Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, warned that the All Progressive Congress (APC’s) notion of ‘snatch, grab and run’ agenda, being perpetrated against opposition parties’ mandates, was inimical to democracy
Atiku, who was reacting to the Appeal Court judgments against three opposition governors in Zamfara, Kano and Plateau, in a space of one week, noted that the ideal notion of democracy did not just reside in a representative government but was essentially rooted in the plurality of ideas.
In a statement signed by Paul Ibe, his media adviser, the former vice president noted that “for a system to be seen as truly democratic, it must necessarily accommodate opposition and opposing views.
“Sadly and suddenly, we have seen a trend whereby the range of opposition engagement continues to be narrowed by the ruling party in Nigeria; either through the electoral process where opposition parties are rigged out with brazen impunity, or during the post-election court processes where the judiciary is conspicuously doing the biddings of the ruling All Progressives Congress.”
He said it had become increasingly apparent that democracy in Nigeria was in a state of ill health
The PDP presidential candidate also noted that it was curious that all the states where the courts have made controversial declarations were states being controlled by the opposition political parties.
“From Nassarawa, Kano, Zamfara, and now to Plateau State, where we are witnessing a situation in which what the ruling party missed out on election day is being delivered to them through the courts.
“These are clearly ominous signs that threaten not just our faith in the electoral and judicial system but evincing 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.’
“It is even more worrisome that what is playing out now in the Plateau governorship election petition 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. It, therefore, means that the times we are in are indeed ominous, and the journey ahead in rescuing our democracy from these buccaneering power grabbers is a long one. It also means that every man and woman of good conscience should come together for this common patriotic purpose.
“But we are not surprised by what is going on. In Lagos State where Tinubu holds sway as godfather, opposition became an anathema. Everyone including judges was forced to join his party. 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.
Atiku cited the case of withdrawal of lawsuit by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) of N135bn, instituted against an opposition senator from Anambra State less than 24 hours after he defected to the ruling party, describing it as ” crude methods that Bola Tinubu has employed in order to reduce the ranks of the opposition and consolidate his hold on power.”
Atiku queried: “Is it not mysterious that it was the same panel that sat and heard all the election petition cases from Plateau State before the Court of Appeal? How is it that in election cases where the PDP came first and the APC came second, the court ordered that the APC be declared winner while in elections where the PDP came first and Labour Party came second, the courts ordered a rerun in order to give the APC a chance of victory?
“As Justice Dattijo Muhammad said in his valedictory speech which has also been buttressed by Olumide Akpata, the immediate past president of the Nigerian Bar Association, the judgments emanating from courts in recent times have been questionable and show obvious compromise.”