Festus Keyamo (SAN), minister of state for labour and employment, filed a petition with the Department of State Services (DSS) calling for the arrest and prosecution of Peter Obi, the candidate for president of the Labour Party (LP), and Datti Baba-Ahmed, the candidate for vice president, for remarks he deemed incendiary and likely to incite rebellion.
In the petition addressed to the Director-General DSS and dated March 23, the minister who is chief spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, said in a post-election period such as this, there was a need to soothe frayed nerves, lower the temperature and begin the healing process.
Petitions Before Lagos Election Tribunal
“The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, issued a statement to this effect a few days ago.
“However, it appears the presidentila and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed are not prepared to toe this conciliatory path for the sake of peace and national cohesion, whilst exercising their rights to pursue duly laid down constitutional means of addressing their grievances,” he stated.
Keyamo added that the pair have been making explosive remarks and assertions against the Independent National Electoral Commission’s INEC announcement of the President-elect ever since the results of the presidential election were announced.
According to him, “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.”