The faceoff between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar seems to have exacerbated, culminating into the withdrawal of his security details earlier today.
According to a statement sent to the media today, Garba Shehu, the former Vice President’s Spokesman, the security details were withdrawn early this morning after some scathing criticism of President Yar’Adua’s administration by Abubakar.
“For daring to criticize government’s handling of the electoral reform and the near absence of governance in the country, President Umaru Yar’Adua yesterday ordered the withdrawal of security escorts to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.” The statement said.
Abubakar compared the government’s actions to similar treated meted out to him during his well-publicized fight with President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“In a move reminiscent of the autocratic style of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Yar’Adua stripped the former Vice President of his security escorts without the courtesy of notifying him.”
“The President’s action is coming barely 72 hours after the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) launched an acidic attack on Atiku’s person and character, in which the Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali crudely described him in the meanest and disrespectful terms.
“An order issued to the Police on Wednesday directed the immediate recall to the Police Headquarters of the Police Aide-de-Camp (ADC) and orderly. Policemen posted to guard his two homes in Abuja have also been recalled while the escorts covering his movement were physically taken away from him and dumped at the State Police Headquarters in Yola, Adamawa State. The policemen were later instructed to report at the Force Headquarters (FHQ) by 7:00am today Thursday.
“Earlier on, two of the policemen attached to the former Vice President who were recently promoted were requested to report at the FHQ for “confirmation” of their new rank of Inspector. But they did not return to their duty post.
“When the withdrawal order came at about 4:00pm on Wednesday, the former Vice President enquired at the FHQ and was told that this was a directive by the Presidency following a decision by the Federal Executive Council.
“After leaving office, the Presidency had requested the former Vice President to submit his security requirements, which he did and were promptly approved.
“The media assault launched against Atiku followed his criticism of the government’s luck-luster approach to the yearnings of Nigerians for electoral reforms, especially after the 2007 general elections. Atiku had told airport correspondents in Lagos at the weekend that the PDP lacked the capacity to drive the electoral reform process.
“Reacting yesterday to this latest intimidation by an increasingly intolerant government, Atiku said he would not be cowed by the PDP and its government. Atiku said he would continue to speak out against the visionless and unpopular PDP administration in the country. He said that he believed that a desperate government can resort to desperate measures, including the physical elimination of opponents.
“We are all stakeholders in the Nigerian Project. It is our constitutional right to raise concern over the way the PDP government has been running the affairs of this country. We will not be intimidated by the actions of a few desperate people in power to rattle us.” The statement concluded.