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Nigeria's Govt to Bar VP From Elections

Nigeria’s government says it will ban all political leaders, including Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who have allegedly being indicted by the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC), from participating in April’s presidential elections. Supporters of the vice president claim the move is yet another attempt by what they called “the powers that be” to thwart the presidential ambitions of Abubakar. Lai Mohammed is the spokesman for the opposition action congress party.

Meanwhile the spokesman for the opposition Action Congress party Lai Mohammed has condemned the government’s action, calling it illegal.

“This government has in the last couple of weeks embarked on a lot of illegal activities just to make sure that Atiku Abubakar does not run for the presidency. And in doing so, the government has abused our constitution. They have abused the law of the land, and you cant’ build something from nothing. Therefore, whatever the government is doing today, is a nullity, I can assure you,” Mohammed said.

He blamed the ruling party and the government for being behind the alleged corrupt list published by the EFCC.

“Let’s take the issue of the so-called EFCC list; I found out that, that list was actually not compiled by the EFCC. The list was actually compiled by the presidency and the ruling PDP (People’s Democratic Party) and it was given to the EFCC to publish or to announce. Now, in the first instance, the EFCC under our laws has powers to investigate and prosecute in the law courts. It has no powers to investigate and turn over the report of the investigation to the federal government,” he noted.

Mohammed said the Action Congress party has not received any formal communication from the government about its intention to ban their presidential candidate in next month’s elections.

“Absolutely not; as of 9:40 PM local time, we have not received anything from the government,” he said.

Mohammed confirmed that the party had filed a restraining order in an Abuja court.

“Today, we were at a federal high court in Abuja where the party and its candidates had gone to seek relief to enforce the fundamental human rights, and restrain both the federal government, the Arial Panel and the party from doing anything on the EFCC list,” Mohammed noted.

He claimed the government is forcing the electoral commission to flout the country’s constitution and electoral laws.

“INEC (Independent Electoral Commission) as a commission has not stood on its grounds because a lot of pressure has been brought on INEC to disqualify Vice President Atiku Abubakar. I think Professor Iwu is the single biggest obstacle to a free and fair elections, because he is being used by the presidency,” he said.

Mohammed said officials of INEC are also being intimidated.

“Three INEC federal commissioners who have been suspected of been trying to be independent by insisting that INEC has no power to disqualify anybody have been arrested today and are being alleged to have laundered money, taken bribes, etc. So you can even see now that there has been an attempt now to break the independence of INEC,” he said.