The plot for an interim government is real but will fail, the Department of State Services (DSS) warned yesterday.
It said there was a conspiracy to set aside the constitution and install an interim government after May 29 by “misguided” political elements.
The secret police warned against moves to scuttle democracy, vowing to do all within its powers to frustrate the scheme.
It said it has identified key players in the plan, but opted not to name them.
DSS spokesman Dr Peter Afunanya, in a statement, warned those behind the plot to thwart democracy to retrace their steps.
Afunanya said the Service 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 the civil rule.
The agency said the aim was to plunge the country into an avoidable crisis.
The statement reads: “The planners, in their many meetings, have weighed various options.
“These include, among others, sponsoring endless violent mass protests in major cities to warrant a declaration of a 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 other related bodies in the states.
“It will collaborate with them and sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure seamless inaugurations come 29th May, 2023.
“Consequently, the Service strongly warns those organising to thwart democracy in the country to retract 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.”
A security expert and lawyer, Bulama Bukarti, condemned the idea of an interim government, noting that it is illegal and unconstitutional.
Speaking on Channel’s Politics Today, Bukarti urged international partners not to recognise any government that comes to power through unconstitutional means.
“Interim government or whatever name it is called is illegal and unconstitutional.
“It has no basis in law and nobody in Nigeria has the right to install that kind of government. Therefore we should stop such illegal calls.
“I call on Nigeria’s international partners, especially Nigeria’s Western partners, to take this threat seriously.
“They should make it clear that they will not accept any government that comes into power through unconstitutional means.
“They must sanction any individual that is involved in the kind of things that the DSS is warning us about,” he said.
National Coordinator of South West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA) Senator Dayo Adeyeye described those calling for an interim government as anarchists and doomsday prophets.
To him, such calls amounted to inviting a coup.
The SWAGA chief urged the Federal Government to arrest those behind the plot and ensure the law takes its course.
He said they were sponsored by internal and external forces, and expressed confidence that Tinubu would be sworn in on May 29.
Adeyeye said the rejection of the outcome of the presidential election was an assault on democracy.
He berated protesters who went to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja to advocate for a return to military rule.
He described them as saboteurs who should be severely punished.
Adeyeye said: “Those calling for the interim government do not wish Nigeria well. It amounts to calling for a coup. That will never happen.
“Nobody wants a return to military rule. Protesters who knelt down in front of the Defence Headquarters in Abuja were sponsored. I am amazed they have not been jailed.
“By the time Tinubu is sworn in on May 29, agitations will fizzle out and everything will die down.”
A pro-democracy group, Patriots in Defense of Democracy, called on security agencies to caution against those behind the inflammatory statements capable of heating the polity.
Its convener, Tosin Adeyanju, made the call during a special prayer session to mark the 71st birthday of President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The group frowned at proponents of the annulment of the presidential election, warning against a repeat of the June 12, 1993 debacle.
“If their excesses are condoned; if they suffer the criminal fantasy that they can repeat the imbroglio of June 12 1993, we shall demonstrate that the spirit of NADECO is alive and active, and we shall not go abroad.
“We shall battle and defeat them on the field and wherever they call for battle.”
The DSS’ alarm came on the heels of Tuesday’s protest at the Army Headquarters by some persons calling for the return of military rule
Since the February 25 presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections, there have been claims that some aggrieved politicians were working to stop the May 29 handover to new democratic leadership.
The DSS had on Saturday warned politicians against peddling “hate speech” and all forms of “false narratives” to ignite violence.
Minister of State for Labour and Productivity Festus Keyamo had petitioned the DSS to invite the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi; and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their post-election comments.
Baba-Ahmed had faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for issuing a certificate of return to Tinubu and his running mate Kashim Shettima.
Speaking during a programme on Channels, he said: “Swearing in Tinubu and Shettima is as good as swearing in the Nigerian Army on the 29th of May.
“If you swear in people who have not satisfied the requirement (of 25 per cent in the FCT), you have by so doing ended democracy.
“The crisis I am telling you about is that our democracy is going to end by the way we’re going.
“This democracy is going to end on the 29th of May, 2023. Please, write it down.”
When cautioned by the anchor for holding extreme thoughts, Baba-Ahmed said: “Swearing in a ticket that has not met the constitutional requirement is ending democracy. Quote me on it….
“Mr President, do not hold that inauguration. CJN (Chief Justice of Nigeria), Your Lordship, do not partake in unconstitutionality.”
Baba-Ahmed’s comments were despite his and Obi’s pending petition before the Presidential Election Petition Court challenging Tinubu’s declaration.
Credit: The Nation