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Nigeria may not get to 2015, says el-Rufai

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By Richard Ihediwa

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has expressed concerns that the country may not get to 2015 under a democratic regime “unless those in power change their strategy” and adhere to democratic principles.
He also backed recent statements by the Presidential candidate of the opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), who was recently reported to have said that there will be violence if the 2015 election is rigged.
El-Rufai stated this in an interview posted by an online media, Premium Times on its site yesterday. The former minister, who is now a chieftain  of CPC was reacting to questions on whether he would run for the Presidency in 2015.
Stating that he has no intention to run for political office but to reposition the CPC and use it to oust the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), el-Rufai however, said he fears if the system could be sustained up to 2015.
According to him, “I cannot predict with any degree of accuracy what can happen in politics within a few years from now. My priority right now is to rebuild the CPC. To rebuild it into a national party though mergers with existing opposition parties and so on and my hope is that if I am able to lead that and create a new national platform to challenge the PDP and get the PDP out of office, I will be a very happy man whether I am in government or not.
“All this talk about 2015 in my opinion is a distraction; on at least three grouses. First the way the country is going, I am not even sure we will get to 2015 unless those in power change their strategy and make progress we would not get to 2015. This is my honest feeling.”
He accused the PDP of exhibiting undemocratic tendencies with impunity adding that Nigerians are gradually getting fed up with the system.
“I am 52 years old. I have seen this cycle several times; bad elections, violence following elections, incompetent government, it is usually followed by the fall of that government; it has happed two or three times in my life time. The ruling party is totally undemocratic. There is nothing they do that is democratic. They rig elections with impunity; the electoral bodies, the security agencies are all with them; they have managed to even compromise some of the judges; and we pretend we are in a democracy, we are not. Once you get to that point whereby nobody believes that it is a democracy, the government will collapse. It has happed three or four times”.  Asked why he feels the system might collapse, el-Rufai said the recent political happenings mirror those that led to the collapse of some administrations in the past and warned that there could be a repeat unless the trend is checked.
“In 1964, there were bad elections in the west, there were killings and two years later the government was overthrown. In 1983, there were bad elections the west; in Ondo state, the NPN tried to steal the governorship by hook or by crook, there were killings, a few months later Shagari was overthrown. In 1993, there were bad elections which were annulled, Babangida had to leave. There is a pattern to this that people don’t want to look at. That’s why I was surprised when the government was trying to attack General Buhari because he said if elections in 2015 are rigged there will be violence. There is history. History has said that”, he said.
See full interview on page 7

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