had happened in the past between me, Obi, and some top officials of my party,” Edeoga said.

The Labour Party candidate, equally expressed optimism that he shall be pronounced the winner of the governorship election in Enugu State having called 30 witnesses unlike Obi who called witnesses that were never captured in his petition, but in an event where the tribunal fails to declare him the winner after exhausting every possible legal means, he would retire from politics and go into farming to contribute his quota in building the state’s economy.

Arguing further, Barr. Edeoga maintained that though a mistake made by his lawyers by not getting the correct code of the BVAS machines used in Nkanu East in the subpoena issued to the second respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could not grant them the access to examine the machines, he is still hoping on the oral testimonies given by all the witnesses he had called.

“One thing is certain in every battle, it is either you win or you lose. But if I lose up to the Supreme Court level, I shall retire from politics and go into farming. Isi-Uzo where I come from has a good arable land for agriculture. So, I am not desperate about politics and I am not ready to create any strained relationship with anyone. Though Obi betrayed me and my party in Enugu but I don’t hold it against him. I have forgiven and had moved on with my life. He is still a hero to someone of us and I hope he succeeds in the next general election”, Edeoga said.

He advised the aggrieved parties to accept the outcome of the tribunal with all philosophical equanimity or approach the superior court for redress if perceived that the judgement was wrongly given, expressing that in his opinion, the judges never erred in their judgement but decided the case in accordance with the stipulations of the law.

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