By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s opposition Labour Party leader Peter Obi on Monday criticised the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming President Bola Tinubu’s victory in February’s elections and vowed to continue to fight for a “New Nigeria”.
The country’s top court on Oct. 26 rejected an attempt to overturn the election result by the main opposition leader Atiku Abubakar and Obi, who came second and third in the vote, slamming the door on any legal challenge against Tinubu, who says he won fairly.
The Supreme Court judgment followed a pattern seen in previous presidential elections that have been challenged in court. None of the attempts to overturn results through the courts has been successful.
Speaking for the first time since the ruling, Obi, a former two-term governor who campaigned as an outsider, told reporters the judgment was a disappointment and contradicted overwhelming evidence of election rigging, false claims of technical glitches, and other irregularities.
He said the ruling was a “total breach of the confidence the Nigerian people have in our judiciary” and a “show of unreasonable force against the very Nigerian people from whom the power of the Constitution derives”.
Despite the setback, Obi vowed to remain in the opposition and continue fighting for a “New Nigeria”, pledging to remain committed to good governance to ensure the country was led away from what he called its current waste and consumption orientation to a production-driven economy.
“We will offer the checks and balances required in a functional democracy and vie robustly in forthcoming elections to elect those who share our vision of a new Nigeria,” Obi said.
Obi’s supporters, known as the “Obidients”, have been vocal in their criticism of the Supreme Court ruling. They have accused the court of being biased and of protecting the interests of the ruling party.
Obi’s rejection of the Supreme Court ruling is likely to resonate with his supporters, mostly young Nigerians who were attracted by his message of hope and change and see him as a break from the old guard.
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)