Former president Olusegun Obasanjo says only “evil minds” are opposed to the decision of Atiku Abubakar to challenge the outcome of the presidential election in court.
Atiku, who contested under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), has vowed to reclaim his “stolen mandate” from President Muhammadu Buhari who was declared winner in the March 23 election.
Speaking on the judgement of the Osun governorship tribunal, Obasanjo said Atiku is right to tread the same path.
He said if Buhari could, “even without a reasonable cause”, seek legal redress three times over his electoral losses, Atiku is well within his rights to approach the courts.
“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. At no time in history has sustainable peace been built on theft, injustice, corruption and inequity.”
On Friday, the tribunal declared Ademola Adeleke of the PDP as winner of the September 2018 election in the state.
In a statement on Saturday, Obasanjo said the verdict of the tribunal has renewed confidence in the judiciary.
“While I was in Dubai to attend the Global Education and Skills Forum meeting, I received the news of the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal declaring Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the winner of the 2018 Governorship election in the state,” Obasanjo said.
“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.
“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. 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.
“Let me also commend Sen. Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice. This is the right and proper thing to do in any decent society. Going to court must be encouraged and not discouraged as some people are now attempting to do.
“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.