Interim Govt: Lawyers Divided Over Babalola’s Proposition

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Earlier this week, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, called for the postponement of the 2023 general elections and the introduction of a 6-month interim government after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, while the preoccupation of the interim government will produce a new constitution that will address insecurity, economic, political and other excruciating ills bedeviling the nation.

In this edition of Law and Human Rights, we sought the views of lawyers if this was an option the country should consider now?

Those who spoke include former Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, President, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; Prof. Sam Erugo, SAN; Babatunde Fashanu, SAN;  Seyi Sowemimo, SAN; Kunle Adegoke, SAN; Victor Opara, SAN; Dr Simeon  Igbinedion; Adenrele Adegborioye; Yemi Omodele; Sonnie Elimihe; Emmanuel Ochai; Babatunde Awe; Kabir Akingbolu and Gbenga Ojo.

Excerpt:

It will lead to anarchy– Agbakoba, SAN

Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, said: “Not at all. This will lead to anarchy. Rather let’s engage the problem within the time frame before 2023 as Afe is unclear how the interim government will be constituted.”

Challenge not constitution, but those charged with implementing it —Erugo, SAN

Prof. Sam Erugo, SAN, in his reaction, said: “With all due respect to the legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, his suggestion is not a good option at all. However, the call must be taken seriously because it shows that knowledgeable Nigerians are frustrated, agitated, and thinking beyond the existing legal regime for solution to the Nigerian quagmire. This is tragic. We are beginning to lose faith.

“Postponement of the 2023 general elections and introduction of a 6-month interim government after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, for whatever reason, is beyond the contemplation of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In other words, that will usher in an illegal or unconstitutional regime. Section 1(2), of the Constitution provides that ‘…Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government ofNigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.’

This is the core provision vesting sovereignty on the people, prescribing the rule of law, and form the basis for participatory government.

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