The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, says the “failure” of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi to caution his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed over his controversial comments means he is in support of what he said.
Datti had in an interview on March 22 questioned the legitimacy of the pronouncement of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the election February 25 election.
According to him, swearing Tinubu in as Nigeria President will be unconstitutional as the APC candidate “has not met requirements of the law”.
But in an interaction with State House correspondents on Wednesday, Mohammed said Datti is calling for insurrection through his statement.
“I said Mr. Peter Obi has every right to seek redress in court like Labour Party but nobody has the right to call for insurrection or to threaten to say that if the president-elect is sworn-in, that would be the end of democracy,” the minister said.
“And that was precisely what Obi’s running mate said on live television and I have not heard Obi rein him in or correct him; so, if your running mate says something; of course, he was saying on behalf of the party and on behalf of the candidate.
“That is why I said that was treason; for anybody to say that if a duly elected president in Nigeria is sworn in, that will be the end of democracy is treason. For anybody to say if you swear in a duly elected president, you are swearing the military, it is treason.
“So, I don’t see anything controversy in that.”
The Minister also said that the 2023 election was the freest and most transparent election in Nigeria, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari did not confer any advantage on the ruling party during the elections.
He said he told his audience in his recent trip to the US that Buhari stopped rigging of elections with security agencies.
“I went to the US to balance the skewed report about the just concluded elections; and everywhere I went, I said very unambiguously that the last general elections in Nigeria are the most transparent,” he said.
“It was the freest and the most authentic Nigeria had ever held, and that is despite the effort of the opposition to delegitimise or discredit the election.
“And I put forward my position there that the two reasons the election was the best was one.
“That the introduction of technology especially, the BVAS made it pretty difficult for anybody to do the usual things before was over-voting, stuffing of ballot boxes and the likes because once it takes your biometrics; you cannot vote twice.’’
“Secondly is that Mr President said he will provide a level playing ground and he did. The first instance was that the president did not confer any advantage on his ruling party; and that as far as he was concerned, he would rather lose the election than win at all cost; and the result showed it. He lost his home state Katsina, it has never happened before in the history of Nigeria for a sitting president to lose his own state,” he said.