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Atiku accuses Tinubu, APC of undermining democracy

The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Bola Tinubu and his party, the All…

The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Bola Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), of using underhand tactics to undermine democracy.

Atiku, in a statement on Monday by Paul Ibe, his media adviser, said just like in Lagos when President Tinubu was governor, the president is now deploying a series of tactics to undermine the opposition and turn the country into a one-party state.

He accused the judiciary of turning itself into a willing tool in the hands of the ruling party, alleging that the third arm of government has become “cash and carry”.

The former vice president said the situation is getting more curious that all the states where the courts have made controversial declarations are states being controlled by the opposition political parties, adding that “what the ruling party missed out on Election Day are being delivered to them through the courts.”

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He said: “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.”

The former vice president, however, said, “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 were 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.

“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 had defected to the ruling party. These are the crude methods that Bola Tinubu has employed in order to reduce the ranks of the opposition and consolidate his hold on power.

“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?” he quizzed.

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Similarly, the PDP also said the decisions of the Court of Appeal in Plateau State were already generating tension capable of escalating into a full-blown crisis in Plateau and other parts of the country.

The party in a statement by Debo Ologunagba, its National Publicity Secretary, on Monday said citizens are already taking to the streets in protest and called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to immediately set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to probe the alleged public boasting by leaders of the APC that they have persons in the judiciary, particularly at the appeal and supreme courts to do their bidding.

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 The presidency has asked Atiku and his party, the PDP to stop raising false alarms, saying it was “irresponsible and a disservice to our country for the opposition, after failing to observe the letters and spirits of the law, to now turn around to tear down an important arm of our government.” 

 In a statement by Bayo Onanuga, the president’s Special Adviser on Information and strategy, the Presidency said it was unbecoming of Atiku and PDP to attempt to mud-sling the judiciary just because verdicts did not go in their favour, when the same party had, as recently as 2019, benefited immensely from similar judicial pronouncements. 

 “We once again implore Atiku and PDP to stop their campaign of calumny and blackmail against the judiciary and the honourable judges and justices. Judgments are based on law and evidence. In election petition cases, they are based on the Electoral Act and the Constitution, not on sentiments and emotions,” he said. 

 He also said, “Unlike Atiku Abubakar, President Tinubu’s records as a democrat par excellence and a strong advocate of the rule of law have been globally acknowledged. 

 “His record of service as governor, which witnessed giant strides in various facets of the state, was responsible for the dominance of his political structure in Lagos and not by any undemocratic conduct, as Atiku Abubakar wants the public to believe.” 

 Efforts by one of our correspondents to get a reaction from the APC last night failed. However, recall that in reacting to a similar allegation by the PDP acting national chairman, Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum, on November 16, the APC in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Barrister Felix Morka, said the PDP had lost its purpose and is now a liability to democracy.

The APC said, “In its psychotic hypocrisy, the PDP screams to high heavens when court judgements are against it, but jubilantly extols verdicts by the same judiciary in its favour. Such anti-democratic and insanely manipulative politics is wrong and has got to stop.”

 

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