Dr Josef Enoh, the South-East former spokesperson of the President Bola Tinubu campaign council of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has stated that there will be consequences for the “unguarded comments” made by the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and his running mate, Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, against the Nigerian government and the Supreme Court.
Onoh spoke against the background of the comment by the LP vice presidential candidate who stated on Arise TV interview that the Supreme Court did not declare Tinubu as winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
The APC chieftain cautioned that Datti-Ahmed and Peter Obi’s statements before and after the Supreme Court judgment were capable of bringing hatred against the current government, which would instigate members of the public to want to take over the government by unlawful means.
“In my opinion, exercising freedom of expression of one’s opinion doesn’t amount to treason. But Baba-Ahmed’s freedom of expression ought to have been limited by law, being fully aware of the Presidential election tribunal and Supreme Court judgments, hence his current statement and that of Peter Obi can be at best defined as treasonable felony.
“I want to sound as a warning to Baba-Ahmed Datti, Peter Obi and the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and all other Nigerians with political interest exercising the habit of holding that the Constitution guarantees free speech and freedom of expression.
“Irrespective of the fact that Section 39 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression and the press, and ordinarily, this right covers all forms of communication, including that of Baba-Ahmed Datti as currently made, but the same Nigerian Constitution also allows for permissible limitations to that right.
“However, just like every other right guaranteed under the fourth Chapter of the Constitution, Datti should not forget that the right to freedom of expression has certain limitations, including the law of defamation, hate speech, the law of sedition, cyber-bullying etc.
“Section 45 of the Constitution, which allows for the derogation of the right to freedom of expression in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health. The laws criminalising sedition and treasonable utterances were made pursuant to Section 45 of the Constitution, as it relates to public safety, order and defence.
“A final warning to Baba-Ahmed Datti and the rest who have failed to realise that there’s a limit to political rascality.
“Following same ideology, the Administration of President Bola Tinubu with the support of all Nigerians, we will collectively build a do- it-yourself nation, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Nigeria.
“Be assured that any further unguarded and insightful comments from any quarter will no longer be tolerated, and will be met with equal consequences within the ambient of the law. If you wish to dare our resolve, you will definitely not have the luxury to go and verify.”