Nigeria’s embattled Vice President Atiku Abubakar told a political rally recently if anything happens to him, President Obasanjo should be held responsible. The vice president’s comments came after the federal government removed his security details. But a court of appeal, in its ruling last week, mandated the federal government to restore Vice President Abubakar’s privileges. To date, the vice president’s security details have yet to be reinstated.
Shehu Garuba is the spokesman for Vice President Abubakar. He explains the reasons behind Vice President Abubakar’s allegations.
“The vice president was talking about the refusal by the Nigerian government to comply with the directive of the court of appeal, which last week decided he still remains the vice president. And he should remain all of the attachment of his office including his security until May 29. As things stand now, only half of the policemen attached to him, his wife and his office have been reinstated,” he said.
Garuba reiterated the vice president’s frustration over his lack of security protection.
“Only four of the nearly seventy secret service officials are now working for him. Now, the vice president has embarked on a campaign on Monday. The campaign was in the president’s state of Ogun state; Ogun state is achieving notoriety now for political violence. The vice presidents party’s office was vandalized by vandals while he was there,” Garuba noted.
He said Nigerians would have to fight for their rights or else it would be taken away.
“In Nigeria today, if you don’t fight for your right, you would see government snapping off of everything. On the particular matter of INEC [Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria], somebody has been making a ridiculous claim that the constitution has barred the vice president from contesting for elections. The electoral laws states that only your own party or the court can bar anybody from standing in this elections,” Garuba said.
He said the upcoming elections would not be fair if the front-runner is prevented from running.
“We keep making the point that there can be a free and fair elections in Nigeria where there is a deliberate policy to stop the winning candidate from running,” he said.
Garuba said INEC does not have the backing of the law to clear even the vice president’s running mate of all corruption charges.
“Even the so-called clearance that INEC says its been offering candidates, there is no basis for it in the law. So the vice president has no fears whatsoever, that he’s going to run in this election unless they resort to extra judicial processes. If they remain within the law, then we are going to run” he said.
Garuba said the vice president’s campaign camp is confident of winning its case against the electoral commission.
“We are already in court with INEC and we are absolutely sure that this case is an open and closed case. It’s very clear to the extend that the electoral commission cannot bar anybody…so they are just trying to arrogate to themselves powers they don’t have and are not entitled to. We are sure that the court will rule in our favor and the vice president’s campaign would be fully back on track,” he said.