Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reacted to the judgement of the Osun Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the election of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
In a statement personally signed by him on Saturday, the former president commended the tribunal for the courage to nullify what he said was “clearly an illegality”.
The Tribunal had held in its ruling on Friday that Governor Oyetola’s election was null and void and returned Senator Ademola Adeleke as the duly elected governor of Osun State.
It also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Governor Oyetola and present a fresh one to Senator Adeleke.
LIVE: Supplementary Elections Hold In 17 States, FCT
In his reaction, former President Obasanjo commended the three-man panel of judges which gave the ruling; although he noted that it was a first step in the legal process.
He was delighted that the ruling has given renewed confidence in the judiciary at a time he said there were coordinated efforts by some political leaders to undermine it.
The elder statesman stressed that the international community was keenly watching the events in the country, adding that how the electoral process being handled would have implications for Africa and indeed the world.
“By correcting what was clearly a desperate attempt to change the will of the Osun people, the Tribunal has saved Nigeria from great embarrassment and started the process of saving and strengthening our democracy,” he said.
Former President Obasanjo also commended Senator Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice.
According to him, seeking redress through the legal process is the right and proper thing to do in any decent society and it must be encouraged by all.
Read the full statement below:
STATEMENT BY H.E OLUSEGUN OBASANJO ON THE JUDGEMENT OF THE OSUN GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL
DUBAI – 23 March 2019
While I was in Dubai to attend the Global Education and Skills Forum meeting, I received the news of the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal declaring Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the winner of the 2018 Governorship election in the state.
Let me take this opportunity to commend the tribunal for its courage in nullifying what was clearly an illegality.
This action by the judicial officers, albeit a first step in the legal process, gives renewed confidence in the judiciary at a time when there are coordinated efforts by some political leaders to undermine, if not destroy, it.
As I have repeatedly said, the world is watching events in Nigeria with keen interest. What we do or do not do right in our electoral process will have implications not just for Nigeria but for Africa and indeed the world.
By correcting what was clearly a desperate attempt to change the will of the Osun people, the tribunal has saved Nigeria from great embarrassment and started the process of saving and strengthening our democracy.
Let me also commend Sen. Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice.
This is the right and proper thing to do in any decent society. Going to court must be encouraged and not discouraged as some people are now attempting to do.
While I have refrained from commenting on the 2019 elections because one of the parties has gone to court, may I point out that those who call themselves our development partners and friends and preach sacrificing justice on the altar of so-called stability are enemies of justice, democracy and Nigeria.
We will continue to sustain Nigeria in stability and unity on the altar of justice, equity, fairness, freedom, human rights and democracy.
Stability cannot be successfully built on injustice, corruption, inequity, and divided nation, and incompetence, nepotism and one-sidedness.
Nigeria will march forward with or without those who will want to feed us with diet of values and actions that are not acceptable in their own countries. Nigeria is of age.
And if Buhari could go to court three times to seek justice, even without reasonable cause, any Nigerian who feels denied of justice must feel free to go to court.
Those who have conceived and are promoting the narrative that if Atiku Abubakar continues to seek legal redress there will be violence, are evil minds looking for excuse to unleash violence on Nigerians. At no time in history has sustainable peace been built on theft, injustice, corruption and inequity.
These merchants of chaos and violence should have no place in any decent society. And they must know that no intimidation or prophesy of violence and doomsday will cow anybody. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians.
We will respect as friends those who believe that what is good for their country should be good for Nigeria. Yes, we are Africans but we have values that are consistent with international standards.
Court is part of our democratic process and it must be used when necessary if only to achieve justice, stability, unity and progress for our country.