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Peter Obi won Feb 25 election, we back his decision to challenge Tinubu: Afenifere

Afenifere has supported the decision of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, to seek redress in court, by challenging the results of the presidential election. 

The pan-Yoruba sociocultural group, in a communique issued after its General Meeting, claimed that the results of the election available at its disposal showed that Mr Obi won the penultimate weekend presidential election. 

“That the results of the lawful votes at the election available to the Afenifere through credible sources confirm that His Excellency Peter Gregory Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party won the said election and we thus support his decision  challenging the contrary Declaration by the INEC,” it said.

Afenifere’s national leader, Ayo Adebanjo, and the Secretary-General, Sola Ebiseni, jointly signed the communique obtained by Peoples Gazette on Wednesday. 

Bola Tinubu, now president-elect, was declared winner of the election exercise conducted on February 25, 2023, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 

The electoral commission said Mr Tinubu defeated his main challengers, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Obi, after polling 8,794,726 votes. 

Mr Abubakar came second in the poll after scoring 6,984,520 votes.

Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.

The electoral commission has since issued a Certificate of Return to Mr Tinubu and his vice, Kashim Shettima. 

Messrs Abubakar and Obi have rejected the result of the presidential election and have gone to court to seek redress.

In the communique, Afenifere also denied sending a congratulatory message to any of the candidates using the name of the ethnic group. 

“That the General Meeting hereby denounced in strong terms and dissociated Afenifere from any congratulatory message in the name of the Organisation or howsoever to any candidate as illegally declared by the INEC,” it added. 

While reviewing the presidential election, Afenifere said the deliberate non-compliance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with its mandatory guidelines during the exercise encouraged “electoral brigandage” at the polling units.

It added that the plunder which included destruction of ballot papers, snatching of ballot boxes, doctoring of figures and swapping of votes of candidates at the coalition centres by amended and outlawed manual procedures rendered the presidential and National Assembly elections flawed in several respects as confirmed by local and international observers. 

The group maintained that it had always preached equity, fairness, national cohesion and peaceful corporate existence by insisting that the next president of Nigeria shall come from the southern part and specifically the South-East.

Afenifere, however, called on Nigerians to troop out en masse and participate fully in the next weekend’s gubernatorial and houses of assembly elections slated for March 11, 2023.

It asked the international community to show special concerns in the on-going electioneering process in the country in the interest of peace in the global community.

“That with particular reference to Lagos State, Afenifere confirmed that the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is a person of Yoruba origin, whose grandparents are not only Yoruba but definitely one of the notable founding families of Lagos. We unequivocally endorse and urge the people of Lagos to vote for him. 

“That Afenifere calls on INEC to ensure free and credible Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in accordance with the constitution, the extant Electoral Act, and its mandatory Guidelines earlier mentioned,” Afenifere added. 

They, however, called President Muhammadu Buhari and all the security agents to guarantee the safety of the people for free, fair, and peaceful elections throughout the country. 

On Wednesday, Mr Obi, stormed the Presidential Election Court sitting at the Appeal Court in Abuja, for the judgment in the application he filed along with his party seeking the permission of the court to allow him to inspect the election materials used by INEC on February 25 poll.