By Paul Ibe Media Adviser to Atiku Abubakar, Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007 & Presidential candidate of PDP
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has said the closure of AIT and Raypower FM owned by the DAAR Group by the APC led federal government is a throwback to the era of Decree 4 during which Gen. Buhari shackled the media.
The former Vice President warned that the suspension of the licenses of the DAAR Group and shutting down of its stations reveals a dangerous dark anti-media agenda by the Gen. Buhari administration to stifle critical voices in the country.
Reacting to the suspension of AIT licence and the closure of the radio and television station by NBC, the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election explained that the hostility of the Gen. Buhari administration to free press cannot be hidden, despite its pretended commitment to democratic values.
According to Atiku, any situation where the media cannot freely criticize the government poses a grave danger to our democracy.
The PDP presidential candidate said, the draconian action against AIT and Ray Power by NBC is only a confirmation of Gen. Buhari’s intolerance of free and critical press.
Atiku also explained that you cannot have a vibrant democratic order where the press is under totalitarian threats from a supposed democratic government.
He added that if the press is not free, the situation will inevitably lead to dictatorship and endanger our struggles to entrench democracy in Nigeria.
The Waziri Adamawa said it is impossible to love democratic values and hate free press at the same time.
He noted that democracy is not a government of kings or lords who feel superior to the people and not accountable.
Atiku warned that the war against the media is the first stage to turn our democracy into full blown dictatorship.
“Dictators want to be worshipped rather than being criticised and held accountable for performance or actions. That is why they find democratic order an inconvenience to their sinister desires to kill free speech”, he further noted.
He said if Nigerians don’t defend free speech and free press, their own freedoms might be ultimately jeopardized by the government’s intolerance of criticisms.