Bayo Onanuga, a media aide to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, has taken to social media to accuse Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, of attempting to treat Tinubu the same way that former military head of state, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), did to MKO Abiola, whose presidential election victory was annulled 30 years ago. In a tweet on Tuesday, Onanuga likened Obi’s move to challenge the 2023 presidential election results to how IBB invalidated Abiola’s election in 1993.
Onanuga stated, “Peter Obi of Labour Party seeks the annulment of the election of President-elect Bola Tinubu just like the military annulled MKO Abiola’s election of 12 June 1993.” He further noted that Tinubu and his supporters are ready to defend his election victory and that “Team Tinubu will certainly meet you (Obi) in court.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Obi filed a petition at the tribunal in Abuja, challenging Tinubu’s status as the winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election. The Labour Party and its presidential flag bearer are praying for the tribunal to enforce that Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of votes cast during the election. They want an order demanding that INEC retrieves the certificate of return issued to Tinubu and issue a fresh one to Obi.
The accusation by Onanuga suggests that there is a belief among Tinubu’s supporters that Obi’s challenge to Tinubu’s election victory is an attempt to deny him the presidency in a manner similar to what happened to Abiola in 1993. Abiola’s election was annulled by IBB, which sparked widespread protests and eventually led to Abiola’s incarceration. This comparison is a strong indication of the significance that Tinubu’s supporters attach to his victory and the intensity of the opposition that he faces from his opponents.
It remains to be seen how the case will play out in court, but it is clear that both sides are prepared for a protracted legal battle. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for Nigerian politics and could shape the country’s political landscape for years to come.