By Taiwo Adebowale
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has warn the APC government to desist from taking actions that may push us further down the slippery slope towards a major constitutional crisis that could derail the electoral process.
Addressing a World Press Conference at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on the State of the Union on Monday, January 28, Atiku stated that General Muhammadu Buhari must remember that he is a beneficiary of a free and fair election. It is therefore a matter of honour for him to allow a political environment and process that gives confidence to everyone.
Atiku, who is also the leader of Nigeria’s political opposition, reminded the world that Buhari has “serially assaulted the National Assembly, a separate arm of government that represents the bastion of our democracy. However, with this attack on the judiciary, General Buhari has set a new precedent in our democracy that has no equivalence in our history, not even in the darkest days of military dictatorship. This cannot be allowed to stand”.
Atiku, after commending all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria who have expressed outrage over the unlawful removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, declared that this latest action by General Muhammadu Buhari falls squarely within the pattern of executive lawlessness that has now been firmly turned into statecraft by the APC government.
In Atiku’s words, “the issue at stake is not whether the Chief Justice is guilty or not, but whether his removal from office has been done in accordance with the process specified in our constitution”.
Atiku declared that no mission or goal, no matter how noble or well intended, should be used as a pretext for the subversion of Nigeria’s democracy and democratic institutions.
The former Vice President added that to create a condition that allows the constitution and the rule of law to become secondary to any other agenda is to pave the way for tyranny.
He also declared that history is replete with odious dictators whose path to dictatorship started with statements of good intentions and that Nigerians must therefore remain vigilant in defence of their democracy.
Atiku declared that he believes that this present challenge has imposed on all men of good conscience and patriots, yet again, the duty to rise in peaceful defense of democracy, for which so many have laid down their lives.
He said the surest weapon against tyranny is the democratic will of the people and that the people of Nigerians have consistently demonstrated their preference for democracy.
The PDP Presidential Candidate concluded his State of the Union speech by saying that the primary responsibility to resist tyranny and protect democracy in Nigeria ultimately lies with Nigerians and consequently called on them to seize the opportunity of the coming general elections to vote in defense of democracy and the rule of law.