The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations and Political Parties for Good Governance has launched a plea to President Bola Tinubu, urging him to revoke the national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) bestowed upon Atiku Abubakar. The group contends that such an action would set a precedent and underscore the significance of respecting the office of the president.
Addressing the media in a press conference held on Thursday in Abuja, Dr. Lilian Ogbole, the convener of the coalition, reiterated the call. She criticized Atiku Abubakar’s recent press conference as a “face-saving gimmick” aimed at gaining power through the “back door” by manipulating public sentiment and fabricating untruths. Furthermore, she labeled Peter Obi’s press conference on October 11, 2023, concerning the same issue as “childish, shameful, and laughable.”
Dr. Ogbole underscored the incongruity in Obi’s request to the President for evidence that would refute the certificates and information Atiku had submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Instead of providing substantial evidence to contradict President Tinubu’s claims before INEC, Peter Obi opted for what the coalition perceives as a feeble and unserious approach.
The coalition’s convener, Dr. Ogbole, firmly stated that the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, appears to be at odds with national interests, never genuinely subscribing to the principles of democracy or respecting the rule of law. She emphasized that Atiku, the People Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the 2003 election, has a track record that raises doubts about entrusting the country’s welfare to him, as per his past leadership experiences.
Her words: “The fact that Alh. Atiku Abubakar serially lost his bid to become the President of Nigeria isn’t enough reason why he should deliberately drag the image of Nigeria and that of the coveted office of the Vice President, which he once occupied, in the mud. This is unacceptable to us, and we will not henceforth sit down and watch him do such a thing.
“As stakeholders in the business of nation-building, we wish to use this medium to call on His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to utilise the authority conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to protect the image and interest of the country by stripping Alh. Atiku Abubakar Sadiq of the national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).
“You will agree with us that a man with Atiku’s character is not honourable and does not deserve to keep the award that is meant for honourable men and women of repute.”