BY Samuel Akpan
Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, has called on opposition parties in the country to form a coalition.
Atiku said Nigeria needs a strong opposition to stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) from “turning” the country into a one-party state.
Speaking on Tuesday when he received a delegation from the national executive committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC), Abubakar said if there is no viable opposition, the nation’s hard-earned democracy will suffer.
“You have come here today to say that we should cooperate in order to promote democracy,” he said.
“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 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.
“The project of protecting democracy in our country is not about just one man.”
In the last election, President Bola Tinubu was declared the winner after polling 8,794, 726 votes.
But a merger of Atiku, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Rabiu Kwakwanso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) would have defeated Tinubu in the election.
Obi and Kwakwanso were members of the PDP before leaving the party in 2020 to seek presidential tickets on the platforms of LP and NNPP respectively.
The three candidates scored 14, 582,740 votes, which would have been enough to defeat Tinubu if they had merged or remained in the PDP.
‘INEC CONDUCTED WORST ELECTION EVER’
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election also criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the conduct of the general and cycle polls.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission conducted the worst general election in the country,” Abubakar alleged.
“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.
“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.”
Yabagi Sani, leader of the delegation, assured the former vice-president that the group would be available at any time that he needed them.