DSS And Interim Government Scare

Casmir Igbokwe

The bugaboo in town today is interim government. Some prophets and prophetesses did mention it in their recent prophecies about Nigeria. Now, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be frightened of it. Even the Department of State Services (DSS) has become fretful about it. Recently, the spokesman of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, said the service had identified some key persons plotting to install this interim government. Their strategy, he added, was to use protests and court orders to frustrate handover of power to the next administration. Hence, the secret police would not hesitate to take decisive and necessary legal steps against the alleged plotters to frustrate their intentions.

This story just doesn’t add up. Granted, some of those who had protested against the outcome of the February 25 presidential election asked for an interim government. But, does this equate to planning to install one? Will the so-called plotters cast a spell on President Muhammadu Buhari not to swear in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as President on May 29? Will protesters just come to the swearing-in arena with cutlasses to chase everybody away and truncate the transition programme? Or is it that the court will issue an order to stop the swearing-in ceremony?

Tinubu’s Director, Public Affairs and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, started this storyline a few days ago. He issued a statement warning that those who were allegedly bent on delegitimizing the incoming government were fixated on having an interim government. He had earlier claimed the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, and his running mate, Dr. Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, had made inciting comments and should face arrest and prosecution for treasonable felony. He sent his petition to the DSS.

Let me make it clear, I am not in support of any interim government. It is not in our constitution and has no place in our democracy. There are clear and democratic ways of transiting from one civilian government to another. It starts with an election which usually produces winners and losers. If the election is contentious, losers can approach the courts for redress. After all that, the president-elect is sworn in on a day set aside for it. In this instance, it is May 29.

Nigeria’s presidential election was held on February 25, 2023. Obviously, there were some infractions during the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in its wisdom, pronounced the candidate of the APC, Tinubu, as the winner of the election. The second position went to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) came third while the candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), Dr. Musa Kwankwaso, came fourth.

To most APC members and supporters, the election was one of the best in the history of the country. But to the opposition parties and most election observers, it was a sham and a travesty of democracy. Both Obi and Atiku are in court already to challenge the outcome of the election. I had thought that since the matter was in court, the combatants would give Nigerians some respite to mourn their numerous existential problems.

But that is not to be. It is unfortunate that each time there is real or perceived tension in the country, the DSS comes up with an alarm about plots to destabilize the country or stage a coup. In 2019, when Buhari won re-election, the DSS regaled us with the story of plots to destabilize the country. It did a similar thing in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The recent alarm came on the heels of President Buhari’s assurance that he would hand over smoothly to Tinubu on May 29. So why are we losing sleep over nothing? The DSS said it had names of interim government plotters. What stops it from making those names public? What stops it from arresting and prosecuting them if it is sure of the alarm it has raised? Or, is this a prelude to arrest Atiku and Obi as some people have alleged? Is it a matter of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it? Otherwise, what has Obi done beyond going to court to seek justice? Has anybody ever heard him inciting his followers to be lawless?

There are many threats to our democracy and even corporate existence as a nation which the secret police appear not bothered about. I have not heard the DSS raise any alarm about violence, thuggery, threats, ballot box snatching and other terrible things politicians do during elections. I have not heard the service caution APC and Tinubu’s apostles like Femi Fani-Kayode, Bayo Onanuga, Musiliu Akinsanya also known as MC Oluomo, and others who deploy threats, hate speeches and ethnic slurs against non-Yoruba residents of Lagos. Considering the combustible nature of such ethnic profiling as happened in Rwanda in 1994, I had thought that our secret police would have invited Onanuga and co. to explain why they should not be charged to court for plotting to ignite ethnic warfare in Nigeria. If they had employed the swiftness with which they arrested Eze Ndigbo in Ajao Estate, Lagos, Chief Fredrick Nwajagu, in arresting MC Oluomo, Lagos would have been calm on the Election Day. There wouldn’t have been attacks against non indigenes and non APC members in some parts of Lagos. Nwajagu was arrested last Saturday for threatening to invite the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to help secure Igbo property in Lagos against attacks by hoodlums.

The DSS should stop chasing shadows. It should rather focus its attention on the real enemies of Nigeria such as some principal officers of INEC. In one of my recent interventions on this page, I declared that INEC was Nigeria’s number one enemy. Nothing has happened to change this assessment. If the electoral umpire had maintained absolute independence and neutrality in the election, there wouldn’t have been any need for the DSS to fret about any phantom plot.

The DSS should also focus on security personnel. Oftentimes, they stand by and watch party thugs commit violence and thuggery on Election Day. Some of them even aid and abet the commission of electoral offences. Has the DSS intelligence not picked up these unpatriotic actions?  How has it tamed the Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists who have continued to attack and kill innocent Nigerians, including schoolchildren, with impunity?

It is pertinent to note that the current government is becoming a bit intolerant of critical views. The other day, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) slammed N5 million fine on Channels Television for a live broadcast of an interview with Yusuf Datti-Ahmed. There are many other examples of this intolerance.

These are all part of the tactics to cow Nigerians and make them swallow whatever the ruling party and its agents throw down their throats without question. But there is always a limit to fascism. We must understand that we are running a democratic government which should be accountable to the people. When the people in power try to suppress the power of the people either through rigging of elections or intimidation and scaremongering, the atmosphere usually looks sombre. But, it is for a little while. Eventually, the people’s power triumphs over any other power.

 

Re: Interim government and APC’s soup-guzzling elders

Casmir, which type of soup are these truculent APC elders guzzling? Is it gbegiri and ewedu, edikai kon, ogbono soup or pepper soup (lol)! The mere mention of interim government now makes Tinubu, Fanny Nonsense, Keyamo, Onanuga etc nervous! Mc Oluomo is protecting his ‘income’ as APC’s ‘hatchet’ man in Lagos and a major channel of revenue to his masters. When it comes to matters of the stomach, the likes of Onanuga have no sense of decorum or integrity. Keyamo is learning fast from Fanny Nonsense. A dog that follows a pig would ultimately eat faeces and vomit rubbish. The illegality of swearing in a Tinubu that has not fulfilled the requirement to be sworn in as president would be worse than having an interim government that could be made legitimate through a ‘doctrine of necessity’ by the National Assembly. The assignment of this interim government is to organise a free and fair election within six months. FCT Abuja is not a state. It does not have the features of other states in Nigeria. It has no people elected governor or state assembly. It is administered by a minister who is an appointee of the president. Invariably, the president is indirectly in charge unlike the states where governors are in charge. Thus, FCT Abuja cannot be counted as a state. It is a separate entity and should be accorded such as stated in the demand of section 134(2).

-Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +234 816 111 4572

 

Abiola’s June 12 Election, though truncated by evil forces, had witnessed a landmark celebration by Nigerians across the country. In the same vein, when Nigeria was collapsing, Buhari’s second coming was heralded with joy. Tinubu’s coming was attacked right from its primary stage. His Pyrrhic victory is now emitting all sorts of incendiary comments, arguments and resentment across the land. The very shameful and defeatist acts of the Oluomos, Onanugas and Kayodes can only come from people who have no sense of pride and dignity and without the innate ability to get what they want on merit or hard work. They feel threatened having been overpowered in their very Lagos land. And what is there to show that the entire Yoruba in Lagos and Osun voted for Tinubu or all the Igbo voted against Tinubu? Note that there are also people of Yoruba descent who want to wrestle themselves from Tinubu’s stranglehold. He lost the Lagos that he purportedly built because some Yoruba also voted against him, even at the background of massive rigging, disenfranchisement and intimidation of voters. So, what about his home state of Osun which he lost and the sophisticated Abuja electorate that voted massively against Tinubu? The worst form of criminality is to foist oneself on a people who have not freely given one their mandate. The majority of Nigerians are yearning for a new order. But this very sad development is akin to a team ‘winning’ against the run of play. It is a situational irony: hence, the present calmness of a graveyard.

-Edet Essien Esq. Cal. South, +234 810 809 5633

 

Dear Casy, elders all over the world are noted for exemplary ethical standard of behaviour which, naturally, attracts to them respect anytime, anywhere. But when such exemplary behaviour is absent from elders, what we get in return are, to wit: (1) respect disappears; (2) social values crumble; (3) society decays; (4) the concomitant obnoxious effects become stratospheric. When you juxtapose the above scenario with the situation where the APC elders, contained in your piece, some of whom have not gone beyond their ethnic cocoons, have reduced themselves to the point of squealing more than the proverbial millipede that they stepped upon in the last elections, we need no tutorials to understand that, when these set of elders surround the new president when he assumes office, Nigerians will be in for another round of socio-economic and political slavery. Very unfortunate!

Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.

 

Igbokwe, I’m just sick, concerning the ethnic slurs against the Igbo, and other ‘nyamiris’ in Lagos. Please can somebody give me a reason why Nigeria should not disintegrate? Look, Lagos was developed with Ogoni and Niger Delta oil & gas money, so what are those few Yoruba ethnic irredentists ranting about? So if we should copy those unrepentant few Yoruba ethnic irredentists, Lagos will be paying reparations to Ogoniland and the Niger Delta. Instead of spilling blood, let’s go our separate ways peacefully and we can have diplomatic relations.

-Barry in Ogoniland, West Africa, +234 803 435 6380

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, April 3, 2023

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