Nigeria has become a fractured nation, including all its segments.
I have been saying it, in all my media platforms, for a long time now, and this could not have be less than 6 months, at least, that any call for interim government, under whatever guise, is seditious and treasonable. It is a crime that carries the maximum penalty, in the land – so says the law of our land. And this shall remain my stand until otherwise dictated by our laws.
The first call for Interim Government under this Fourth Republic came from a very senior Statesman, a legal Icon and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Pa Afe Babalola. He made the call on April 18, 2022, at Ado Ekiti. He probable pulled from his legal opinion, in realisation of the fact that the current Nigerian 1999 Constitution [as amended] might not be an answer to our problems.
Pa Afe Babalola, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, made it very clear why his call for Interim Government was inevitable, even as he developed his thought through the instrumentality of the Law, in concluding that such “government should be in office for six months to chart a new course for Nigeria” and stressing that, “the 2023 elections should be suspended until Nigeria has “a new-look peoples’ Constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and non-executive president’’.
Afe Babalola said members of the interim government should be drawn from all living former presidents and vice-presidents, some selected ministers and governors and delegates of prominent professional associations. The professional associations could be the Nigeria Medical Association, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Academic Staff Union of Universities and Civil Society Organisations. The elder statesman noted that such delegates should be elected on zero party basis.
He said it was regrettable that the current 1999 Constitution, foisted on Nigerians by the military was no longer in tune with the realities of the day.
Then came the second call for interim government, under this Fourth Republic. And this came from the Founder of House of God Church; Pastor Chris Okotie, on June 17, 2022, and he tagged his proposed Interim Government as the “Government of reconciliation and reconstruction”.
He did not arrive at that thought without a cogent reason, in his own mind anyway. Whatever was the reason of justifying such thought in his mind, couldn’t be said to make the opinion right and desirable. But it was his right, either degradingly or otherwise. Let us look at the reason why the man of God; the first pastor in Nigerian history that hung Double Barrel Gun [12 bore short gun] on his back for self-protection, advanced the proposal.
Chris stated that the government [his proposed Interim government] would eliminate the legislative arm of government in the tripartite concept of a presidential system of government and empower the various voluntary Organisations. The Clergyman explained that the professional associations would be enabled constitutionally, to acquire legislative powers as a replacement for the removal of the legislature from the country’s political system.
“The presidential system has failed this country and we need to do something before the country goes extinct. We need to do away with the Legislature. It costs us billions to maintain that structure. There are 469 people in the lower and upper chambers representing the whole of Nigeria. Expunge the legislature from our constitution and empower the Unions like the NUT, ASUU, NMA others to participate in the legislative process”, Pastor Chris Okotie said.
If there were to be nothing else, in Chris Okotie’s proposal, the mere fact that he proposed “eliminating the legislative arm of government in the tripartite concept of a presidential system of government” spoke in volumes that such thought is waxed with enough treasons in jeopardising democracy.
But a few days before the 2023 General Election, accusations from top leaders of the Ruling Political Party [APC], targeted against “Leadership, Power-that-be, Cabals in the Presidency and Cabals in the Villa, broke out voluminously. And the whole world heard it loud and clearly. Nigerians heard it very clearly – in midst of confusion and embarrassment though.
The first person to tell the story of an existence of a Cabal operating in the Aso Rock Villa, with intention of working towards enforcing an Interim Government, was the Executive Governor of Kaduna State – Malam Nasir El-Rufia.
He – El Rufai, made the allegation first before Ahmed Bola Tinubu; then the APC presidential flagbearer, in a shocking revelation, made in Abeokuta; Capital of Ogun State, alluded to the fact that Powers-that-be were trying to sabotage his presidential ambition by “gbe epo pamo” [hiding petroleum products], “won gbe owo pamo” [hiding money].
Back to when Nasir El-Rufai made the allegations, the Presidency responded violently – countering the governor, asking him to name his “suspect in the Presidency” that he meant as the Cabal.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai; a man well-known never being kind with those who dare his thoughts, replied Garba Shehu; Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, by telling him that his allegation referred to a Cabal in the Aso Rock Villa and not to the Presidency.
The Kaduna State Governor took the analysis full length from the initial introduction point; so it looked, when he started. He narrated the details of the arrangement for Interim Government be proposed at the Villa, by revealing that there was a retired General of the Nigerian Army listed [as of the time he spoke and that was weeks before the general election] as Head of the Interim Government.
The question that everyone now asks is this: where was the Directorate of State Security [DSS] when all these discussions were holding? Was the DSS not supposed to have known about this notorious, subversive and treasonable felony, ab initio, before people like Malam El-Rufai stubble into it? Or, is the DSS coming to convince us – Nigerians, that they could not investigate then because the alleged planners of Interim Government, as it were then were members of the ruling class that employ them?
Fellow Nigerians, let the truth be told, today’s DSS, like other segments of our endangered country, has been over-compromised, probably. If integrity is vanishing away from the Nigerian Judiciary – as current events are revealing, and same [integrity] has taken flight out the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC], as attested to by all International Observers that oversaw the 2023 general elections, can the DSS remain the only holy Nigerian Institution that will be standing?
It is therefore not the challenge of DSS, nor Malam Nasir El-Rufai – that has the details of the whole alleged wicked pending project; as he analysed it with perfect masterpiece, and not even that of President Muhammadu Buhari; who is the Commander-in-Chief of “all of them”. But it is a challenge and problem of a country that has been demonically over-compromised.
Nevertheless, I am not losing hope as there is still a window of deliverance – the Almighty God remains, still, our deliverer!
Godwin Etakibuebu; a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos.
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