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.
Atiku, through his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, expressed concern that the actions of the ruling party are detrimental to the democratic principles that require the accommodation of opposition and diverse viewpoints.
Atiku, in a statement, explained that the ideal notion of democracy does not just reside in a representative government but is essentially rooted in the plurality of ideas, saying 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.
“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.’
“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.” He said.
The statement also made reference to the alleged stifling of opposition in Lagos State, where Bola Tinubu is considered a political heavyweight.
“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.
“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.
“These are the crude methods that Bola Tinubu has employed 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 to give the APC a chance of victory?”