As Nigerians await the verdict of the 2023 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) in bated breath, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Obiora Ifoh, says victory was sure going by the tons of evidence tendered in court to knock out tha All Progressives Congress (APC).
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Sun, the LP Spokesman, Mr Ifoh, said that the party would take its case to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, in the event it loses out at PEPT.
He also spoke about the expectations of the party in the coming weeks about it and other issues playing out in Nigeria’s political space.
How can you assess the tribunal proceedings thus far? Are you still optimistic that justice would be served?
Yes, we are very optimistic that justice will be served, having proven our case beyond all reasonable doubts according to our own explanation and we think that the tribunal will do the needful.
How would you react to the postponement of judgment? What are your expectations?
The judgment was not postponed. It is in line with what they said that after doing all the documentations, that they would fix a date for judgment. So, it is in line. They just said they would have a date for the judgment which is the normal thing.
The VC of Baze University owned by Datti (Peter Obi’s running mate), Prof Tahir Mamman, has been nominated for a ministerial position by Tinubu. Is this not a gradual weakening of LP as Tinubu goes after the members? How can you react to this?
He is not a member of the Labour Party. Not all the staff of Base University are members of the Labour Party. So, anybody can be nominated. That he is working for our vice presidential candidate does not make him a Labour Party member and we wish him all the best.
But don’t you think it’s a goodwill gesture to your vice presidential candidate?
We are only interested in the Labour Party members. We have said that no Labour Party members will take any appointment with this government because it is an illegal government. We don’t believe in this government until the final determination of the tribunal and that is what we are awaiting and so far, there has been total compliance by our members.
Some individuals think that the LP members at the National Assembly are not doing enough to raise the voices of common Nigerians and to ask the challenging questions, particularly during the ministerial screening. What are your thoughts on this?
When you watch the proceedings in the Senate carefully, many people will raise their hands until the presiding officer asks you to talk. You cannot just jump up and talk and unfortunately, most of our members have not been given the opportunity to speak, but I can tell you that if they are given the opportunity to speak, they will point out one or two things, but then, those things are not really important to us now. What is important to the Labour Party is to regain our mandate and that is what we are focused on. Our members, we elected them and they are very good personalities and they know what to do.
Would you say your members in the National Assembly are meeting expectations?
For now, they are doing exactly what they are expected to do. But if they are given the freedom to speak, I am sure most of them would speak the mind of the party. We don’t have any problem with all our members. They are doing very well and they cannot be lawless. They cannot force themselves to speak. They must be recognized. If you are watching the television, you would see many of them raising their hands, but it is to the presiding officer’s powers to decide who to give the opportunity to contribute on the floor of the Senate.
While we are being optimistic about your chances at the tribunal, it could also go the other way. So, what is next for the Labour Party in the event it loses?
Of course, we are not going to lose. We are very sure that we are going to win, but then, the tribunal is not the last court. There is also the Supreme Court, but we know we are not going to lose.
– Sunday Sun: Text, Excluding Headline