FG accuses Peter Obi, Datti-Ahmed of treason

The federal government has accused a major opposition leader of treason, weeks after the candidate of the ruling party won a hotly contested presidential election.

Government spokesperson Lai Mohammed gave the government’s position during engagements with journalists in Washington DC in the United States.

Mr Mohammed, who is the information minister of the outgoing government, accused the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, of inciting people to violence over the outcome of the presidential elections, saying it is treasonable.

Mr Obi came third in the 25 February presidential election won by Bola Tinubu of the ruling APC. Mr Obi and Atiku Abubakar who came second are, however, challenging the results of the election in court, saying the election and result collation was flawed. Both men have publicly called on their supporters to refrain from violence while they challenge the results in court.

The Allegation

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Mohammed is in Washington to engage with international media organisations and Think-tanks on the just concluded 2023 polls.

It also reports that the minister had so far engaged respectively with the “Washington Post”, Voice of America, Associated Press and Foreign Policy Magazine.

During the respective interactions with the media organisations, the minister said it was wrong for Mr Obi on one breadth to seek redress in court over the outcome of the polls and on another breadth incite people to violence.

“Obi and his Vice, Datti-Ahmed cannot be threatening Nigerians that if the President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is sworn in on May 29, it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria.

“This is treason. You cannot be inviting insurrection, and this is what they are doing.

“Obi’s statement is that of a desperate person, he is not a democrat that he claimed to be.

“A democrat should not believe in democracy only when he wins election,” he said.

The minister said in challenging the election results, there was no pathway to victory for either Mr Obi or Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the minister, both Messrs Obi and Atiku failed to meet the constitutional requirements to be declared as president.

“The constitution has stringent criteria for anybody who wants to be president of the country.

“Not only must he have the plurality of votes cast in an election, he must also have scored one-quarter of votes cast in at least 25 states.

“Only the president-elect met the criteria by scoring 8.79 million votes and having one-quarter of all the vote cast in 29 states of the federation,” he said.

The minister said Atiku came second with 6.9 million votes but was only able to make one-quarter of the votes cast in 21 states.

He said Mr Obi came third with 5.8 million votes but won only one-quarter of the votes cast in 15 states.

“You cannot win an election in a poll where you came a distant third position and failed to meet constitutional requirements.

“Peter Obi, while complaining of fraud, has not disowned his victory in Lagos,” he said.

Messrs Obi and Atiku are currently in court to challenge the results of the 25 February presidential election.

Elaborating on his mission to the U.S., Mr Mohammed said he was there to correct the negative narratives being promoted by naysayers and opposition to the election.

He said the opposition, having lost in the election, was alleging fraud, calling for its cancellation and constitution of an interim government.

“We have come here to balance that skewed narratives and to tell the world unambiguously that the just concluded general elections in Nigeria are the fairest, most transparent and authentic in the history of Nigeria.

“The election is the most fair and credible because of the introduction of Bimodal Voters Verification System (BVAS) which I regard as a game changer.

“BVAS technology had helped to weed out ghost and illegal voters, eliminate multiple voting and return sanity to the elections,” Mr Mohammed said.

Relying on the INEC report, the minister said BVAS, during the polls, worked 97 per cent giving unparalleled credibility to the elections.