Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has rubbished the insinuations that the Court of Appeal judges that adjudicated on the petitions in the 2023 presidential election were compromised.
Wike said this in reaction to criticisms of the judgment in the petitions filed by Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Atiku Abubakar, and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against the victory of President Bola Tinubu.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday, September 7, 2023, the former Rivers State Governor said, “Did Peter Obi not win at the Supreme Court when he was removed as governor? Did he pay bribe? Let him tell the world now.”
“When he was removed as a governor, did he not reclaim his mandate at the Supreme Court? Judiciary was right but now that the decision happened, judiciary is wrong,” Wike said as he defended the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC)’s verdict.
The PEPC, in a marathon judgement that lasted 12 hours on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, dismissed the consolidated petitions filed by the APM, PDP, and Labour Party, as well as candidates of the last two.
The five-man panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani unanimously quashed all the petitioners’ prayers and went on to affirm the victory of Tinubu in the February 25 poll.
Both Atiku and Obi have rejected the PEPC’s verdict and vowed to challenge the judgment at the Supreme Court.
However, reacting to the development, Wike said being a realist, he knew Obi stood no chance to win the presidential election.
Explaining why he pitched his tent with Tinubu, instead of Obi or his fellow party man, Atiku, in the election, the minister said, “I know that he won’t win the election. Let me tell you the truth, I am a realist.”
“For me, the way the election went, it was a tough election. I give it to INEC (the Independent National Electoral Commission),” Wike added.
The former governor said sentiments aside, Obi couldn’t have won the election. “Yes, as a young man, people would have preferred that but look at how the votes went,” he noted.
“There is this generational change, the young people were tired. So, for them, the only hope they had was to vote for Obi as a younger person compared to other candidates.
“But unknown to them, that is not the reality of Nigerian politics. They didn’t take into cognisance that ethnicity is a factor. They didn’t take into cognisance that religion is a factor, not only competence; that is the reality of Nigerian politics,” Wike concluded.