A Labour Party chieftain, Akin Osuntokun, has defended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over claims that the Nigerian leader may come after Peter Obi and some members of the new opposition party following the events of the 2023 general elections.
Recall that Osuntokun was the Director-General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council in the last presidential election.
Labour Party presidential candidate Obi and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both dragged Tinubu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court after the umpire declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate as the winner of the keenly contested February 25th presidential election.
Their prayers at the Supreme Court, however, were subsequently dismissed on the basis that they lacked merit.
Speaking, however, during an interview with The PUNCH on the speculations that LP National Chairman, Julius Abure, raised the alarm that Tinubu might come after Obi and some chieftains of the opposition party, Osuntokun said he doesn’t know the Nigerian leader to be that kind of person.
“Whatever anybody may think of Tinubu, it is unfair to say he will come after anybody. From what I know of him, he is not that kind of person. He is not a vengeful politician. That is one of his strengths. A lot of people who are with him today, including those from Lagos who have offended him in the past, are back. Whatever reservation anybody has about him, he is not that kind of person. I must also say that attitude has helped him a lot in his political career. But that’s my own personal view,” Osuntokun said.
Speaking further on whether money politics played out in the 2023 general elections as claimed by the ‘Obedient Movement’, Osuntokun responded in the affirmative, saying: “Of course, isn’t it obvious? When you ask them, they will tell you. The monetisation of politics is another name for corruption. They are sometimes called grand games, political structures, and all sorts. That’s what it is all about. Forget the result INEC announced.
“I can tell you, without any fear of contradiction, that the majority of votes cast were won convincingly by Obi. I see it as a heroic achievement because people mobilised themselves to go and vote. But they could not monitor or secure the votes that were cast in many places where we didn’t have agents. Even then, members of the party, without reference to us, played the role of agents and monitored proceedings across the country.
“There is a way this election has demystified money. I am not saying money didn’t play a role at the level of inducing voters to vote. Definitely, it did at the level of INEC, security agents, and others because these are all the institutions that conspired together to rig us out.”