The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, have refused to concede defeat in the February 25 presidential election, vowing to recover their mandate in court.
The two candidates rebuffed the gesture of conciliation made by the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, who in his acceptance speech after he was declared the winner of the poll on Wednesday, asked them to support him in the task of building the nation.
Atiku and Obi spoke at separate news conferences in Abuja on Thursday.
In the early hours of Wednesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Tinubu as the President-elect after the 70-year-old polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rivals, Atiku and Obi who scored 6,984,520 and 6,101, votes, respectively.
Breaking his silence 24 hours after Tinubu was declared the winner of the hotly contested polls, an emotional Obi insisted that he won the election and he was ready to prove it.
He noted that the election in which Tinubu was declared victorious was controversial and programmed to deliver pre-determined results.
He pointed out that the election did not meet the requirements and could not be deemed credible.
The former Anambra State governor insisted that Nigerians were robbed of their true choice, adding was ready to challenge the results till he proved his argument in court.
“The election that we just witnessed had been conducted and the results announced as programmed. It is a clear deviation from electoral rules and guidelines contrary to what we were promised.
“This election did not meet the minimum standard expected of a free, fair, transparent and credible election. It will go down as one of the most controversial elections ever conducted in Nigeria.
“The good and hardworking people of Nigeria have again been robbed by our supposed leaders whom they trusted,” he said.
Vowing to pursue and recover his mandate, the LP candidate said, “Let me reassure the good people of Nigeria that we will explore all legal and peaceful options to reclaim our mandate. We won the election and I will prove it to Nigerians.’’
The former governor said he believed the process through which people come into any position was important and there was a need for Nigeria to sanitise the process.
Obi added, “The process through which people come into the office is far more fundamental, more important than what they do (in office) thereafter.
“I believe that if you must answer ‘Your Excellency,’ the process through which you arrive at the office must be excellent.
“We must now require that we do the right thing to generate the right confidence and moral authority to lead. As you know, the structure of society begins and gradually retrogresses when we act rascally and deliberately in the manipulation of rule of law and suppression of the will of the people.”
He said he had challenged several election results and come out victorious and he would be approaching the court with the firm belief of getting justice.
“On this issue (presidential election) I am challenging the process. I will challenge this rascality for the future of the country.
“The court exists for this and they have asked me to go to court and I will be going to court,” the former governor assured his supporters.
Asked if he was under pressure, he said no one could put him under pressure for “challenging the rascality.’
every Nigerian, was entitled to seek redress in court if he was convinced his team had evidence of the electoral fraud to present before the tribunal.
He said, “We welcome the decision of Mr Obi to seek redress in court as an aggrieved party if he is convinced of the evidence of electoral frauds he will present before the tribunal as alleged.