The confirmation by the Department of State Services (DSS) Wednesday of a plot by “misguided political actors” to foist an interim government on the nation is as worrisome as it is condemnable, reprehensible and a treasonable felony.
The finding of the agency is coming a few weeks after the presidential, national assembly, governorship and state houses of assembly elections that led to the emergence of elected representatives while litigations instituted by candidates, who disputed the outcomes, are ongoing in the courts.
The DSS warned those involved in the alleged plot to desist from doing so or face the full wrath of the law, vowing to take decisive steps, in collaboration with other security forces, against those plotting to undermine democratic rule.
It also called on the judiciary, the media and the civil society to be wary of such plotters. The secret police said it identified some key players in the plot to set up an interim government in the country.
A statement issued in Abuja and signed by the DSS spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, said it “considers the plot, being pursued by these entrenched interests, as not only an aberration but a mischievous way to set aside the constitution and undermine civil rule as well as plunge the country into an avoidable crisis”.
It said, “The illegality is totally unacceptable in a democracy and to peace loving Nigerians. This is even more so that the machination is taking place after the peaceful conduct of the elections in most parts of the country.
“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 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 said it fully supports President Muhammadu Buhari in his avowed commitment to a hitch-free handover on May 29, 2023, and would work assiduously in that direction.
Sequel to the DSS report, security experts and politicians in the country have warned against a repeat of the June 12 crisis in 1993. A United Kingdom based security expert, Bulama Bukarti, said any form of government other than an elected government is illegal and unconstitutional and should be resisted.
He called on the DSS and other relevant security agencies in the country to nip the plan in the bud, and bring the plotters to book. He urged judicial officers to issue ex-parte orders judiciously in the overall interest of the country, recalling how such court orders contributed to the annulment of June 12 presidential election in 1993.
In his reaction, the national chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Yabagi Sani, challenged the DSS to name and arrest those plotting interim government. “The law enforcement agency should demonstrate that nobody is above the law. You know, if you start arresting opposition politicians, it will send a signal that, maybe, it is witch-hunting. Look at what happened in the USA on January 6 when Trump wanted to interfere with the process of inauguration of President Joe Biden; something happened and they took action”.
Another security practitioner, Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed Jabi, who is the secretary-general, International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS), said those contemplating an interim government should be subjected to summary execution.
Also, the coalition of civil society organisations had in Lagos frowned on some Nigerians clamouring for the setting up interim government, instead of handing over to power to President-elect Bola Tinubu, on May 29, 2023. They warned those criticising the outcome of the 2023 general elections to desist from such act as such was capable of truncating the country’s democracy.
The coalition reminded Nigerians that the democracy the country was enjoying now was not gotten on a platter of gold, saying that some citizens laid down their lives for it, while others suffered one form of deformation or the other during the struggle and, as such, should be guarded jealously.
Flowing from the foregoing opinions of Nigerians across the divide, including civil society organisations, it is evident and crystal clear that the alleged plot for an interim government is against the will of the overriding majority of the citizenry. Just in case they have forgotten, the plotters need to be reminded that Nigeria is yet to fully recover from the June 12, 1993 crisis which trailed the annulment of what was described as the freest and fairest presidential election won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola.
Coincidentally, the just-concluded February 25, presidential election was won by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a kinsman of the late Abiola of the Yoruba extraction. It will, therefore, be preposterous, a grave injustice and a declaration of war not just against the winners of the 2023 general elections, but also the Yoruba and the entire South-west geo-political zone to truncate Tinubu’s presidency. This will be unacceptable and resisted by patriotic Nigerians and democrats around the world.