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'President' - Peter Obi addresses Tinubu as President for the first time on Democracy Day

 

Peter Gregory Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, described Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President in what social media users say is the first acknowledgment since his inauguration in May 2023.


Obi, in a post on X on Wednesday, June 12, addressed Tinubu with the prefix "President Tinubu" when he sympathized with him on his fall at Eagles Square on Democracy Day.


"I was saddened to learn of President Tinubu’s unfortunate fall today. I wish him well. We achieve nothing by gloating about an accident that could well happen to any of us," the former Anambra State Governor wrote.


His message generated mixed reactions from several social media users loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Labour Party (LP).


Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared the winner of the 2023 presidential election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Tinubu defeated 17 other candidates who took part in the election.


He scored a total of 8,794,726 votes, the highest of all the candidates, thus meeting the first constitutional requirement to be declared the winner. Atiku Abubakar polled a total of 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party came third with 6,101,533 votes, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.


Displeased with the results, Obi and Abubakar had asked the court to invalidate the election, alleging irregularities. However, the presidential election tribunal indicated that the main opposition parties failed to prove claims of electoral malpractice against the governing APC in February’s disputed elections. “This petition is hereby declared unmeritorious,” one of the judges said as the tribunal rejected the opposition challenge to Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s win.

This led to political tension between the parties, and in 2023, Obi retracted his acknowledgment of Bola Tinubu as Nigeria's president.


What happened in 2023


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu received a heroic welcome in Lagos on his first visit since assuming office. Hundreds of supporters and political dignitaries thronged to welcome him. However, there was major criticism after a long motorcade accompanied him to his new private residence. Multiple SUVs were seen speeding ahead and behind Tinubu’s car at a time when Nigerians were groaning over the increase in petrol prices due to the fuel subsidy removal announced by Tinubu during his inaugural presidential speech.


Tinubu’s aide on digital media, Olusegun Dada, in a tweet said, “the official vehicles of the president and principal aides make up less than 10% of the motorcade.” He added, “the other vehicles in the Presidential motorcade belong to several state governors, heads of all security agencies, party leaders, and political associates of the President who were all at the airport to receive him.”


Obi calls Tinubu “Mr President” and deletes tweet


Amid a wave of criticisms and defense from Tinubu’s supporters, Obi said, “sacrifices for a better Nigeria must start from the leaders at all levels of government.” In the initial tweet, the Labour Party candidate said he had yet to see the video “allegedly showing Mr President with about a 120-car convoy.”


Hours after his comment, Obi deleted the tweet and replaced it with another that does not address Tinubu as president. “We cannot continue to preach for the people to sacrifice without sacrificing too,” Obi said in the later tweet. “The sacrifices must now start from the leaders visibly and measurably at all times because the people are suffering. We must now be at the forefront of addressing the suffering.”




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