By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos
A seasoned economist and politician, Chief Mascot Uzor-Kalu, said although President Bola Tinubu has won the legal battle, with the Supreme Court affirming his electoral victory, he must work hard if he wants to overcome daunting challenges and war ahead.
According to the former chief of staff to an erstwhile governor in Abia State, the fact that Tinubu won the election with 38 per cent, with 62 per cent rejecting him at the poll, makes his case precarious.
He said Tinubu would win the war if he could win over a big chunk of the 62 per cent that voted against him, in the next four years.
Uzor-Kalu said the effort to win the war should focus on how to make the economy better and unite the nation, which has been divided by the presidential election.
He said the loss the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) recorded at the court did not come as a surprise as they were more interested in theatrical and media trials instead of working to prove their cases beyond reasonable doubt.
The statement said: “Nigeria’s democratic landscape has long been familiar with the extended legal disputes that follow each election cycle, with various litigation battles in the courtrooms. However, the 2023 presidential election that resulted in the emergence of Bola Tinubu as president brought a unique set of circumstances and legal wrangling from the opposition, which left me intrigued and, at times, astounded. What made this year’s post-election legal battle particularly captivating was the theatrical nature of the opposition’s claims.
“As I’ve previously noted in different discussions, opposition parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), along with their respective presidential candidates, seemed more interested in public spectacle than in presenting a solid case to challenge Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 polls. Instead of focusing on substantiating their claims in court beyond any reasonable doubt, they indulged in legal trivialities and media trials.
“The pinnacle of the drama was probably Atiku’s fixation on President Tinubu’s academic credentials, which led to his ill-advised escapade to Chicago State University (CSU), USA, in pursuit of the president’s educational records. Although this move briefly gave the former vice president and his party an illusionary glimmer of hope, I had earlier described it as a futile endeavour. My perspective was later vindicated by the statement of Justice John Okoro of the Supreme Court, who, before pronouncing the apex court’s verdict that affirmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s president, emphasised the need for criminal matters to be proven beyond reasonable doubt and consequently dismissed his appeal for lacking merit.
“Nevertheless, even though the president has secured victory in the legal battle, a broader war lies ahead of him. Where lies the war? The 2023 election, perhaps more than any in our electoral history, deeply divided our nation and exacerbated the country’s ethnic differences. Another challenging part of the war is the fact that he won the presidency with only 38% of the vote, indicating that 62 per cent of voters did not endorse him. Essentially, it will be interesting to see how the president can, over the next four years, win over the 62 per cent who did not support his presidency and possibly reduce this number below 50 per cent.
“Without any doubt, the war has already commenced, but its outcome also depends on how Tinubu’s administration addresses the nation’s dire economic situation. Prosecuting the war should begin with efforts to stabilize the declining value of the Naira in the volatile foreign exchange market, reduce the alarming unemployment rate through job creation, and address various other economic challenges confronting the country.
“While it is essential to acknowledge that the current administration is not solely responsible for the economic difficulties plaguing the nation, the president should recognize that even the 38 per cent who supported him can turn against his administration if the economic situation deteriorates further and continues to burden the masses.”