The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, on Friday, vowed to pursue justice through the courts “to ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted”.
He was reacting to the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the election of candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari.
The PDP candidate had challenged Buhari’s victory but the tribunal in a September 11 ruling dismissed his petition.
In his first official statement since the verdict, Atiku thanked Nigerians who have so far supported his aspiration for the highest office in the land.
“I write to personally thank you for your support for our shared common goal and the solidarity I enjoyed from all walks of life and every strata of society, right from July 21, 2018, when I informed you, the good people of Nigeria, that I would contest the 2019 Presidential election, to Wednesday, September 11, 2019, when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal rendered its verdict,” he said.
The former vice president said he is seeking the judicial route to ensure that he gives back to Nigeria, the country that took him from the streets to affluence.
Atiku stated that he wants to ensure “democracy is not just done, but seen to be done” and also ensure “that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny”.
“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.
“I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.
“If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker. If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.
“And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.
“It is for this, and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted.
“Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality, will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.
“We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way so that our judiciary is not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation,” the PDP presidential candidate said.
Atiku thanked members of the PDP for their unanimous support for the judicial resolve after it was announced the tribunal ruling would be appealed.
He urged Nigerians to continue to support his quest for justice and hold the belief that justice would be done.
“I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships. Once again I thank you all for your support.
“I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal.
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief in Nigeria,” he said.