In Nigeria, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has disqualified Vice President Ibrahim Abubakar Atiku from running on the party’s ticket in next year’s presidential elections. The party said the vice president failed to submit nomination papers as of the past Tuesday’s deadline. Observers believe the PDP’s action could potentially hamper the vice president’s ambition of becoming the next Nigerian president.
Shehu Garuba is the spokesman for Vice President Atiku. He talked about what the PDP’s disqualification means to Atiku.
“It means the party which has been consumed by the arrogance of power, is trying to put up a display of how far they are willing to go in their ongoing denigration of the court system in this country,” Garuba said.
He said a high court in Abuja would make its decision Friday on the party’s suspension of Vice President Atiku.
“The court has not made their pronouncement on the status of the vice president. In fact, it is Friday December 8 that has been set aside as the date on which a high court in Abuja will give its ruling on his application of his case against the party challenging the suspension,” he said.
Garuba called the suspension of the vice president illegal and unacceptable.
“It is outrageous and simply unacceptable that the party would make such pronouncement ahead of the judicial decision. That is to say that this party has no respect whatsoever for the rule of law,” he noted.
Garuba said Vice President Atiku was not surprised by the action of the party.
“He was not surprised at all because for some time now both the party and the government of Nigeria have taken to the denigration of the judiciary. They have shown how far they can go. They are refusing to take orders given by the court of law… This is consistent with the pattern of behavior by both the party and the government,” he said.
Garuba denied public perception that the ruling party’s action has dented the presidential ambitions of Atiku Abubakar.
“Let me tell you that the vice president has very many options. In fact the vice president is not desperate for the ticket of the PDP. But the point is that somebody has to bear the pain to defend the Nigerian citizen’s right,” he said.
Garuba explained what the net move of the vice president would be in his bid to be elected as the president of Nigeria.
“You know that he has declared his intention to run and the vice president wants the court to make a pronouncement on his status in the PDP. Once that is done, he is going to make his position known on the matter,” Garuba said.
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