*Says 1999 Constitution, as amended, makes no provision for an Interim Government
* That anyone proposing any process not contained in the 1999 Constitution, should send such to NASS
* Assures that his administration is tackling banditry headlong
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has rejected the suggestion of an interim administration replacing the current one at the end of its tenure in May 29, 2023 as a call to anarchy.
Senior lawyer and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, had in a media briefing in Ado-Ekiti on Monday, called for the suspension of the 2023 general election and the setting up of an interim administration to run the country.
Afe Babalola had canvassed that the tenure of the proposed Interim Government would not be more than six months, while the composition of the membership would cut across men and women from all walks of life.
Speaking yesterday at the Aso Villa after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the security issues in his state, Governor Uzodimma disagreed with Babalola and declared that convocation of an Interim Government is a recipe for anarchy.
Uzodimma, noted that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, does not have any provision for such circumstance, adding that an interregnum would throw the country into anarchy because the constitution did not provide for it.
His words: ‘By May 29, 2023, 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, 2023, 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.
“The Constitution is like a Bible. 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”, he said.
The governor further likened the proposal by Afe Babalola to a landlord abandoning his property and opting to rather become a tenant.
Former military president Ibrahim Babangida when he was forced to step aside in the aftermath of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election had inaugurated an Interim National Government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan.
On the killing of an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official in Ihitte Uboma, the governor disclosed that the attack, which ended up with the officials, was originally targeted at the Correctional facility at Okigwe, which had already been heavily fortified as the plot to attack the facility had been uncovered.
He disclosed that two of the bandits who attacked the INEC officials, who were in the process of voter registration exercise, had already been arrested and had started helping security operatives in their investigations.
“The incident that happened that involved INEC staff, regrettably INEC was not the target. We had the intels that the Correctional Center facility in Okigwe was to be attacked by bandits.
“We recorded their conversation and fortified the Correctional Center for safety. And true to it, the bandits, approaching Okigwe, saw how fortified the place is, tried to escape through Ihitte Uboma and ran into INEC staff when they were doing continuous voter registration. It was out of that anger and frustration, they (bandits) attacked them.
“You must have heard that two of the bandits have been arrested and are helping the Nigerian police and Imo state government to do a very thorough investigation and until that is done, I will not say much on that.
The Governor, who called on politicians to play politics without bitterness, said, “I am no longer in doubt on those sponsoring banditry in Nigeria.”