….Calls for the merger of opposition parties to present a formidable front
By Chimezie Godfrey
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has warned against the likelihood of Nigeria slipping to becoming a one-party state.
The former Vice President made the remarks on Tuesday when he hosted the national executive committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC).
According to the former Vice President, “the project of protecting democracy in our country is not about just one man.
“You have come here today to say that we should cooperate in order to promote democracy.
“But the truth of the matter is that our democracy is fast becoming a one-party system; and, of course, you know that when we have a one party system, we should just forget about democracy.”
Atiku further tasked the leadership of IPAC, led by its national president, Yabagi Sani on the need for the opposition political parties to come together and create a more formidable front that will salvage Nigeria’s democracy from sliding into a one-party state.
“We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and the consequences of it will affect the generations yet unborn,” Atiku said.
He further chided the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting the worst ever general election in the country.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission conducted the worst general election in the country.
“Recently again in the off-season election in three states, INEC doubled down on its disregard for the tenets of our democracy.
“We all can see how INEC declared a result in Kogi State where the total number of votes cast is higher than the total number of accredited voters in one local government.
“We cannot have a healthy democracy in an environment where all INEC does is to deliver the ruling party at all cost.
“That is also why I will urge you all, to appeal to lawmakers of the various opposition parties in the National Assembly to sponsor legislation that will advance the course of the constitutional and electoral reforms agenda that I shared in my recent press conference. The issue of electronic voting must be the urgent priority of the National Assembly because countries that are far less advanced as Nigeria are already doing it.
“Until our elections pass the test of transparency through electronic voting, it will be difficult for INEC to regain its credibility, and our democracy will be the first casualty of such a situation,” Atiku noted.
Yabagi Sani, while speaking on behalf of other members of IPAC on the delegation said that the group had chosen to come and pay courtesy visit to Atiku because the former Vice President is a true democrat and a political leader who treads the path of detribalization and politics without violence.
The IPAC President observed that notwithstanding the glaring shortcomings associated with our elections, democracy remains the best form of government.
Noting that the former Vice President is the “issue of the democracy in Nigeria,” Yabagi said that as far as he was concerned, “the journey has just begun for Atiku”, assuring that they will be available at any time that he needs them as a group.