Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is calling for a boycott of the ongoing local government elections under President Umaru Musa YarAdua’s administration. The former vice president, who was also the presidential candidate for the opposition Action Congress Party in last April’s elections, said a participation by any of the opposition parties would amount to giving credibility to what he described as flawed elections that brought YarAdua to power.
He also said he would not recognize President YarAdua’s administration despite pressures for him to do so. Abubakar also said that if the April election was allowed to stand, Nigerians should forget about witnessing credible elections in the future.
Both Abubakar and Muhammad Buhari of the opposition Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) are challenging the April elections.
Shehu Garba is the spokesman for the former vice president. From the capital, Abuja he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the ruling party wants to have a one-party state.
“The concerns of the vice president and his party, the Action Congress, are the premise on two major issues. One is that, you know that by his own admission the so-called Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had itself say that the voters’ register in Nigeria was not complete, and that it was not good enough for any new election. This was the chairman of INEC Professor Iwu saying this immediately after the disastrous elections in April. Now, from then to now, no additional work has been done on the voters register,” noted Garba.
He said the electoral commission, by its action, flouted the constitution.
“That requirement of the law, which says that the voters register should be put up on display for inspection for claims and objections is still to be satisfied. But more importantly, the elections have actually commenced in a few states. So it’s very clear that PDP (ruling People’s Democratic Party) has learned nothing from the April elections and that they are bent on foisting a one-party rule over this country,” he said.
Garba said it would be in the interest of President YarAdua’s administration to take the former vice president’s call seriously.
“As a matter of fact, it’s for the government to heed this call. Since we all have gone before the courts seeking their own ruling in the April elections, will they not wait for the court to rule on the legality of the processes? Because in this matter it is not just the result, but also the processes involved in the elections. So therefore, it is like the PDP government in this country is not prepared to even wait to take any correction. They are bent on doing the same thing all over again, and that should concern any democrat in this country,” Garba pointed out.
He dismissed as total garbage speculations that the former vice president is desperate.
“Desperate for what? I know that the former vice president has always said that whether he becomes the president of Nigeria or not, that is for God and the Nigerians to decide. But he is concerned about his place in the history of this country. Somebody has got to stand up to make sure that the right things are done in all cases. This democracy has to be rescued. We don’t want to lose all that we have built over the last eight years. If he has any concerns, it is the fact that one his concern about the due processes of the law and that democracy, as a form of government should be at all cost sustained in this country. Nobody wants a PDP totalitarianism in this country,” he noted.