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2023: Afe Babalola’s interim proposal can truncate our democracy, says Adoke

2023: Afe Babalola’s interim proposal can truncate our democracy, says Adoke
April 20
19:11 2022

Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says it is too late to call for the suspension of the 2023 elections.

In a statement on Wednesday, Adoke criticised the call made by Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, for an interim government.

Babalola had said the 2023 elections should be suspended, while an interim government should be in office for six months to develop “a new-look peoples’ constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and non-executive president”.

Responding to Babalola, Adoke said there is no justification to seek the suspension of the 2023 general election, adding that setting up any interim government would go against the constitution.


“The call for the suspension of the 2023 elections cannot be justified at this time as it will create a gap in our democratic transition capable of truncating our democracy,” he said.

“Democracy is sustained by periodic elections where the voters express their preference on who should govern them. The 2023 elections are around the corner and the electorate is already primed to exercise this power. It will be an anti-climax for them to be left on a cliffhanger.”

On Babalola’s proposal for the selection of past presidents, vice-presidents and governors to occupy the interim government, Adoke asked, “how do we select those persons?”


“Who will organise the elections? What is the legal framework that will be used to regulate the process? These are questions that Chief Afe Babalola needs to answer,” he said.

“Our history does not suggest that these milestones can be accomplished within two years. Let us not forget that Babangida’s transition took almost nine years.

“I respectfully submit that Nigerians do not wish to wait ad infinitum to be able to exercise their franchise to elect their representatives and heads of government at the federal, state and local government levels.

“Furthermore, the interim government is alien to constitutional democracy as Nigeria’s constitution has no provision for it. This is more so as structures required to conduct elections, such as the INEC, exist.


“If allowed to discharge their mandate independently, they can deliver a free, fair, and credible election without the need for an interim government. The idea of an interim government leaves a bad taste in the mouth given our recent history with the Chief Ernest Shonekan-led interim government, which was supplanted almost immediately by the military junta led by General Sani Abacha.

“An interim government is a recipe for a military coup because of the gap it creates in the country’s governance.

“Its composition, as suggested by Chief Afe Babalola, is palpably undemocratic and a negation of the will of the people. Almost all our past presidents, vice presidents, ministers and governors are daily blamed for their culpability in the socio-economic and political malaise of the country. Are these the same Nigerians expected to midwife our political process?”

The former AGF also said Babalola’s suggestion for a body “to screen all aspirants on the sources of their wealth and means of livelihood” is unnecessary as such a structure already exists.


“Those who have contested for political offices and have held appointive offices will readily agree that such screening takes place. That some persons of doubtful credentials have been able to pass through the net does not suggest that there is no system in place but that they were able to compromise the system for their benefit,” he said.

Finally, on Babalola’s suggestion that presidential aspirants should not be more than 60 years and must be holders of a university degree, Adoke said the restriction, in his view, is “undemocratic and a gross violation of their inalienable right to contest for the office of president”.


“Good political leadership is not about age but foresight, commitment, courage and political sagacity. While a president with a university degree is desirable, it is not guaranteed that such a president will be imbued with the requisite integrity, patriotic zeal, and management acumen required to succeed in the president’s office,” he added.



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