Afenifere Warns On Interim Govt, Threat Against Swearing In On May 29… Calls On Judiciary Not To Allow Itself To Be Used To Scuttle Democracy…Challenges DSS, Police To Act

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has warned against any step that can jeopardize the handing over of the rein of power to elected officers come May 29, 2023.

The warning, which was contained in a Press Release signed by the organization’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, was prompted by reports of steps being taken that may be prejudicial to the swearing-in of winners of the just concluded elections come May 29th.

Such steps included the attempts to rubbish the outcome of the said elections especially the presidential election that took place on February 25th, the resuscitation of the calls for the formation of an Interim Government and protests or rallies being conducted especially in Abuja and the United States of America against the result of the said election.

Afenifere spokesman stated that the organization felt so concerned about the untoward development because of how it is gaining currency in the country and even outside the shores of the land.

It would be recalled that the Directorate of State Services (DSS) last week confirmed that moves were indeed on to scuttle the planned inauguration.

The DSS, stated as follows: “The planners, in their many meetings, have weighed various options, which include, among others, to sponsor endless violent mass protests in major cities to warrant a declaration of a State of Emergency. Another is to obtain frivolous court injunctions to forestall the inauguration of new executive administrations and legislative houses at the Federal and State levels”.

The DSS, which is the country’s secret police, described those behind the move as people with ‘entrenched interests’ who are working on foisting an illegality that is “totally unacceptable in a democracy and to the peace loving Nigerians”. Afenifere spokesman reminded those who are fanning embers of non-inauguration to be aware that the monster being courted would affect not only the Presidency to be headed by the winner of the election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

“The disruption will affect all other tiers of government as well, governors at the state level, the legislatures at the national and state levels and perhaps the local government areas.

“There is therefore the need to exercise a lot of caution. The laws of the land created avenues to seek redress when we are aggrieved. We enjoin those who may not be satisfied with the outcome of the concluded elections to seek redress through the established channels and NOT through any other means. It is also important to let members of the public realise that anything short of following due process, particularly in the swearing-in of winners of the just concluded elections, constitutes grave dangers for the country. This must not be accepted or encouraged at all because of its dire consequences” Ajayi counselled.

He also called on the Judiciary not to entertain cases that may be brought to derail the hard-earned civil rule and thus scuttle our democracy.

The legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola earlier last year mooted the idea of an Interim Government.

It can be recalled that he did so at that time largely due to the extent to which insecurity has gone in the country and the depth of uncertainty that was prevalent in the land.

Afenifere however asserted that “the successful conclusion of a general election this year has provided the country another opportunity to re-invent itself. We believe that the government that will be formed at the expiration of President Mohammadu Buhari administration on May 29 this year will open new (positive) vistas for the country. The new government, a product of the process created by the Nigerian Constitution i.e. electoral process, elicits hope of a new lease because of the acrimonious air and near despondence in the the land.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC) the President-elect. Presently, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr. Peter Obi of Labour Party, first and second runners-up in the presidential election are challenging Tinubu’s victory in the court.

But going by the law of the land and experiences in the past, the fact that such cases are in the court cannot stop the inauguration. Meaning that a new government should take over in Nigeria come May 29. Changes can come later if the courts so decided. But for 2015 when the then President Goodluck Jonathan decided not to contest his defeat in the court, virtually all the presidential elections we have been having since the present civil dispensation in 1999 have been contested in the courts. At no time did the filing of such cases stopped inauguration. In the case of some governors whose elections were later overturned by the courts, they were initially sworn-in and were governing. They vacated their offices only after the court process had been exhausted. The situation can not be different this time around. As for those who are pushing for an Interim Government, this should not be allowed to happen first because it is alien to our law books and also because we have had an experience of it in the past. Not only was the experience unpleasant, it was retrogressive. It is a path we should not tread again for any reason. Especially since there is no basis for it whatsoever.

In view of the setbacks the contraption of Interim Government always brings, it is important to let its advocates know that it is an ill-wind that blows no-one any good. Those of them who, simply because they were uncomfortable with the result of February 25, Presidential election, want the baby to be thrown away with the bath-water.

“Ordinarily, it could be said that the allegation of steps capable of jeopardizing the handing over to the President elect on May 29th is unreal. Doing so however would be playing the ostrich going by the confirmation by the DSS, opinions expressed against it by such groups and individual like Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Barrister Olisa Agbakoba, SAN APC Governors’ Forum etc.

”The apprehension of one Mr. Obiajulu Uja, from Oji-River Local Government Area, Enugu State, a confessed ‘Obidatti’ adherent who was inciting Nigerian in an Abuja-Lagos flight last Saturday evening was also cited as an example of how not to seek redress.

Ajayi stated that attention is being called to these things because some undiscerning youths may think that it is the way to go.

“No, it is not. The way to go is to realise that there would always be winners and losers in elections. And the only option opened to the aggrieved is to go to court and not the street or to make inciting statements”.

Ajayi also felt that those insinuating that the allegation of an Interim Government plan might be a ruse should remember that most things of this nature always begin as rumours in Nigeria.

“Since we know that it is fraught with danger, it is very necessary we make it known that it would be unacceptable”.

He then called on the DSS and the Police to swing into action by apprehending those they suspected as being behind the nefarious plot rather than just confirming the knowledge of it.

“It is by so doing and by taking the culprits to court that members of the public would believe that the security agency is not just crying wolf or selling a dummy”.

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