By Chinelo Obogo
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has said campaigns of calumny were being hatched against him and his supporters in the coming months to defame his character.
In a statement, yesterday, the former Anambra state governor said though the schemes were aimed at degrading his support base and confusing the public, no evil campaign would alter the substance of his character nor diminish his patriotic commitment to a better Nigeria.
“I am aware of some evil designs being hatched against me and my supporters in the coming months. Efforts will be made to taint my image. Campaigns of calumny are being perfected to defame my character and diminish my hard-earned integrity. These schemes will aim at degrading our support base and confusing the public.
“But, no evil campaign will alter the substance of my character; nor diminish my patriotic commitment to a better Nigeria. It is not about me. It is about a better Nigeria. It is about the future of our youths.it is about ending the years of locust,” he said.
On the election petition he instituted, he said the judiciary is on trial but despite the pressure, he is confident of victory.
“The conduct and outcome of the last national elections have showcased the troubled state of our democracy. While a minority, indeed a handful of partisans, seem satisfied with the conduct of the election and the results, the majority of Nigerian voters and many international observers remain confounded by the process and the outcome. Serious reservations have been expressed by a significant majority of stakeholders about the shortcomings of the elections. But it is not for anyone to take the laws into his hands.
“As we await the verdict of the election tribunal, I urge all Nigerians to use this opportunity to renew their commitment to the Nigerian ideal. That ideal remains noble and worth every sacrifice we can make. Nigeria remains our only patrimony and it is a patrimony we must protect, rather than violate. We have no other nation but this, so let us remain committed to rescuing and rebuilding it.
“The judiciary is part of the democratic enterprise and a critical governance tool for determining the propriety of the decisions and actions of every citizen and every institution of state. To that extent, and for that reason, I urge everyone to treat it with the respect and dignity it deserves.
“We expect that the Nigerian judiciary will use the election cases now before it to reaffirm its independence and integrity. It has to do so, for all our sakes and for itself. Nigerians must, therefore, remain peaceful and law abiding.
No matter the depth of anyone’s reservations about what is going on in the polity today, no matter the real and imagined provocations, and no matter the disagreement out there, we should remember that this will not last forever.
“Like the majority of Nigerians, I reject the present shameful condition of our country. I reject the widespread criminal plundering of our nation’s wealth by those who are called to manage it and serve the people. I also reject, without reservations, the growing impression that our nation is one in which the most important requirements for 21st century nationhood can be routinely violated with impunity.
“Not for me, the idea that we should just blunder along, even though everything needed for responsible leadership, equity and sustainable development and nationhood are missing. I reject a nation where security, rule of law, peaceful coexistence are on a steady decline.
“Why should we rank among the worst, globally, in the three most important indices that separate developed and undeveloped nations, namely: Education, Health, and Per Capita income?
It is from the indices regarding our human capital development, primary health care, and general development infrastructure that our beloved country got ranked as the poverty capital of the world.
“It bears repetition, to say that my race for the 2023 election was fueled by the desire to reverse these negative trends. I remain committed and untiring, in my determination to work with like-minded fellow Nigerians to end the curse of missed opportunities and squandered hope that has become our lot here. I will never shrink from that original commitment, because I firmly believe that we must change from the present politics of criminality and corruption, in order to make a new Nigeria possible.
“I call on fellow Nigerians, especially the youths to remain steadfast, calm, patient, and peaceful. Our journey may be long and difficult but it is worth it in every way. Victory is assured. We have to work together to move our beautiful country from corruption and criminality to a center of productivity rather than aimless consumption,” he said.