A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday warned against the likelihood of Nigeria slipping into a one-party state.
The former vice president who spoke when he hosted the national executive committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC), said that the project of protecting democracy in the country was not about just one man.
A statement by his Media Advisor, Paul Ibeh, stated that Atiku further tasked the leadership of IPAC, led by its national president, Yabagi Sani, on the need for the opposition political parties to come together and create a more formidable front that will salvage Nigeria’s democracy from sliding into a one-party state.
“You have come here today to say that we should cooperate in order to promote democracy.
“But the truth of the matter is that our democracy is fast becoming a one-party system; and, of course, you know that when we have a one-party system, we should just forget about democracy.
“We have all seen how the All-Progressives Congress (APC) is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and the consequences of it will affect the generations yet unborn,” Atiku said.
The former vice president further chided the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting the ‘worst ever’ general election in the country.
“INEC conducted the worst general election in the country. Recently again in the off-season election in three states, INEC doubled down on its disregard for the tenets of our democracy.
“We all can see how INEC declared a result in Kogi State where the total number of votes cast is higher than the total number of accredited voters in one local government.
“We cannot have a healthy democracy in an environment where all INEC does is to deliver the ruling party at all costs.
“That is also why I will urge you all, to appeal to lawmakers of the various opposition parties in the National Assembly to sponsor legislation that will advance the course of the constitutional and electoral reforms agenda that I shared in my recent press conference.
“The issue of electronic voting must be the urgent priority of the National Assembly because countries that are far less advanced as Nigeria are already doing it.
“Until our elections pass the test of transparency through electronic voting, it will be difficult for INEC to regain its credibility, and our democracy will be the first casualty of such a situation,” Atiku noted.
Sani, while speaking on behalf of other members of IPAC on the delegation said that the group had chosen to come and pay courtesy visit to Atiku because the former vice president remained a true democrat and a political leader who is detribalised and embraced politics without violence.
The IPAC president observed that notwithstanding the glaring shortcomings associated with Nigeria’s elections, democracy remains the best form of government.
Chuks Okocha in Abuja