Abuja - Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has slammed President Goodluck Jonathan for allegedly harassing and humiliating perceived political enemies.
He was reacting to the incident at the National Assembly on Thursday when heavily armed security operatives prevented Speaker Aminu Tambuwal from gaining access to the House to preside over the deliberation on the extension of emergency rule in the North-East.
The former Vice President, said in a statement by his media office, the “siege siege mentality” of the Jonathan administration posed grave threats to Nigeria’s democracy, the rule of law and the separation of powers as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.
“Obviously, the emergency rule has failed to stem the unrest. The Federal Government must work with, rather than against those who understand and have been elected by the people to govern,” Atiku counseled.
Also read: Tambuwal denied access to National Assembly
According to Atiku, this “crude display of power” by the President and his agents portended ominous signals for the future of our democracy, which was not a surprise as President Jonathan did not participate in the costly struggle that brought present democracy into being.
He said the behaviour of the People’s Democratic Party-led government towards Tambuwal was not decent and acceptable under a president that has committed himself to uphold the rule of law.
“This crisis highlights the absolute failure of the current PDP's idea of government: arrogant, indifferent and incompetent," Atiku asserted.
The former Vice President regretted that abuse of power by using state agents to harass, intimidate and humiliate perceived opponents by the President was not only capable of heating the polity on frightening scale, but also carried the risks of polarizing and politicizing security operatives in the country.
He reminded the President that he was elected to uphold the Constitution of the country, and not to use power arbitrarily against political opponents.
The former Vice President advised Jonathan to practice what he preached by not heating up the polity, an accusation he always directs at opposition politicians.
"What is happening at the National Assembly taken together with what unfolded today (Thursday) at the Ekiti House of Assembly is totally strange. It is not the democracy we fought for; for which many of our compatriots paid for with their lives. These free-riders should not be allowed to destroy what others built with their sweat and blood.
"It is not too late, however, for President Jonathan to pull the plug on these assaults to our democracy because it is inconceivable that the show of shame at the National Assembly is what he wanted as a birthday present," Atiku said.
Comment could not be obtained from the Presidency and ruling party ahead of publication.
- CAJ News