Home / Lead Story /  12 presidential candidates congratulate Buhari on election victory; Group backs Atiku’s decision to challenge result in court
President Buhari

 12 presidential candidates congratulate Buhari on election victory; Group backs Atiku’s decision to challenge result in court


By Abujah Racheal/Emmanuel Oloniruha

President Buhari
Atiku Abubakar

Abuja, March 4, 2019

Twelve presidential candidates in the Feb. 23 presidential election on Monday in Abuja, congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on his re-election.

Acting under the aegis of Forum of Presidential Candidates and Political Parties for Good Governance, the group said at a news conference in Abuja, that the victory was deserved.

Chairman of the forum, Mr Shittu Kabir, said “we are indeed not oblivious of the fact that only one candidate will emerge as president.

”Now that the candidate of the APC, President Buhari has been re-elected, we have no qualms accepting his victory.

”Permit this opportunity to congratulate President Buhari on his well-deserved victory at the polls.

”The pattern of voting, the large turn-out and country-wide endorsement of Buhari attests to the fact that Nigerians are pleased with him, his style of leadership and performance in the last three and half years.”

Kabir, who is a member of Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), appealed to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the election, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, not to contest Buhari’s victory in court.

He advised Abubakar to put Nigeria above primordial sentiment at this crucial time by respecting the verdict of the citizens, who gave their votes to support Buhari’s re-election.

”We urge the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to disregard the advice of those asking him to challenge the outcome of the election in court.

”To borrow the popular adage in Africa, two litigants cannot resolve their differences in court and return to the same house as brothers. President Buhari and Alhaji Abubakar are brothers.

”We strongly urge Alhaji Abubakar to drop the legal option in expressing his grievances. This is consistent with the counsel of many well-meaning Nigerians, including Chief Olisa Agbakoba and General Ibrahim Babangida.

”We also believe that the former Vice President has made a mark among Nigerians of means who have positively impacted their communities.

”We think he has a lot more to contribute to developing humanity and promoting peace and progress in our nation, even without holding any political office.

”At his age, he should now avoid any action and utterances capable of fanning the embers of discord, disagreement and violent conduct. Nigeria is greater than any personal or class interest,” he said.

The chairman called on Buhari to include everyone in his government, including those who did not vote for him.

He said that with the right investment environment, the government had put measures in place to attract investment into Nigeria in the next three years.

He pledged the group’s “continuous support and cooperation to the government and look forward to collaborating in areas of mutual interest in the task of the nation-building’’.

Kabir commended Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a credible, free and fair election, in spite of obvious lapses bothering on human error and isolated cases of thuggery and intolerance.

He charged the commission to improve on its operational logistics in Saturday’s elections and ensure that all Nigerians would be able to exercise their mandate without hindrance.

“The same advice goes to all security agencies, especially security personnel directly involved in election-related duties,” he said.

Twelve presidential candidates of other political parties had before the poll, endorsed Buhari, according to a statement by presidential spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina.

The candidates included Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance’s Shittu Kabiru, Independent Democrats’ Edozie Madu, Danjuma Mohammed of Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy, Mamman Naptali of Allied Peoples Movement and Save Nigeria Party’s Ahmed Buhari.

They said that they decided support Buhari because of advances made in security, economy, fighting corruption, infrastructure development and agricultural revolution.

In another development, however, Mr Dickson Iroegbu, the spokesperson of a political pressure group, the Better Nigeria Group (BNG), said that the group supports the decision of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, to challenge the outcome of the Feb. 23 presidential election in court.

Iroegbu disclosed this while addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

He said the group’s support was taken following hours of deliberation and consultation with stakeholders and sampling of opinions of Nigerians on the election.

Iroegbu said that the decision of Abubakar to go to court was not just about him but for Nigerians who voted for him in the election.

He said that the alleged irregularities, if allowed to stand unchallenged, would affect the country’s democracy.

“We therefore wish to support the candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, to immediately resort to approach the court for redress as this will strengthen our democracy.

“This is 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.

“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.

“There really could not be true peace in the face of so much injustice. To ask for justice so that there may be peace, was only a short term measure.

“This could be likened to dressing a dirty wound. It will never heal.

“The possible long term impact of allowing this to stay unchallenged, is so huge that the country may never recover from its impact,” he said.

Iroegbu called on the judiciary to consider the case on its merit, by the time it would be eventually filed, saying the people shall be watching keenly as the events unfold.

He said that the destiny and future of Nigeria were now in the hands of the judiciary.

Iroegbu condemned the death of innocent citizens on the election day in the course of performing their basic civic responsibility.

“We call on all stakeholders of project Nigeria to keep faith and rise to the occasion to defend our democracy and the processes that sustain it.”



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