MONTHS before the 2023 presidential elections, the Nigerian social and political spaces were awash with rumours of an impending interim government. It was alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari would not hand over power to the winner of the February 25 election, which was keenly contested by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress,Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the resurgent Labour Party. It was also rumoured that the military would take over power from the retired General.
TENSION was heightened by the sudden power blackout in many parts of the country, the diversion of petrol supply, leading to unimaginable fuel scarcity and the ill-implementation of naira redesign and cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The hardship faced by Nigerians with these factors led to several protests in major cities, casting uncertainty on the general elections.
SHORTLY after the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, there have been several protests and court injunctions to truncate the president-elect’s inauguration. The media, especially the social media platforms, are filled with bitter remarks and comments that can incite ethno-religious crisis.
TO exacerbate the lingering tension in the country, the Department of State Service, DSS, confirmed the rumour of an interim government being orchestrated a few days ago. DSS, in a statement through its spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said the agency had identified some key players in the plot but did not give the names of the masterminds. The agency said the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot, including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
ON all fronts, we roundly condemn any call for an interim government in Nigeria. Constitutionally, politically, and legally, it is an aberration. Such a call is not only undemocratic but treasonable. As obtained in a progressive democratic setting, aggrieved individuals, groups, and political parties are constitutionally allowed to approach the courts of competent jurisdiction for redress.
ORGANISING protests, blackmailing, and inciting the people against the current and the incoming governments are condemnable and treasonable acts. We implore every aggrieved party to do the needful than plunge Nigeria into an avoidable crisis as witnessed from 1993 to 1999.
For those who were yet to be born and those who have forgotten history, the annulment of the 1993 election that produced Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola as the winner and the installation of an interim government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan led to another military rule in Nigeria.
SHONEKAN’S government was short-lived and was toppled in a military coup d’état on November 17, 1993. General Sani Abacha, one-time Chief of Army Staff and Secretary of Defence, took over as the new Head of State. The joy of a new democratic was, therefore, truncated. Abacha’s reign was one of the most troubling periods for Nigerians as fundamental human rights were indiscriminately trampled upon and supporters of democracy were either incarcerated, forced into exile or killed. Chief MKO Abiola became the President Nigeria never had after being imprisoned. He died in foggy circumstances shortly after he was released following Abacha’s death in 1998.
WE join the Department of State Services to implore the judiciary to avoid being used to sabotage the political process and smooth transition of power from President Muhammad Buhari to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
WE equally call on media organisations to live up to their social and developmental responsibilities and avoid publications that will subvert the peace and stability of our dear nation.
THE HOPE also admonishes the youth and the civil liberty organisations in the country not to join the unscrupulous elements calling for anarchy and instability. Engaging in violent protests, destroying lives and property and destabilising the Nigerian polity are not for the country’s progress but for the benefit of those fanning the embers of discord through the call for an interim government. If their beloved candidates had won the February 25 election, would they have called for the installation of an interim government?
THE people and political parties dissatisfied with the conduct and results of the February 25 presidential election should approach the court as obtained in a democratic setting rather than plunging the country into avoidable crisis. Using tribe and religion as tools to promote their political agenda will only throw Nigeria into unimaginable ethnoreligious war. As Bertrand Russell said, “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”