Labour Party’s candidate in February’s presidential election, Peter Obi, achieved something commendable in the speech in which he reacted to the Tuesday judgement of the election tribunal. The judgement does not favour him as the judges affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu.
Although he rejected the decision and has vowed to take the case to higher levels, he remained largely courteous in his statement. As a matter of fact, he still reserved some appreciative words for their lords. For instance, he refers to the panel as ‘the esteemed body’ in one of his sentences. Well, he subtly tackled them linguistically in some areas. Watch the use of ‘seeming’ here, for instance: “We acknowledge the court’s contributions to due process and the seeming attempt to strengthen our democracy.” Seeming? Not the same thing as real!
More importantly, Obi – or his speech writers – is likely to have caught some people unawares based on the appearance of a word in his presentation. That is ‘coterminous’, which is relatively uncommon.
According to Cambridge Dictionary, it means having or meeting at a shared border or limit:
“As petitioners in this case, we respect the views and rulings of the court, but we disagree with the court’s reasoning and conclusions in the judgment it delivered. It is my intention as a presidential candidate and the intention of the Labour Party to challenge this judgment by way of appeal immediately, as allowed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The PEPC has rendered its judgment, but that esteemed body is not the final arbiter. The responsibility now falls on the Supreme Court. I do know that judgment is not coterminous with justice. I implore Nigerians to remain focused, steadfast, and peaceful; abide by the rule of law, and understand that this matter has not reached its logical conclusion.
“The strength and value of our democracy reside in solid national institutions and our confidence in them. Electoral litigations will be almost unnecessary and nonexistent if the Independent National Electoral Commission discharges its statutory functions creditably, transparently, and with discernible fairness. When that body fails, as it did recently, thus subverting the will of Nigerian voters, the recourse to the judiciary becomes imperative, as is now the case.
“I thank every Nigerian who has supported our cause and campaign for a New Nigeria characterised by fairness, equity, justice, the rule of law, peace, prosperity, inclusiveness, sustainable growth, and development. A New Nigeria is possible and achievable. I especially thank our legal team, the Labour Party and Obidient Family, and all those who showed up daily during the court trials. God bless you all, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”