Former Vice President and 2023 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has cautioned President Bola Tinubu’s administration against employing security agencies as tools to intimidate dissenting voices or members of opposition political parties.
This comes in the wake of allegations made by one of his aides, Daniel Bwala, against Tinubu’s government.
In a tweet on Monday, Bwala stated, “Last night I got credible intelligence that some key people around the seat of power (Presidential Aso Villa) of this government are planning to use security agencies to arrest me and take me into custody on trumped-up allegations in order to discredit me and silence me. That I am making them and the government uncomfortable.
“Let the world know today that I have always known that from my stance on the same faith ticket which led to my departure from APC and my subsequent posture as a political opposition, it might irk the deep state and come with persecution for what I believe in and stand for. If anything happens to me, let the world know today of their evil plans.”
Responding to the allegations, Atiku said the core of any flourishing democratic society lies in its ability to protect and respect differing viewpoints, ensuring transparent governance and preventing the concentration of power.
Taking to his Facebook, the former Vice President stressed that the government must embrace diverse opinions if the country’s democracy must thrive.
Atiku, who was one of Tinubu’s main challengers in the presidential poll, also emphasized that political leaders must set an example by not escalating tensions in the country.
“The ruling APC must refrain from any attempts to use our security agencies to harass or illegally detain any member or voice of the political opposition – and this call is not here limited to only members of my political party, but indeed all opposition voices including the many individuals across the internet who speak up only to seek a better country.
“The recent revelations suggesting potential suppression of voices and trumped-up allegations against opposition figures are deeply troubling. A vibrant democracy thrives not when dissent is silenced but when it is listened to, even if it makes those in authority uncomfortable,” he stated.
Atiku added that he remained committed to “seeking justice” for the oppressed regardless of the outcome of his bid to approach the Supreme Court for redress against the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Court which dismissed his suit challenging President Tinubu’s victory at the February 25 poll.
“I carry this responsibility with the knowledge that this path also carries the hopes of millions of Nigerians who by their votes sought a change in the political direction of our country.
“This responsibility is one I am prepared to lead for as long as I am here and in health, conscious that many of those whom we started together may no longer be with us but their memories remain evergreen,” the former VP said.