Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to undermine Nigeria’s democracy through what he termed as the party’s “snatch, grab and run” agenda.
In a statement released by his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, Atiku expressed concern that the actions of the ruling party are detrimental to the democratic principles that require the accommodation of opposition and diverse viewpoints. He explained that the ideal notion of democracy does not just reside in a representative government but is essentially rooted in the plurality of ideas, adding that for a system to be seen as truly democratic, it must necessarily accommodate opposition and opposing views.
The former Vice President cited instances of what he views as a narrowing engagement of opposition by the ruling party, claiming that opposition parties are being systematically marginalized through electoral processes and post-election court proceedings where the judiciary appears to be favouring the APC. He highlighted controversial court declarations in opposition-controlled states like Nasarawa, Kano, Zamfara, and Plateau, suggesting a trend where the courts allegedly deliver what the ruling party missed on Election Day.
According to Atiku, these occurrences are ominous signs that not only challenge faith in the electoral and judicial systems but also indicate a compromise of Nigeria’s democracy. He said, “These are ominous signs that threaten not just our faith in the electoral and judicial system but evidence that our democracy is compromised. It is also crystal clear that the ruling party will not desist from this inglorious ideology of ‘snatch, grab and run away with power.’”
Atiku also expressed concern about the Plateau governorship election petition, saying it is a confirmation of the threat echoed by an APC lawmaker in a viral video that the ruling party will compromise the judicial process to ensure its ultimate victory in the courts. He added that the times we are in are indeed ominous, and the journey ahead in rescuing Nigeria’s democracy from these buccaneering power grabbers is a long one.
The statement also made reference to the alleged stifling of opposition in Lagos State, where Bola Tinubu is considered a political heavyweight. Atiku claimed that in Lagos State, where Tinubu holds sway as godfather, opposition became an anathema. He added that the few opposition members who managed to get elected were beaten to submission, including at the Lagos State House of Assembly where the sole PDP member back in 2018 was suspended and arrested for gun running but mysteriously had the charges dropped immediately after he defected to the APC.
Recently, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) withdrew a N135bn lawsuit it had instituted against an opposition senator from Anambra State less than 24 hours after he defected to the ruling party. Atiku claimed that these are the crude methods that Bola Tinubu has employed to reduce the ranks of the opposition and consolidate his hold on power.
Atiku called on every man and woman of good conscience to come together for this common patriotic purpose of rescuing Nigeria’s democracy from these power grabbers. He said that it is time to put an end to the APC’s ‘snatch, grab, and run’ agenda, which is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
The PDP Presidential candidate’s statement has generated reactions from Nigerians, with many expressing concern about the state of Nigeria’s democracy. Some have called for a thorough investigation into the allegations made by Atiku, while others have urged the APC to desist from actions that could undermine Nigeria’s democracy.
In conclusion, Atiku’s statement highlights the need for Nigeria’s democracy to be strengthened by accommodating opposition and diverse viewpoints. It also underscores the importance of the judiciary in upholding the principles of democracy by ensuring that electoral processes are free and fair, and that justice is served without fear or favour.