Former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, retracted his acknowledgment of Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s president on Friday. Obi, who was the candidate of the Labour Party and former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), are both contesting Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election through legal means. They claim that they won the election and are seeking Tinubu’s removal by the court.
Since Tinubu’s inauguration as president on May 29, 2023, neither Obi nor Atiku has addressed him as president. However, on Friday, Obi referred to Tinubu as “Mr. President” in a tweet but later deleted it.
The controversy surrounding Tinubu’s presidency arose during his visit to Lagos, the state he previously governed, on Wednesday. Supporters and political dignitaries, including Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, welcomed him. However, criticism mounted when a long motorcade accompanied Tinubu to his new private residence, with multiple SUVs speeding ahead and behind his car. This drew attention as Nigerians were already facing hardships due to increased petrol prices resulting from fuel subsidy removal announced by Tinubu in his inaugural presidential speech.
Tinubu’s media aide, Olusegun Dada, defended the motorcade in a tweet, stating that the official vehicles of the president and his aides constituted less than 10% of the motorcade. Dada explained that the other vehicles belonged to state governors, heads of security agencies, party leaders, and political associates of the president who had gathered at the airport to receive him.
Amidst criticism and defense from Tinubu’s supporters, Obi initially commented on the situation, stating that sacrifices for a better Nigeria must begin with leaders at all levels of government. He mentioned that he had not seen the video allegedly showing “Mr. President” with a 120-car convoy. However, Obi later deleted the tweet and replaced it with another that did not address Tinubu as president.
In his revised tweet, Obi emphasized the need for leaders to visibly and measurably address the suffering of the people, stating that sacrifices must start from the leaders themselves. He highlighted the importance of leaders taking the forefront in addressing the hardships faced by the Nigerian population.[logo-slider]