Former Vice President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressive a Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, said Tuesday in Abuja that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as presently constituted is defective and cannot conduct free and fair elections in the country.
The former vice president also said that members of the party canvassing for automatic ticket for particular candidates are afraid of electoral contest, adding that the issue of automatic ticket is a foregone conclusion within the party.
Speaking with journalists at his residence in Abuja, Tuesday, Atiku said that asking him not to contest the presidential election is like asking him to give up on Nigeria, saying, “I cannot give up on Nigeria because I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
He said that “I think those canvassing for automatic ticket are scared of contest. There is nothing to be scared of in a contest in a democratic setting.
“How can you canvass for automatic ticket in a democratic process? There is nothing like that. These are people who are afraid off contest.
“I can assure you that there will be nothing like a one man show. Even at the last convention, the offices that were not contested for were not up for election and election took place for those offices that were contested. We stayed there throughout the day till the following day when results were announced.
“I have already said that there is nothing like automatic ticket and that those asking for automatic ticket are definitely scared of a contest.
“You know that the APC is an amalgamation of a number of political parties that came together, relinquishing their identity. But having been constituted, the APC cannot escape an elective primary.
“There is no zoning for you to say there should be an automatic ticket and there will be no allocation like they do in the Peoples Democratic Party.
On zoning, Atiku, who is expected to formally declare his presidential ambition soon said, “As far as zoning is concerned, we don’t have zoning in the constitution of the APC. So, the race is open for everybody.
“That is why you hear that the Rochas Okorochas are also contesting. So, we don’t have zoning in the APC like the PDP. It is entrenched in their constitution which has been violated as far as zoning is concerned.”
While describing the APC as a better alternative to the PDP, the former vice president said “So far, the internal democracy we have practiced in the APC is a better alternative than what is being done in PDP.