Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has warned against what he called a consistent pattern of departure from constitutional due process to tendencies of authoritarianism.
In the statement released Monday, the former vice president said the foundation of a democratic society was the guarantee of fundamental human rights that gives the citizenry the freedom of speech, freedom of movement and the ability of the people to belong to any lawful association that they deem inclined.
Recalling the recent campaign by youth across the country against the brutality of the anti-robbery unit of the Nigeria Police, SARS, Mr Abubakar noted that up till now there had yet to be a fundamental reform in the operations of that unit.
“Today, across our major cities and even in the hinterlands, citizens – especially the youth – can hardly walk freely in open avenues without the police stopping them to search through the content of their mobile handsets.
“Opposition politicians are regularly being hounded on wanton criminal and civil prosecutions. All of these narratives have become a consistent pattern of behavior that is antithetical to an open and democratic society.
“In many of the states across the country, there is a reign of fascism with governors who have suddenly become overlords dealing ruthlessly with anyone who dares to challenge their ruthless foothold of intimidation and oppression.
“Perhaps at this point, we need to remind ourselves that the democracy which we enjoy today did not come cheap price. It came at the cost of supreme price paid by persons that included Chief MKO Abiola, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Maj-Gen Shehu Yar’Adua, Chief Alfred Rewane and Bagauda Kaltho, among thousands of other patriots,” he said.
Abubakar added that democracy was not merely a mechanism of appointing a government, saying “its beauty is in the inherent safeguard to the citizenry to live and prosper as free people under the law”.