Bayo Onanuga, President Bola Tinubu’s media aide, who labelled the people of Igbo ethnicity in the South-East as “existential threats” to the Yoruba and advocated for their complete exclusion from Lagos politics, has rejected Peter Obi’s critique of the Supreme Court’s ruling confirming Mr. Tinubu’s victory. He accused the Labour Party candidate of propagating divisive sentiments during the previous election.
Mr. Obi, in a press conference held on Monday, expressed deep concern about the judgment from the highest court, labeling it as shocking. He criticized the Supreme Court for dismissing evidence related to election irregularities, certificate forgery, and perjury to uphold Mr. Tinubu’s victory.
In response to Mr. Obi’s critique of the Supreme Court’s verdict on Monday evening, Mr. Onanuga accused Mr. Obi of casting doubt on the integrity of the Supreme Court and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr. Onanuga asserted, “Mr. Obi claimed the Supreme Court justices didn’t take public opinion into account when delivering a decision that has been widely praised as one of the most significant in election appeals, considering that the Labour Party candidate presented an extremely weak and unreasonable petition, which is unprecedented in the history of electoral cases in Nigeria.”
Furthermore, Mr. Onanuga contended that Mr. Obi’s belief that he could have won a national election while running a divisive and polarizing campaign was a matter that required deeper examination. He also suggested that Mr. Obi should support Mr. Tinubu if he truly believes in Nigeria.
However, it’s worth noting that as a spokesperson for Mr. Tinubu’s campaign team, Mr. Onanuga previously advocated for the complete exclusion of Nigerians of Igbo heritage from political power in Lagos. This stance had escalated ethnic tensions following the Lagos governorship election on March 18.
In his controversial and divisive statement, Mr. Onanuga tweeted, “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics,” along with a photo of Peter Obi, an Igbo from Anambra State who supported Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, a Yoruba from Lagos, in the election on Saturday. He added, “Let there be no repeat in 2027.”
In response to criticism for his polarizing statement, Mr. Onanuga reiterated his position in another tweet, stating, “Let me clarify: the views I express on Twitter are my personal views. I don’t owe anyone an apology for addressing what I see as existential threats to our people. After all, I am first and foremost a Yoruba before being a Nigerian.”