On February 25 and March 18, 2023, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a new set of leaders. The Presidential election returned Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the President-elect, defeating former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Governor Peter Obi and fifteen other contenders.

The National Assembly elections also saw the emergence of new lawmakers who will occupy the two hallowed chambers as Legislators for the next four years. Similarly, at the sub-national level, State Governors and members of the State Houses of Assembly were either elected or re-elected. They too will be in office until 2027.

Prior to these elections, there was so much apprehension in the polity as to how peaceful the process was going be. To the disappointment of the doomsday prophets, the elections were peaceful in most parts of the country, with only pockets of crises in isolated places.

The announcement of the election results at both national and state levels was however greeted with much anxiety and complaints from aggrieved political parties and their candidates. The electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, directed the complainants to the provision on the use of the laws of the land to seek redress. Gladly, most of the aggrieved persons have petitioned the courts over their misgivings.

However, as the various hearings get set to kick-off in the next few days, the Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria’s secret security agency, has come out to say that there are plots by some unscrupulous Nigerians to scuttle the process and ensure the enthronement of an Interim Government.

The Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, who made this known in a statement, noted that the agency has identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria, but did not give details as to who these people are.

An Interim Government is a caretaker government, enthroned as temporary rule between governments in a parliamentary democracy. There is no place for such administration in the Nigerian Constitution and the idea of such an arrangement is highly condemnable.

The call for an Interim Government follows grievances and allegations of electoral misconduct by INEC in the 2023 General Election. Even at that, the country’s laws allow the courts to be the final arbiter in such cases. There is, therefore, no need for anything like an Interim Government.

An Interim Government arrangement will not only affect the democratic system Nigeria has enjoyed for over 23 years, but set the country on a retrogressive path down the cliff. Nigeria has enjoyed uninterrupted democracy for almost 24 years. This was as a result of the end of military rule in 1999, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected into office.

The only time an Interim Government was introduced in Nigeria was in 1993, following the annulment of the freest and fairest election ever held in the history of the country by the then military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida. That arrangement lasted only 83 days.

The advocates and proponents of an Interim Government should note that such an unconstitutional arrangement will be taking the country back and giving it a negative image internationally considering the relatively peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election.

The DSS is therefore expected to act on the information it has, so as to nip it in the bud, before it snow-balls into an uncontrollable crisis that will not be in the best interest of anyone within or even outside the country. This will also ensure that Nigeria is not dragged back 24 years.

What should pre-occupy the minds of Nigerians now is the smooth and peaceful transition of power from one civilian president to another. It is only when this is done that Nigerians can hope to continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy in an increasingly secure and peaceful environment.


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