The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has written to international community, alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari is threatening Nigeria’s democracy.
In the letter sent to the Ambassadors of France, Germany, the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA) and the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom (UK), Atiku accused Buhari of “serially breaching the provisions” of the Nigerian constitution and undermining organs and institutions of state to advance his personal interest. He noted that while President Buhari took oath to safeguard and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the oath was observed in the breach.
“I am writing you as Nigeria’s international development partner working together to deepen and strengthen our democracy as well as to help in the transformation of our economies and societies for the better,” Atiku said in the letter.
He noted that the rule of law is integral to promoting and preserving the values and principles of democracy, but regretted that the actions of President Buhari forced one to think otherwise.
“As a presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections that will be conducted and supervised by the government of President Buhari, I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the general elections that are only a couple of weeks away.
“We acknowledge with profound appreciation the positions taken by some members of the international community in Nigeria and urge Your Excellency to add your country’s very strong voice against these breaches of Nigeria’s constitution. Your voice is very important to the survival of Nigeria’s democracy,” he stated. Among the constitutional breaches allegedly committed by the president, according to Atiku, is the recent suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and his replacement by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
According to him, the action of the president, not only breaches the Nigerian Constitution, but also an assault on doctrines of separation of powers.
“To attempt to muscle out the Chief Justice of Nigeria, using phony charges at a time when His Lordship was primed to play a central role in the fast approaching nationwide electoral process, represents the boldest steps in the march to undermine our democracy. “This is undoubtedly an anti-democratic act which my political party and I reject without reservation and for which I urge Your Excellency to condemn unequivocally,” Atiku demanded.
The former vice president expressed the fears that the unlawful suspension of Justice Onnoghen might affect the outcome of the 2019 presidential election. Atiku also accused President Buhari of illegal purchase of Tucano Aircraft for the Nigerian military.
The aircraft, valued at $496 million, the PDP candidate said, was bought without seeking prior approval of the National Assembly contrary to Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). He further accused the president of disregard for serial court orders, and cited the case of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki and Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
Atiku disclosed that various courts have granted Col. Dasuki bail on at least six different occasions, including ECOWAS Court, but the Buhari-led government has persistently refused to comply with the court orders. Other infractions committed by the president, according to Atiku, were his approval of $1 billion for military expenditure without approval of the National Assembly, as well the enactment of Executive Order No. 006 (Preservation of Suspicious Assets and Related Schedules).
“The above, and many more that did not make it into this very short letter, are the unfortunate actions of the government of a man who merely pays lip service to being a reformed democrat.
“General elections are upon us yet again. I urge you to partner with Nigerians to defend our constitution and play an active role in building our country. “The choices facing all of us are either to stand aside and watch Nigerians re-elect a president who has been in constant violation of the laws of the land without remorse; or to support them show him the way out and elect a true democrat. We must send a clear message that the Nigerian Nation is bigger than any individual,” Atiku warned.