By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
A political pressure group, the Better Nigeria Group, BNG, has expressed its support to the decision by Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar to head to the tribunal to challenge the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as duly elected in the recently concluded Presidential elections.
The group which met in Abuja on Monday said it resolved to pledge support to Atiku’s quest to seek legal redress because “The outcome of the Presidential election which took place, on the 23rd February 2019, does not reflect the choice and the mandate of Nigerians.”
In a statement signed by BNG convener, Dickson Iroegbu and made available to newsmen on Monday, the group noted that “The spate of deliberate irregularities aimed at tilting the results toward the incumbent and the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC and the subsequent declaration of victory for same candidate is an assault on our democracy.”
The statement reads in part: “We wish to support the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to immediately resort to approach the court for redress as this strengthens our democracy, in a bid to claim the mandate which the people overwhelmingly gave to him through the ballot box.
“We frown seriously at the perceived contemplation that going to court means reneging on the peace accord, for we understand that the courts are a part of a democratic process and reaching out to them for perceived grievances, does not in any way mean war.
“It is important that the PDP candidate realises and consistently keeps in his memory, that it is not about him but those who have given him the mandate. While we understand that he may be under tremendous pressure not to approach the court, we want to remind him that anything short of that shall be tantamount to abandonment of the people’s mandate and shall be a huge disappointment”, the group said.
While pointing out the danger of letting go uncontested the outcome of the exercise, BNG argued that the nation’s democracy would be endangered, saying “This brazen impunity should not be allowed to stand unchallenged otherwise amongst other things, our democracy will be dead forever.
“The electoral process is the beacon of democracy and remains so. Elections must not only be credible, but must be seen as credible.
“The sham of an election which took place on the said date and the subsequent declaration leaves so much to wonder about credibility.”
On the violence that marred the polls in some parts of the country, the group stated: “The death of innocent citizens who have set out to perform their basic civic responsibility, in the hands of agents of government, whose primary responsibility is to protect them, is highly condemnable.”