By Soni Daniel, John Alechenu & Olayinka Ajayi
Abuja—After many months of rumours that a section of the political class was planning for an interim government in order to truncate the result of the recently-concluded general elections, the Department of State Services, DSS, formally confirmed yesterday that the plot was real.
Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, who disclosed this in a statement, said the agency had identified some key players in the plot but did not give the names of the masterminds.
The agency said the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot, including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
The statement read: “The DSS 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.
“The illegality is totally unacceptable in a democracy and to the 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 supports the President and Commander-in-Chief in his avowed commitment to a hitch-free handover and will assiduously work in this direction.
”It also supports the Presidential Transition Council and such other related bodies in the states. It will collaborate with them and sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure seamless inaugurations on May 29, 2023.
“Consequently, the DSS strongly warns those organising to thwart democracy in the country to desist from their devious schemes and orchestrations.
“Stakeholders, notably judicial authorities, media and the civil society, are enjoined to be watchful and cautious to avoid being used as instruments to subvert peace and stability of the nation.
“While its monitoring continues, the DSS will not hesitate to take decisive and necessary legal steps against these misguided elements to frustrate their obnoxious intentions.”
Contacted for his reaction yesterday, office of the President-elect simply said ”no comment.
Nigerians won’t be intimidated into submission —LP
The Labour Party has said it was confident that Nigerians won’t be intimidated into abandoning their legitimate, legal right to seek judicial redress to reclaim their mandate which was freely given to the LP Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi which was brazenly stolen.
Chief Spokesperson of the Labour Party, Dr Yunusa Tanko, said this in response to an alarm raised by the Department of State Services, in Abuja, yesterday.
Yunusa said: “We are certain that Nigerians who want to take back their country will not be intimidated or blackmailed into abandoning a legitimate course.
“As a party, we have submitted ourselves to pursuing the course of justice through constitutional means, it will not serve as interest of democracy collapses in Nigeria.
“We will like to ask, where was the DSS when our members and other Nigerians were being attacked, maimed and killed especially in Lagos?
“Where was the DSS when MC Oluomo and his ilk were engaged in ethnic profiling and violence against Nigerians of a certain ethnic nationality over their democratic choices?
“We needed the DSS to step up its game then but it failed. If it had done what it was supposed to do our nation would have been the better for it.
“Now that Nigerians have decided to follow laid down democratic procedures of drawing attention to injustice warnings and threats are being issued.
“The DSS ought to have issued these warnings from the beginning to show Nigerians that this country belongs to all of us and not the personal fiefdom of an individual or a group.
“We urge the DSS to send these words of caution to those bigots who are pushing this country to the brink of disaster with their utterances and violent conduct against other peace loving Nigerians who do not subscribe to their political views or speak their language.”
DSS should go beyond announcement —IPAC
Also reacting to the allegation, chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Committee, IPAC, Yabagi Sani, yesterday, urged the DSS to apprehend those found culpable of the plot.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme tagged ‘Politics Today’, Sani, said: “The announcement could further create tension.
“It may serve as a deterrent to others. I heard in a report that the Labour Party Presidential running mate, Datti Baba Ahmed said the president-elect should not be sworn in. Are they talking about Datti Baba-Ahmed?
“The law enforcement agencies should not shy away from their responsibilities. Like you said, if you start arresting opposition politicians, it will send wrong signals because some would call it witch-hunting. In the United States of America, when President Donald Trump wanted to interfere with the process of inauguration of President Joe Bidden, they took action. I believe as much as we commend the DSS, they should go beyond that. This democracy is too precious. If there are people that want to disrupt it, the agencies that are put in place should do just that. The police are there, the DSS are there and even the presidency has a role to play.”
The federal government had said on Tuesday that nothing would stop the inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, advising aggrieved presidential candidates to go to court for redress.
Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this while addressing journalists in plans for the handover ceremony in Abuja, also said even court cases would not stop the inauguration.
Mustapha, who is also chairman of the Transition Committee, had said: ”All litigation, whether resolved or not, will not in any way stop the process. The President is not spending a day extra in office.
”The security committee has the responsibility to ensure that nothing happens to truncate the transition process. Nigerians are very law-abiding people.
”Whoever has lost an election, there are provided avenues for those people to make whatever legal inquiry they want to make but the process would continue unabated. We would not create another constitutional crisis. On May 29, the handover will take place.”