The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and government of the United States of America (USA) for warning all those who might be thinking of or planning to disrupt the planned inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, on May 29, 2023.
In a press statement issued by the organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, Afenifere asserted that the journey to the present democratic dispensation has been hectic “thus, nothing should be done to truncate it”.
It would be recalled that since the conclusion of the presidential election on February 25, 2023 and the announcement of Asiwaju Tinubu as winner of the election, reports are rife of various efforts being made to prevent the inauguration of the president-elect on May 29th.
Some even advocated for an Interim Government which has been largely condemned.
Apart from the statement made by the Vice Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Dr Datti Ahmed who spoke along that line, one Dr Simon Okeke, chairman of a non-governmental organization, while addressing the media at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja penultimate weekend, also asserted that inauguration of the president-elect on May 29 ‘might be an open invitation for anarchy’.
To him, all cases in the court in respect of the election must be settled before the inauguration is made.
Afenifere spokesman recalled that the Department of State Security (DSS) and the military in April confirmed the move to scuttle the scheduled inauguration and warned those who may be contemplating such.
Four residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by one Mr. Ayanegbunam Ubala Okoye, are presently in court to use the legal process to stop the inauguration.
It could be that there were other clandestine efforts along the same line hence the warning issued on May 4 this year by the Defence Headquartes of the Nigerian Army to those it described as ‘unscrupulous politicians’ who were bent on disrupting the May 29 inauguration.
It appears that those making the move are still hell-bent in their unpatriotic contemplation hence the strong warnings that were again issued separately by the IGP, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba and Mr. Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State, on Monday this week. Secretary of State is a very high ranking officer in any country particularly in the US as it is in Nigeria. For such a top ranking officer to make a statement about an issue outside the US indicates how serious the matter was taken.
In the said statement, Blinken had announced the plan by America “to impose visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during Nigeria’s 2023 elections cycle.”
The visa ban will also affect “those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy” in Nigeria, according to Blinken.
On his own part, IGP Baba at a Press Briefing in Abuja this week Monday, declared that:“Following the successful conclusion of the 2023 General elections, it has been observed that some major political actors that the outcome did not favour, have been issuing public threats that are directed at instigating actions to frustrate the Presidential inauguration ceremony on 29th May, 2023.”
He, therefore, warned them to desist as the said date is not only sacrosanct, the police and other security agencies are determined to deal with anyone caught trying to disrupt the exercise. Afenifere praised the security agencies and the US government on their stand to ensure that no-one, no matter how highly placed, prevents the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from being sworn-in as President on May 29, 2023.
The organization appeals to all those who are aggrieved to be patient and allow the legal process they have already initiated to take its normal course.
In a similar vein, Afenifere seized the opportunity to caution the outgoing government of President Muhammadu Buhari to have a rethink on the $800 million facility it is securing from the World Bank for the provision of palliatives, “because it would be adding more to the already huge debt burden presently put at over N77 trillion according to the government-owned Debt Management Office (DMO).”
The World Bank had said that Nigeria spent 96.3 per cent of its revenue on debt servicing in 2022 although the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed claimed that ‘only’ 80.6 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue was spent on debt servicing that year.
Ajayi who recalled that Nigeria’s debt burden in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power was N12.6 trillion but is now hovering around N80 trillion described the undesirable development as regrettable in view of so much infrastructural deficit, cut-throat insecurity and economic dislocation that are ravaging the land.”
He expressed the hope and confidence that in spite of such debt profile, the in-coming administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will be able to meet the high expectations of Nigerians and bring the country back from the precipice.