Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who is the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has written a petition to the Department of State Services (DSS) requesting the arrest and prosecution of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, respectively. The minister accused them of making incendiary comments that he claimed could incite rebellion and constitute treasonable felony.
The petition, which was addressed to the Director-General of the DSS and dated March 23, stated that there is a need to calm tensions and promote healing in the post-election period. The minister, who is also the chief spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), emphasized that the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had already issued a statement to this effect a few days ago.
However, Mr Keyamo alleged that the LP candidates, Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, are not willing to follow this path of reconciliation for the sake of peace and national unity, while still exercising their constitutional rights to address their grievances through legal means.
The petition by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment has raised concerns about the state of political discourse in Nigeria and the importance of promoting peaceful coexistence and respect for the rule of law. It remains to be seen how the DSS will respond to the petition and what action, if any, will be taken against the LP candidates.
According to Keyamo, the LP presidential and vice presidential candidates have been frequently appearing on various media platforms since the announcement of the presidential election results, where they have been making inflammatory statements and allegations about the declaration of the President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In his word, “
These comments and claims are made, not just within the boundaries of exercising their rights to freedom of speech and the freedom to air their grievances publicly, but they have since crossed the line to call for the outright truncation of democracy by insisting on the adoption of other processes outside the contemplation of our Constitution.
“In some cases, their privies have even called for the establishment of an Interim Government.
“The latest of such are the comments made by Datti Baba-Ahmed on behalf of himself and Mr. Peter Obi on Channels TV on Wednesday, March 22, wherein he threatened that if the President-elect was sworn in on May 29, it would ‘signal the end of democracy’.
“Posing as an accuser, a judge and a jury all by himself, he unilaterally declared the duly elected President-elect as ‘unconstitutional’ and, in a subliminal manner, threatened mayhem if the President-elect was sworn in on May 29.
“I also have it on good authority that Mr. Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed have camped some youths in a popular hotel in Abuja with the sole aim of instructing them to push out inciting messages everyday on social media in order to cause panic and fear within the federation and to incite people to riot and social unrest.
“It is noteworthy that Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed have submitted elections petitions to the courts for adjudication, but their conducts and utterances amount to a subversion of the processes they have instituted in court and a subversion of our Constitution and the laid-down processes for addressing disputes and grievances.
“These conduct and utterances are a build-up to something more sinister and it is important you rein them in now!
“In the circumstance, I submit this petition in my personal capacity as a patriotic Nigerian to invite/arrest, interrogate and after investigation, if necessary, charge both individuals to court for their conduct which amounts to incitement and treasonable felony.”