•Asks judiciary to reaffirm its independence, integrity
By John Alechenu, Abuja
The presidential candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has said it is time for Nigerians to re-evaluate their assumptions as a nation.
He also said he was on the same page with Nigerians who rejected the present shameful conditions of the country but reaffirmed hope that a better Nigeria was possible.
Obi said this yesterday in a statement, titled ‘“ At a time like this: My message to fellow Nigerians” to mark May 29, 2023, presidential inauguration in Abuja.
He described the occasion as a time for deep reflection and to “re-examine our assumptions, even as we reaffirm our hopes, review our aspirations, recalibrate our expectations, and pin down the causes of our missed opportunities and disappointments.”
The LP presidential standard bearer said the country stood at that critical moment in time when, as a people, “we must collectively come to grips with the reality of our injured destiny as well as the reasons for that injury.
“It is for us to reassess our plight as a young democracy and identify clear pathways to a better and greater future for us all,” Obi said.
He explained that the conduct and outcome of the last general elections had showcased “the troubled state of our democracy” where a minority, indeed, a handful of partisans seemed satisfied with the conduct of the election and the results, while majority of Nigerian voters and many international observers remained confounded by the process and the outcome.
Obi, however, reiterated that though serious reservations had been expressed by a significant majority of stakeholders about the shortcomings of the elections, it was not for anyone to take the laws into his hands.
He said: “As we await the verdict of the election tribunal, I urge all Nigerians to use this opportunity to renew their commitment to the Nigerian ideal and ensure that such ideal remains noble and worth every sacrifice we can make.
ion but this, so let us remain committed to rescuing and rebuilding it.”
Speaking on ongoing litigations with respect to the disputed election, the former Anambra State governor said the judiciary was part of the democratic enterprise and a critical governance tool for determining the propriety of the decisions and actions of every citizen and institution of state and enjoined the people to treat it with the respect and dignity it deserved.
“We expect that the Nigerian judiciary will use the election cases now before it to reaffirm its independence and integrity. It has to do so, for all our sakes and for itself.
“Nigerians must, therefore, remain peaceful and law-abiding. No matter the depth of anyone’s reservations about what is going on in the polity today, no matter the real and imagined provocations, and no matter the disagreement out there, we should remember that this will not last forever.
“Like the majority of Nigerians, I reject the present shameful condition of our country. I reject the widespread criminal plundering of our nation’s wealth by those who are called to manage it and serve the people.
“I also reject, without reservations, the growing impression that our nation is one in which the most important requirements for 21st-century nationhood can be routinely violated with impunity,” Obi said.
The LP presidential candidate said he would not join the bandwagon in accepting the idea that people should just flow along, even though everything needed for responsible leadership, equity, sustainable development, and nationhood are missing.”
According to him, “I reject a nation where security, rule of law, and peaceful coexistence are on a steady decline.
“Why should we rank among the worst, globally, in the three most important indices that separate developed and undeveloped nations, namely education, health, and per capita income?
“It is from the indices regarding our human capital development, primary health care, and general development infrastructure that our beloved country got ranked as the poverty capital of the world.’
He explained further that it was because Nigeria needed good and focused leadership that he contested the February 25 presidential elections, and sought the exalted office to end the current situation.
Obi reiterated his commitment, untiring zeal, and determination to work with like-minded fellow Nigerians to end the curse of missed opportunities and squandered hope that had become the nation’s lot.
While charging Nigerians, especially the youths, to remain steadfast, calm, patient, and peaceful, Obi said: “Our journey may be long and difficult but it is worth it in every way because victory is assured.
“We have to work together to move our beautiful country from corruption and criminality to a centre of productivity, rather than aimless consumption.”
Obi equally noted that he remained aware that some evil designs were being hatched against him and his supporters in the coming months.
“Efforts will be made to taint my image. Campaigns of calumny are being perfected to defame my character and diminish my hard-earned integrity, all aimed at degrading our support base and confusing the public.
“But, no evil campaign will alter the substance of my character; nor diminish my patriotic commitment to a better Nigeria. It is not about me. It is about a better Nigeria. It is about the future of our youths, it is about ending the years of locust.”
Obi expressed gratitude to members of his party and the media for their support, noting that the media as the Fourth Estate of the realm, had remained a trusted ally.
He urged the media to continue to guide the people on the immense promise of a future in a new Nigeria.