BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – Echoes of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s victory at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) are still reverberating on the nation’s political landscape.
The latest is coming from the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who has stirred up a hornet’s nest by canvassing the prosecution of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the February 23, 2019 elections.
Speaking from faraway St. Petersburg in Russia, the Minister said the PDP and Atiku should be prosecuted for presenting “fraudulent evidence”, before the elections Tribunal.
Mohammed is heading the Nigerian delegation to the 23rd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
In recommending the main opposition party and its candidate for prosecution, the Minister said they deserved to face the music for allegedly presenting fraudulent evidence before the Tribunal that did well to dismiss their appeal and affirm President Buhari’s election.
The Minister, in a statement signed by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi and made available to journalists in Abuja, also said the PDP and its candidate must apologise to Nigerians instead of appealing the verdict.
He urged the PDP and Atiku to also have a rethink and abandon its planned appeal seeking succour at the Supreme Court.
According to him, “Instead of casting aspersion on the judiciary with their poorly-framed reaction to the ruling of the tribunal, the PDP and its candidate should be thanking their stars that they are not being prosecuted for coming to court with fraudulently-obtained evidence.
“It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at every turn will present, in an open court, evidence it claimed to have obtained by hacking into a supposed INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) server. Don’t they realise this is a criminal act for which they are liable?”
Lai Mohammed, who is UNWTO’s Vice President (Africa), said; “Instead of threatening to head to the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than common sense, they should be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense of reasoning. Enough is enough.”
He said instead of appealing the Tribunal’s ruling, PDP and Atiku should apologise to Nigerians for wilfully distracting the Buhari administration with a frivolous election petition.
The Minister, while admitting that the PDP and its candidate reserve the right to pursue their petition to the highest level, however said; “They would be better served by dropping their toga of desperation and realising that there is a limit to tomfoolery.
“Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and will rather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and in court, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to the next level.
“This is more so that the judgement validating the re-election of President Buhari was unanimous that the petition lacked merit; that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds upon which their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the poll.”
Alhaji Mohammed lauded the Tribunal for not only doing justice to the case, but for explaining, in painstaking details that lasted hours, how it arrived at its judgment.
“We also thank Nigerians, who voted massively to re-elect President Buhari, for their continued support,” the Minister said.