A human rights organisation, the Save Lagos Group (SLG), has admonished President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC), to stop de-marketing the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over what it described as, “unfounded allegations of corruption.”
The convener of the group, Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, gave the admonition in a statement made available to Tribune Online, on Wednesday, saying unfounded allegations against political opponents would rather overheat the polity unnecessarily.
The group also urged President Buhari and the leadership of APC to believe in politics without bitterness, adding that they can only do this by also believing that formidable and virile opposition was one of the ingredients upon which the survival of democracy was based in any clime.
The SLG convener, who also doubled as Executive Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), challenged any Nigerian that has any evidence of corruption against Atiku to channel it through appropriate quarters instead of engaging in the campaign of calumny and character assassination over the unfounded corrupt allegation.
He called on the president to make his campaign based on issues of good governance and not to trend campaign on frivolity, noting that Nigerians were now wiser than ever to choose between the alleged empty promises of Buhari and the new hope as represented by Atiku.
Sulaiman further averred that all the 2015 electioneering campaign promises of Buhari have been cancelled at the initial stage of the present administration by saying he did not promise Nigerians but his party did, stating that Nigerians were regretting voting en mass for Buhari in 2015 because the purported APC change in governance was yet to have bearing in the lives of the Nigeria masses.
He described as a charade the recent governorship elections held in Ekiti and Osun states conducted under Buhari’s watch and alleged that government apparatus was the tool used to disenfranchise eligible voters to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice.
He further described the acclaimed war against the corruption of the Buhari led- Federal Government as a ruse and a mere witch hunt of the political opponents ahead of 2019 general election.
“Nigeria is not the Banana Republic where the citizen would just engage in character assassination not to talk of the government which has every apparatus to arrest, detain and prosecute anybody found culpable of any corrupt practices. Political actors should realise that Nigeria as a country has rules and regulations guiding the conduct of government and governed.
“We are restating to challenge any Nigerian who has any evidence of corrupt allegation against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to channel it through appropriate Federal government agencies under Buhari’s watch.
“We also appealed to Buhari’s government not to hesitate to approach any court of competent jurisdiction if there is any corrupt practice against Atiku instead of trending on a frivolous allegation in the media.
“We are not supposed to make any comment on this issue because we are not the mouthpiece for Atiku but as a stakeholder in the Nigeria democratic project, we should not allow political actors to truncate our hard-earned nurturing democracy by sending the note of warning to them on the implications of raising unfounded and frivolous corrupt allegation against political opponent.
“Rather, they should instead have an issue-based campaign on how to move the country forward in the area of employment generation, electricity, provisions of social amenities and so on,” Sulaiman said.