Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria
Leaders of various ethnic groups across the country have expressed their support for the defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar to seek redress in the law courts.
The leaders under the aegis of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Ohananeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Niger Delta Forum, and Middle Belt Forum, in a joint statement released on Friday said the nation’s democracy will be strengthened by the decision of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to challenge the presidential election result declared this week by INEC in the court of law.
While hailing the decision as constitutional, the groups in their joint statement signed by Professor Ango Abdullahi, (NEF), Chief John Nnia Nwodo, (Ohanaeze), Chief Ayo Adebanjo, (Afenifere), Chief Edwin Clark, (NDF) and Dr. Pogu Bitrus, (MBF) and made available to Saturday Sun on Friday said “We see his decision as patriotic, responsible and ultimately the highest contribution to the democratic system’’
The Forum said it has reviewed major developments leading to the elections, the management of the electoral process from the conduct up to the announcement of result and observed that the polls have revealed massive irregularities and outright abuse of the electoral laws, the rules and regulations of INEC as well as the failure of security forces to remain neutral and operate within the highest standards of their calling.
“The Peace Accord was ridiculed by deliberate and open abuse of organs of the state, the denial of rights of many citizens to vote and blatant abuse of all the commitments made by the administration”, the statement said.
According to the Forum, “to decline to challenge the fictional figures, failures to respect key elements of the electoral process such as use of Smart Card Readers and preventing agents and observers access to all processes, is to condone the massive setback which this election represents for the country.”
The leaders commended the statesmanship and commitment to the democratic process of Atiku to exhaust the entire democratic process by challenging the results in the courts. They called on the judiciary to uphold the highest standards of integrity and commitment to its hallowed role by doing justice to the appeals that will come before it.
“We are aware that attempts are being made to demoralize and intimidate the judiciary to create a conducive context for litigations. We remind the judiciary that it is the last defence of our democratic process”, the statement said.
“We appeal to all Nigerians to continue to show faith in the democratic process and remain law-abiding as we await the decisions of the judiciary on a matter that will ultimately determine the quality of our democratic process and the nature of the nation we all call our own”, they added