Nigeria : Opposition asks President to adhere to his promise

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Nigeria’s opposition Action Congress (AC) party has warned the federal government that the country’s democracy is in ”great danger” due to the persistent rigging and violence in the country’s elections.

The warning, the most serious yet since the last general elections, was contained in a letter written to President Umaru Yar’Adua by AC Chairman Bisi Akande.

The party also alleged that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) planned to rig Saturday’s fresh governorship election in the northern Adamawa, home state of the AC’s presidential candidate, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, in last year’s polls.

Since assuming office 29 May 2007, following widely disputed polls, Yar’Adua has pledged to reform the country’s electoral process to eliminate rigging and violence.

But the local government elections as well as a fresh governorship polls so far held have been marred by violence and widespread manipulations, raising concerns about the President’s sincerity.

“This only confirmed our fears and set us wondering if Your Excellency ever meant any word you said on democracy, elections and indeed the Rule of Law,” the party said.

AC added: “Over the last three months, under Your Excellency’s very nose, some say under Your Excellency’s directives, a pattern of abuse of the Federal Security Forces, intimidation and arrest of the opposition leaders, use of thuggery, selective distribution of election materials, announcement of election results even in places where elections did not hold, brazen disregard for established procedures, etc, has been established beyond doubts.”

The party said it had been reliably informed that the PDP planned to use arrest of opposition leaders, under the pretext of instigating violence; use the security forces to intimidate the opposition and starve opposition strong holds of election materials, as part of alleged plans to rig Saturday’s polls.

“All these pranks betrayed a predilection for dictatorship and are pushing the country towards a one-party state, where only the PDP wins elections and only the PDP exists,” AC wrote.

The Adamawa polls were ordered after an election tribunal cancelled the election, last 14 April, of governor Murtala Nyako of the PDP over the wrongful exclusion of the AC candidate. Panapress.

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