ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has expressed dismay at the images coming out of Ekiti State in the last few hours.
Atiku said in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday that behaviours such as these are an uncivil assault on democracy and falls short of democratic best practices.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party presidential hopeful reminded that the current administration came into being because the preceding PDP Federal Government ensured free and fair elections at all levels.
“Having been a beneficiary of such propriety, it is incumbent on the Federal Government not to deprive others of the ladder it was provided by its predecessors.
“Free, fair and credible elections are not a privilege. They are a right! The peaceful congregating of the good people of Ekiti State, be they members of the All Progressive Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or of any other party, must be allowed by the Federal Government”.
Atiku observed that it is not in the place of government to harass, intimidate, hound and humiliate political opponents in an election. What government should do is to provide a level playing ground and guarantee the security of the electorate and the principal political actors in the election.
“The immunity that a president enjoys under the constitution is the same immunity being enjoyed by a state government, thus it is an aberration to democratic norms and practices in a federal system of government that one layer of government should muscle out another government on account of political differences. The democracy and fundamental human rights that Nigerians enjoy today was earned at a very high price.”
Instructions must be immediately given to all law enforcement bodies on the ground in Ekiti State to act in the best interest of Nigeria, Atiku said.
He stressed that anything that will put democracy in jeopardy in Ekiti or anywhere else in Nigeria should be stopped forthwith.
He urged those with powers over the security forces to be aware that the world is watching, reminding that democracy and freedom are inalienable rights of the Nigerian people which the Peoples Democratic Party guaranteed for sixteen years.
“It is too late in the day for anyone to think they can put that genie back into the bottle”, he said.
The former Vice President however admonished the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to douse the tension being generated over the governorship election in Ekiti State.
“It is for this reason that (he) welcomes the call by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres for the reactivation of the National Peace Committee as an instrument to stem the continued escalation of violence and killings in Nigeria. Government should take a cue from what the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API) is doing to stem violence in many states of the North east”.