With less than four weeks to the commencement of the general elections, the African Democratic Congress has urged voters to reject the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress on account of gross incompetence, failure to provide basic security for citizens, and desperate actions geared towards killing what is remaining of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.
The party also called on President Buhari to warn his “attack dogs” to stay away from its presidential candidate, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, and refrain from pressurising him to betray his alliance with a travel ban.
In a statement issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Yemi Kolapo, the ADC noted that the recent hounding of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnogen, preluded by the selective harassment of key figures in the opposition “bears so much attributes to the book ‘How Democracies Die’ by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, professors of government at Harvard University.”
The party added: “No doubt, the handlers of President Muhammadu Buhari have read the book and are acting the script in-toto. Unfortunately, like all the blunders the APC is known for, they copy blindly and don’t see the blind spots and even understand the thinking of the people.”
The party said a letter was recently transmitted to the Comptroller General of Immigration by a committee led by Oboi Okono Obla, “who himself is embroiled in a certificate forgery scandal”, listing a number of Nigerians to be barred from traveling out of the country, with Mailafia included.
It stated: “Upon visiting their offices, he was hounded and traumatised over an allegation of missing funds in the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2006. Granted that time will never cover up for any crime perpetrated by anyone, the question now is: if actually he committed a crime, no matter how frivolous it is, why is the sin being punished three weeks to presidential election?
“Why are the open and underground Buharists intimidating influential ADC members, and indeed other members of the CUPP, with actions aimed at forcing them to align with a failed party, and a failed cause?”
The ADC said Buhari’s signature anti-corruption war had proven to be a mere ruse as many tainted opposition politicians, with cases pending before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, “suddenly become saints once they decamp to the APC.”
It said: “APC is a party without honour or principles. Those they condemned yesterday are suddenly whitewashed once they join the party. This is why we say the anti-graft campaign is lopsided; it is a weapon to drive formidable opposition elements underground.”
The statement quoted the book: “How Democracies Die,” as saying: “Many government efforts to subvert democracy are legal in the sense that they are approved by the legislature or accepted by the courts. They may even be portrayed as efforts to improve democracy – making the judiciary more efficient, combating corruption or cleaning up the electoral process. Newspapers still publish but are bought off or bullied into self-censorship. Citizens continue to criticise the government but often find themselves facing tax or other legal troubles. This sows public confusion.
“People do not immediately realise what is happening. Many continue to believe they are living under a democracy. Because there is no single moment – no coup, declaration of martial law, or suspension of the constitution – in which the regime obviously ‘crosses the line’ into dictatorship…democracy’s erosion is, for many, almost imperceptible.”
The party, however, stressed that like Venezuela, under Maduro and Hugo Chavez, Like Adolf Hitler and his Nazi madness, Like Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe and other places where the leaders killed democracy, the people’s will would triumph in Nigeria.
It said: “The APC government may wield and control all the power at this point in Nigeria’s history, but God’s will for Nigeria will be done. Using the institutions of state to carry out a counterfeit leadership crusade will fail! We advise the APC to appreciate the fact that Nigeria is not like other countries that tolerate sit tight tyrannies, Nigerians are brilliant people who have discerning abilities and capacities to chase a tyrant out.”