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JUST IN: President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s supreme court victory: Afenifere, Arewa, Southern, Middle Belt leaders table demands

As congratulatory messages to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over last Thursday’s Supreme Court judgment, which affirmed his victory at the 2023 presidential election continued to pour in yesterday, leaders of ethnic nationalities in the country have charged the President to focus on governance henceforth and ensure that his administration changes the fortunes of the country within the next three and a half years.

This was even as some of the leaders expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court judgment, which dismissed the appeals filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi, saying it was based on technicalities and an embarrassment to the country.

Among those who sent congratulatory messages to the President yesterday were former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Adams Oshiomhole; former Director General of the NBC and member, defunct APC Presidential Inauguration Council, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako; senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District (APC), Dr. Idiat Adebule; Minister of Niger Delta Development, Abubakar Momoh; Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris; foremost presidential campaign group of the APC, the BAT Ambassadors; the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and the Oyo State chapter of the APC, among others.

National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, while applauding the Supreme Court for affirming Tinubu’s victory, said the President should focus more on security. He said: “It is a matter of concern that insecurity is still being experienced. This can be seen in the upsurge in banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen attack on farmers, cultism and even terrorism.

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“To put all these under control, the aspects of the law regarding policing in Nigeria should be looked into. At the moment, the extant law centralises the Nigerian Police. Doctrine of necessity should be invoked to allow states and local councils to establish police services. The police at that level must be vested with all the powers that a police outfit should have in terms of equipment, emoluments, training and so on. Modern technology must be procured and deployed. Indigenes or residents of the given area are those who would make up the personnel of the police services at state and local government levels.

“In view of the trauma being experienced by our children who are participating in the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Afenifere is restating its longstanding advocacy for corps members to be allowed to serve within their states if not within their respective localities,” the pan Yoruba group said.

Afenifere went further to call for a drastic cut in the emoluments and perquisites of political office-holders. It added that in view of the pivotal roles that food and mobility play, highly subsidised vehicles should be provided for transport unions across the country to cut down costs of transportation.

It stated that members of the transport unions should be allowed to purchase the vehicles and pay in installments. The group also called for creation of an atmosphere for youths to be gainfully engaged through the reactivation of moribund factories and establishment of agric-based settlements with all necessary facilities.

“To tackle the problem of food shortage, the following is suggested: Establishment of commodity boards that will purchase products from farmers profitably. The products are to be sold to food merchants who must sell to the public at prescribed prices that are people-friendly. This goes in line with President Tinubu’s submission in September when he said that ‘democracy without food on the table is a breeding ground for what will consume us, if care is not taken’.”

The pan-Yoruba organisation said that now that the distractions, which electoral trials have constituted, are over, Tinubu “is now on a firmer ground to execute noble ideas contained in his Renewed Hope Agenda so as to make life more abundant for Nigerians.”

Former spokesman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Elder Anthony Sani, while saying the country has been relieved of tension that followed the legal battle between Tinubu, Atiku and Obi, urged the gladiators to close ranks in the interest of Nigeria.

He said: “It was President Abraham Lincoln who said on his inauguration that it is the right of every citizen of a country to vote for whom he or she considers as the best for the nation. But when the results of the elections are announced, the aggrieved have the right to approach the courts with their concerns for adjudication. And when the verdicts are passed, all the citizens are expected to come together and unleash their synergistic potential against collective challenges until the next round of campaigns and elections when they would go back to the trenches.

“This is because no nation thrives in the victory of its faction but through ultimate reconciliation. Victory and defeat are never final.” On its part, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) called for an immediate restructuring of the country and enthronement of true federalism as was originally entrenched in the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions, stressing that without restructuring, the future of Nigeria remains bleak.

The leaders, in a communique issued at the end of a critical meeting, yesterday, chaired by Chief Edwin Clark, which also had Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere leader); Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide); Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President (Middle Belt Forum) and Senator Emmanuel Ibok-Essien (National Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum) in attendance, rejected the trend where certain sections of the country were continually marginalised in the number of states, local councils and even appointments into the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

They particularly requested that the Southeast should be appropriately represented on the FEC like other geo-political zones, insisting that Nigeria must always remain a country where all citizens and sections enjoy a full sense of belonging and equality.

The leaders noted that the Supreme Court judgment on the 2023 presidential election has brought to an end the legal processes on the conduct and outcome of the election. They commended the political class, especially the other leading presidential candidates in the election, Atiku and Obi, for their recourse to constitutional means in redressing their grievances.

“We will, in the coming days, make a substantial pronouncement on the development,” they added. Part of the communique read: “SMBLF urges that efforts be redoubled to assuage the daily depreciating living standard of Nigerians.

“SMBLF calls on the Federal Government to urgently salvage the naira, which continues to depreciate daily; advises that the Federal Government should take urgent steps to release Nnamdi Kanu since a court of competent jurisdiction has ordered so. We believe that doing so will promote peace and security in the South East.

“That the Federal Capital Territory remains the national patrimony of all Nigerians; thus, condemns the present efforts by some to arrogate exclusiveness. This must be rejected and the promoters of such views should be called to order.

“Insists that President Tinubu takes an urgent look at the 2014 National Conference Report, concluded by 494 of the country’s leaders, as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Report on True Federalism.

“The meeting resolved to set up a Strategic Committee on Restructuring and expressed readiness to interface with the Federal Government, the National Assembly and all other stakeholders, on the enunciated issues.”

Reacting to last Thursday’s judgment, Senator Oshiomhole commended the justices of Supreme Court for their courageous, meticulous and judicious handling of all the issues raised in the petitions brought before them for final adjudication.

In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Victor Oshioke, Oshiomhole expressed his enthusiastic approval of the Supreme Court’s judgment, which affirmed President Tinubu’s victory.

He noted that the judgment has decisively resolved any doubts, both within and outside the country, regarding the legitimacy of the electoral umpire’s declaration of President Tinubu as the rightful winner of the presidential election.

Oshiomhole urged all the presidential candidates, especially Atiku and Obi, who had pursued legal actions to now rally their supporters, both at home and abroad, in support of President Tinubu and his government so that the nation can progress. He added: “There is no doubt that President Tinubu has Nigeria’s best interests at heart. He possesses the capacity, experience, will and courage to implement policies and take actions that will restore Nigeria to its former greatness.”

Bako, while congratulating the President, noted that his political sagacity earned him the victory.

“The inevitably of the election outcome was never in doubt at anytime. It is instructive to note that all through the duration of the legal misadventures by the opposition they could not fault or counteract the huge electoral figures of the North West, North East and South West or even sniff at providing tangible evidence of rigging, manipulation or electoral fraud. Asiwaju did not only do his homework well; the strategy applied, the composition of the campaign council, the choice of state pointsmen and the adequate deployment of men and materials were unrivalled leaving the opposition breathless. The presidential election results at INEC level, Tribunal level and now Supreme Court level could not have gone any other way but victory for Asiwaju. Congratulations Mr. President,” he said.

The senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District (APC), Idiat Adebule, also congratulated the President and the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on their victory at the Supreme Court.

Adebule also felicitated the First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu; wife of the Vice President, Hajia Nana Shettima and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the victory.

The former Lagos State Deputy Governor said the judgment has shown that President Tinubu’s victory in the February presidential election was not a fluke.

“Going by what happened at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, we were not surprised at the outcome at the Supreme Court. There was no doubt that Mr. President won the election, and he is eminently qualified to run for the oval office,” she said.She hailed the judiciary for upholding the tenets of democracy by delivering a sound judgment in line with the constitution.

On his part, Minister of Niger Delta Development, Abubakar Momoh, said dismissal of the appeals by Atiku and Obi by the Supreme Court paved way for Tinubu to deliver the benefits of democracy to all Nigerians. Momoh, in a statement personally signed by him, said the judgment definitively settles the legal disputes surrounding the 2023 presidential election.

He called on the people of Niger Delta and all Nigerians to join hands and support Tinubu’s administration in its mission to bring prosperity and progress to the nation.

“I commend the President for his leadership thus far and also applaud Nigerians for upholding the rule of law throughout this process. “I trust that our ruling party, the APC, will continue to embrace inclusivity and magnanimity in governance under the leadership of Mr. President,” he added.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, has also congratulated the President, describing as significant the ruling by the Supreme Court that upheld his election. 0

Briefing journalists in Abuja, yesterday, the minister commended the judiciary for rising up to the occasion in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate as the final arbiters of electoral proceedings in the country.

Idris noted that the legal contest regarding the outcome of the 2023 presidential election “is now behind us and it is time for everyone to come together and move forward, into a season of governing that is without distraction.” He added: “Courts have spoken and the President and the ruling party, the APC have welcomed this judicial victory as pronounced. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made it clear that he will be a President for all Nigerians, regardless of regional, ethnic, partisan or religious affiliations. These are indeed challenging economic times, not just for Nigeria, but also for many countries around the world, and all hands must be on deck to tackle the challenges confronting us.”

The foremost presidential campaign group of the APC, the BAT Ambassadors, has also congratulated the President over the Supreme Court ruling that upheld his election.

The group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Chief Jamiu Ekungba, said the judgment was “a further affirmation of the mandate freely given Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the February 25, 2023, presidential election by Nigerians.”

The group noted that it remains proud to be part of the process that ensured the victory of Tinubu at the election. It urged the opposition to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court and join hands with the President to move the nation forward.

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has also congratulated President Tinubu, saying that the Supreme Court ruling has ended months of legal battle over the 2023 presidential race.

The CNPP, in a statement signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, James Ezema, said that although many people may disagree with the Supreme Court verdict, what remains is to appeal to God Almighty. He said: “Not a few political watchers and legal pundits had believed that 25 per cent votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was mandatory for a presidential candidate to be declared the winner but the apex court has disagreed with this interpretation, ruling that Tinubu had, of legal fact, met the required threshold of winning 25 per cent of the votes in two-thirds of all 36 states and Abuja combined.

“The new legal interpretation is now the law until the apex court says otherwise in a similar case in the future.
“We, therefore, congratulate Mr. President and urge him to do justice to all Nigerians and leave a positive legacy as unifier and promoter of a Nigeria where tribes and tongues may differ but in brotherhood under the rule of law we stand.

“It is time for governance and the federal government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should as a matter of duty work towards alleviating the suffering of the masses as a result of the increasing cost of living and worsening unemployment in the country.”

Meanwhile, the President of the Northern Youths for Development and Progress (NYDP), Danjuma Sarki, yesterday, said he was disappointed over the quality of the Supreme Court judgment, which affirmed Tinubu’s victory at the poll.

“I am not satisfied at all with the quality of the judgment. The court obviously shied away from delivering justice. They were bent on satisfying the interest of the president and APC rather than the Nigerian electorate,” he claimed. He pointed out that the only way democracy would flourish in Nigeria “is to amend the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution to fill up the lacuna that the Justices who superintend over election matters always capitalise on in delivering poor judgment.”

Sarki also noted that “the process of nomination of the INEC chairman and other commissioners must be reviewed to ensure that only people of impeccable character are appointed.

The President of Arewa Defence League (ADL), Alhaji Murtala Abubakar, also faulted the judgment, saying: “There are at least 10 issues decided. Among them are the issue of certificate forgery by President Tinubu, the issue of not uploading the result into the INEC server as widely publicised by the electoral umpire, the issue of whether he has committed perjury, the issue of 25 per cent of votes in the FCT and the issue of fresh evidence that they wanted the court to admit.

“We expected the Supreme Court to take a deep look at all of them. But to our uttermost surprise, all these issues that were brought to the court were brushed aside on technical grounds notwithstanding the embarrassment this kind of judgment will continue to subject Nigeria to in the comity of nations.

“We must not relent in our collective efforts at any given opportunity to strive and improve our electoral process to make our democracy work for our people.” On its part, a South West socio-political group, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, said although Tinubu scaled through the Supreme Court based on technicalities, he stands no chance of re-contesting in 2027 since he would have no certificate to present to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

President of the forum, Akin Malaolu, said considering that the Supreme Court took judicial notice of the deposition as a material fact and evidence that President Tinubu committed perjury and forgery, “the next election may be difficult for Tinubu to participate in, because he would have no genuine certificate to use for his second term.”

He added: “At the moment Tinubu has no primary, secondary, higher college certificates and the Chicago State University certificate presented to INEC has been denied by the university.”.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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