PRESS STATEMENT ON PLANNED PROTESTS BY OPPOSITION PARTIES: OUR SILENCE IS NOT COWARDICE
We have watched with great concern the condemnable activities of some persons and groups who are desirous of truncating our democracy. For reasons best known to them, these persons have remained embittered that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared winner of the 2023 General Elections. Repeatedly, but unfortunately, these misguided individuals have called for either the cancellation of the results or that the President-elect should not be inaugurated on the 29th of May, 2023.
We wish to reiterate and emphasise that these positions are not in tandem with our constitutional provisions or our electoral laws. We would have taken these as mere wishful thinking, however because of their implications for national security and public order, we have therefore considered it necessary, if not expedient, to call them to order.
We are aware of the intentions of those engaged in these treasonable and subversive acts. We also know those involved in the many plots being contrived to undermine the transition in particular and democracy in general. They are fixated with an Interim Government. They have done it in this country before and it threw the country into avoidable crises for many years and they want to do it again. They are bent on delegitimizing the new government. Some have made treasonable insinuations and openly called for military take-over. It is for these reasons that they are desperate to incite the people against the incoming Government.
It is perplexing to see that those contesting the results want to be in the courts and on the streets at the same time. However, if their intention is to truncate the inauguration of the President-elect and Vice-President elect, they should immediately bury the thought. It is gratifying to note that the President has set in motion steps for the actualisation of the swearing-in ceremonies. In this regard, the Presidential Transition Council has remained focused and committed to its Terms of Reference in respect of organizing a hitch-free handover.
On many occasions after the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the election, his public speeches and utterances have centered on reconciliation, forgiveness and greater vision for Nigeria. He has pledged fairness as the basis for his present and future engagements. He has unequivocally stated that he would not accord favour to those that supported him, neither would he mistreat those who did not vote for him. This is statesmanly and patrotic. We all watched the President-elect as Governor of Lagos for eight (8) years. He never undermined any person or tribe. He championed people-oriented policies. It is common knowledge that he is a welfarist and a pacifist. This is even more so that millions of citizens have spoken through the ballot box in his favour.
By being declared winners, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima are legally entitled to be inaugurated into office AS PROVIDED for by law and AS WE HAVE PRACTICED SINCE 1999, whilst those that feel otherwise have the right to seek legal redress in court. Why should their situation be different from what we have practiced since 1999?
Those who are dissatisfied with the declaration MUST conduct themselves within the ambits of the law. Nigeria is not a lawless country and should not be portrayed as such no matter the frustrations as presently being exhibited by some bad losers.
Those who are stoking the embers of hate, division and falsehoods as well as peddling misleading narratives through some compromised media outlets should detract from such. It amounts to campaigning after elections. Hate speeches, fake news and propaganda at a time like this are needless because Nigerians have already made their choice. Those who are bent on scuttling the process will ignite the fire of destruction and run away. But they should not even start.
We simply wish that peace reigns in the country. It does not make sense that some persons who should know better are encouraging violence and are so determined to achieve that. We know these persons and their sponsors from within and outside Nigeria and we shall be working closely with the security agencies to apprehend them and bring them to book. Our concern is that everyday Nigerians who are unaware of the evil intentions of these persons should not be used as cannon fodders. Enough is enough. Their continuous determination to dare us should cease forthwith. We are not lacking in capabilities and capacities. Our silence should not be taken for cowardice. We should come together for the peace of our beloved country. It is better.
FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN, FCIArb(UK)
· Director, Public Affairs of the President-Elect
· Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Federal Republic of Nigeria.