Nigeria?s Vice President Atiku Abubakar says the country is drifting into a dictatorship and has urged his supporters to elect new leaders in this year?s general elections. Abubakar returned to Nigeria Sunday after a vacation in the United States. He said the government refused to allow people other than his close relatives to welcome him home. But Atiku opponents have described his assertion as unfounded.
Abubakar spokesman Shehu Garuba says the Vice President believes the government?s refusal to allow his supporters to welcome him home is an illegal act.
?Two things he cited in that speech: one, he said that as a democracy, state governors who are somehow independent entities in a federal democracy ought not to be subjected to dictation by the central federal government?governors were prevented from going to the airport to welcome the Vice President on his return, which is illegal,? he said
Garuba said journalists at the airport were prevented from covering the Vice President?s return.
?His own supporters were not allowed into the airport facility to welcome him. Instead the government allowed only twenty persons from family and a few personal staff to go to welcome him. Journalists were not allowed to go in there to report on his arrival,? he said.
Garuba said the Vice President?s attorneys have filed a suit warning government officials of the repercussions in refusing to carry out court orders that have ruled the Vice President privileges should be restored.
?As I speak to you now, the Vice President?s lawyers have also written a petition, a notice of the consequences of non compliance, which they have sent to the Attorney General and the security service chiefs, warning them of the consequences of the failure to carry out the order as given by the court,? Garuba noted.
He said the court?s order was supposed to be carried out with immediate effect but the government has so far failed to do so.
?The court said go back to where you were before the recent altercation. And our assumption was that it was clear enough that all of these things including the office and the residence to be fully reinstated as they were?but as it is, evidence on the ground is that there is still a lot that needs to be done,? Garuba noted.
He said opponents of the Vice President who are dismissing his allegations are not being honest.
?The man who made that statement himself either suffers from amnesia or selects or chooses what he wants to remember and what to forget. The chairman of the PDP (the ruling People?s Democratic Party), Col. Amadu Ali, was the one who has himself described the party as a garrison, and that his position is as a commander of the military garrison. Where is that kind of democracy in that kind of situation,? he asked.