Influential socio-cultural bodies, including Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum on Friday endorsed the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to challenge the outcome of last Saturday’s election in court.
In a statement signed by Professor Ango Abdullahi, Chief John Nwodo, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark and Dr. Pogu Bitrus the forum said the decision was constitutional.
“We see his decision as patriotic, responsible and ultimately the highest contribution to the democratic system,” they said.
The forum, however, added that it had reviewed major developments leading to the elections, the management of the electoral process from the conduct up to the announcement of the result and observed that the polls were marred by 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 according to 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 the use of Smart Card Readers and preventing agents and observers access to all processes is to condone the massive setback which the election has presented for the country.
The forum commended the statesmanship and commitment to the democratic process of the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Wazirin Adamawa, to exhaust the entire democratic process by challenging the results in court.
The leaders 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 demoralise and intimidate the judiciary to create a conducive context for litigations. We remind the judiciary that it is the last defense 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.”