By Anayo Okoli & Luminous Jannamike
The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and Igbo socio-cultural and political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday rejected the call for an interim government and postponement of the 2023 elections as canvassed by elder statesman, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN.
It would be recalled that based on the security situation in the country, which has raised tension, Babalola had proposed the setting up of an interim government and a shift of the general elections next year.
It’s threat to democracy — Northern elders
But reacting to the call yesterday, the northern elders did not only reject the proposal but also urged Nigerians to act in manners that reinforce Nigeria’s democratic systems and help the nation through its current challenges.
NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in an exclusive chat with Vanguard, yesterday, in Abuja, described Babalola’s suggestions as “ideas that represent threats to our constitutional democracy.”
According to him, the idea will not only hinder a lawful transition of power in a peaceful and inclusive manner, but was also entirely impractical.
He said: “Accomplished elders like Chief Babalola will be looked upon to render advice and give opinions that should help the country move on, but this particular advice is not one of such. It rehashes ideas that represent threats to our constitutional democracy and are entirely impractical.
“There are indeed many elements of our current situation and systems that require major attention, and we support any constitutional effort that will lower tensions and address threats to a peaceful and lawful transition that will prioritize addressing limitations of our constitution in an inclusive manner.
“As things stand, we join other Nigerians and politicians to act in manners that reinforce our democratic systems and help the country through its difficult, current challenges.”
Parties should zone Presidency to S-East— Ohanaeze
In its reaction, spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Nwokedi, said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo rejects the call for interim government. It is possible that Chief Afe Babalola, a gentleman and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, somebody who is going for uprightness, is worried or tired of what is happening in Nigeria.
“What Ohanaeze wants is that Mr. President should go but not remain on seat and zone the Presidency to South-East.“What he started he should stay to complete it. The parties should zone the presidency to South-East. It is a job he started and he should complete it. That is what Ohanaeze wants.”