–Says 2 persons arrested over killing of INEC staff

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA–THE Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma on Tuesday described the suggestion by the legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola that an interim administration should be set up at the end of the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari as a call to anarchy.

The Governor also said that two persons have been arrested in connection with the killing of a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Ihitte Uboma.

He further said that INEC was not the target of the attack as intelligence report has it that the Okigwe Correctional Center was the main target before security was beefed up at the premises of the facility.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the governor pointed out that the nation’s constitution has no room for an interregnum. 

Governor Uzodimma wondered what would be used to determine the interim government if there is no election to replace the current administration.

Asked about his opinion on Babalola’s suggestion, he responded: “By May 29, if there is no elected government, our constitution has not provided for an interregnum. There shouldn’t be a gap, otherwise, you are creating room for anarchy. 

“What will be the process of selecting the interim government because, after May 29, the President may not have constitutional powers to function as a President anymore? So, I don’t think we will decide to abandon our constitution. 

“Constitution is like a Bible. For some of us who are Christians, the Bible is the manager of our faith. So, the Constitution should be the instrument guiding our actions as a country. 

“If you think there is an opinion you think that is worthy to be canvassed superior to what is in the Nigerian constitution, such opinion should be taken to the National Assembly and they will through due process amend our constitution to factor in such an opinion.” 

The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, had given his advice to the Federal Government at a press conference on Monday, stressing the need to suspend the 2023 elections to allow a six-month interim government after Buhari’s tenure. 

He said that a new constitution to address insecurity, economic, political, and other excruciating ills bedeviling the nation, would then be evolved. 

The prominent lawyer advocated the suspension of 2023 elections until Nigeria has “a new-look peoples’ Constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and non-executive president.”  

Babalola said that 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 same constitution has made politics become not only very attractive but the only lucrative business in Nigeria today.  

“What this means is that any election that holds under the present scenario will end up producing transactional and recycled leaders, with no ability to turn things around,’’ he said.  

Babalola similarly suggested that the new constitution should also provide that there shall be no salary, but sitting allowances only for lawmakers.  

He further stated: “It should provide a true federal system of government, instead of the expensive presidential system of government. I suggest a parliamentary system of government, with a unicameral legislature.  

“The new constitution should also provide a body at the local, state and federal levels to screen all aspirants on the sources of their wealth and means of livelihood, a criminal record which includes pending suits.” 

On the killing of INEC staff in Ihitte Uboma, he said based on intelligence that the Correctional facility in Okigwe was targeted to be attacked by bandits, the facility was immediately fortified, adding that out of frustration, the bandits opened fire on people at the INEC registration center.

The Governor, who called on politicians to play politics without bitterness, said, “I am no longer in doubt on those sponsoring banditry in Nigeria.”

He also appealed to Nigerians to be more patriotic and place national interest above any other personal consideration.

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