Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has warned against the likelihood of Nigeria slipping to becoming a one-party state under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But the ruling APC says it is actually strengthening democracy and not stifling it. As claimed by the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last February’s presidential election.
Speaking on Tuesday, when he hosted the national executive committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC), Atiku said:, “the project of protecting democracy in our country is not about just one man.
“You have come here today to say that we should cooperate in order to promote democracy.
“But the truth of the matter is that our democracy is fast becoming a one-party system; and, of course, you know that when we have a one party system, we should just forget about democracy.”
Atiku further tasked the leadership of IPAC, led by its national president, Yabagi Sani on the need for the opposition political parties to come together and create a more formidable front that will salvage Nigeria’s democracy from sliding into a one-party state.
“We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and the consequences of it will affect the generations yet unborn,” Atiku said.
However, Felix Morka, the National spokesperson of the APC however said “it is pitiful that a statesman of Atiku’s standing would so easily conflate the wide acceptance of (APC) among Nigerians with his irrational fear of one-party dictatorship. Perhaps, the Turakin Adamawa needs to be reminded that Nigerians are highly percipient and can differentiate between political deviance of PDP and demonstrable commitment of APC to deepening democracy and fostering our common good.”
Atiku further chided the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting the worst ever general election in the country.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission conducted the worst general election in the country.
“Recently again in the off-season election in three states, INEC doubled down on its disregard for the tenets of our democracy.
“We all can see how INEC declared a result in Kogi State where the total number of votes cast is higher than the total number of accredited voters in one local government.
“We cannot have a healthy democracy in an environment where all INEC does is to deliver the ruling party at all cost.
“That is also why I will urge you all, to appeal to lawmakers of the various opposition parties in the National Assembly to sponsor legislation that will advance the course of the constitutional and electoral reforms agenda that I shared in my recent press conference. The issue of electronic voting must be the urgent priority of the National Assembly because countries that are far less advanced as Nigeria are already doing it.
“Until our elections pass the test of transparency through electronic voting, it will be difficult for INEC to regain its credibility, and our democracy will be the first casualty of such a situation,” Atiku noted.
The APC spokesman noted that before what he described as the epic defeat in 2015, the PDP proclaimed and flaunted its plan to rule Nigeria for a minimum of 60 years.
Morka said that at that time, Atiku was willfully blind to fear of a PDP one-party dictatorship but now appears to be under the influence of a distorted vision inflicted by the debilitating serial trouncing of his party at the polls.
Morka neglected to mention that Atiku was one of the PDP bigwigs, including former Senate President Bukola Saraki, former Kano Governor Musa Kwankwaso, former House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who jumped ship to APC and facilitated the defeat of the PDP.
Morka continues: “The PDP’s brigandage, impunity and profligacy of 16 years remain unforgettable. In its brief period at the helm, APC has implemented far reaching reform of the Electoral Act and introduced technological innovations, including the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) all aimed at improving electoral transparency and deepening our democracy.
“Remarkably, Atiku and his PDP have not only consistently failed at the polls, they have proved incapable of offering a credible alternative political vision as expected of an opposition party. Instead, the PDP has sustained its free fall into the abyss of quicksand by its intractable internal contradictions and impoverished leadership.
“The PDP’s flagrant disregard for due process, another of its bane, is the reason the party fielded its National Secretary, Sen. Samuel Anyawu, as governorship candidate in Imo State in the just-concluded off-season gubernatorial election. As candidate, Sen. Anyanwu failed to resign his position as National Secretary as required by law. Is it any wonder that the Imo electorate rejected Anyanwu, who clearly did not have confidence in his own candidacy to quit his position as a party officer? Anyanwu’s greedy disposition has reportedly sparked a fresh round of leadership imbroglio at the “Wadata House of Commotion.”
“We urge Atiku to concentrate on repairing his damaged political psyche and attempt to revive his comatose PDP and leave APC out of their combined predicament. However, we welcome the former Vice President’s charge to opposition political parties to rally together to engage in opposition politics.
“On our part, President Bola Tinubu will continue, undisturbed, to justify his electoral promises in the Renewed Hope Agenda as he builds a safer, stronger and economically vibrant country for the benefit of all. That’s what Nigerians care about, that’s what they deserve.”
Yabagi Sani, who led the IPAC delegation to Atiku, said that the group had chosen to come and pay courtesy visit to Atiku because the former Vice President is a true democrat and a political leader who treads the path of detribalization and politics without violence.
The IPAC President observed that notwithstanding the glaring shortcomings associated with our elections, democracy remains the best form of government.
Noting that the former Vice President is the “issue of the democracy in Nigeria,” Yabagi said that as far as he was concerned, “the journey has just begun for Atiku”, assuring that they will be available at any time that he needs them as a group.