Notwithstanding repeated assurances from the federal government that nothing stops the May 29 handover to President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Department of State Services(DSS) Wednesday confirmed plan by some politicians to create a situation for an interim government.
The confirmation is coming after months of speculations that there were plans to truncate the inauguration of Tinubu as President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor following his victory on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the February 25 presidential poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him winner after polling 8,794,726 votes during the election.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had the second-highest figure with 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) was next with 6,101,533 votes.
Kaduns state Governor Nasir El-Rufai had prior to the presidential poll, raised the alarm that the scarcity of naira notes was part of the plots to disrupt the 2023 general elections in order to ensure the emergence of an interim government.
El-Rufai’s broadcast followed a national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari, earlier in the day, limiting the legal tender status of old notes to only N200.
The governor claimed the cash scarcity in the country was not unconnected with the efforts to ensure the APC flag bearer loses the election.
He further claimed in the broadcast that: “It is important for the people of Kaduna state, and indeed Nigeria, to know that contrary to the public pronouncements and apparent good intentions, this policy was conceived and sold to the President by officials who completely lost out in the Governorship and Presidential Primaries of the APC in June 2022.
“Once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest.
“They also sought to achieve any one or more of following objectives: Create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the party in all the elections.
“Ensure that the cash crunch is so serious, along with the contrived and enduring fuel shortage existing since September 2022 that the 2023 Elections do not hold at all, leading to an Interim National Government to be led by a retired Army General.”
But the Chairman, Presidential Transition Council(PTC) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha, had Tuesday reassured of the readiness of the Buhari administration to hand over to the president-elect
He also said the PTC’s activities were not in any way affected by the ongoing matters at the Presidential Elections Petition Tribunal, adding that the council had broken down into several subcommittees to speed up its work ahead of the inauguration date.
“The transition process is on course and all efforts are being made to ensure that it is smooth and on May 29, there would be peaceful formal transfer of power to the new president,” he stated.
“Since the inauguration, the Council has met four times with the 5th holding today (yesterday).
“To ensure a smooth transition process and make the work more efficient, the PTC broke into three committees;
“The first of these is Inauguration Committee which is responsible for organizing the swearing–in and the inaugural parade; working out the details Programmes and other logistics necessary for the successful inauguration ceremonies,” Mustapha had said.
But in the midst of all this, the DSS said there were plans to disrupt the planning and cause the formation of an interim government.
DSS spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, said this in a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja.
He said the agency had identified some key players in the plot, but did not give the names of the alleged masterminds.
The agency said the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings, during which they weighed many options to actualise their plot including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
“The DSS considers the plot, being pursued by these entrenched interests, as not only an aberration but a mischievous way to set aside the constitution and undermine civil rule as well as plunge the country into an avoidable crisis.
“The illegality is totally unacceptable in a democracy and to the peace loving Nigerians. This is even more so that the machination is taking place after the peaceful conduct of the elections in most parts of the country.
“The planners, in their many meetings, have weighed various options, which include, among others, to sponsor endless violent mass protests in major cities to warrant a declaration of State of Emergency. Another is to obtain frivolous court injunctions to forestall the inauguration of new executive administrations and legislative houses at the Federal and State levels.
“The DSS supports the President and Commander-in-Chief in his avowed commitment to a hitch-free handover and will assiduously work in this direction. It also supports the Presidential Transition Council and such other related bodies in the States. It will collaborate with them and sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure seamless inaugurations come 29th May 2023.
“Consequently, the Service strongly warns those organising to thwart democracy in the country to retract from their devious schemes and orchestrations.
“Stakeholders, notably judicial authorities, media and the Civil Society, are enjoined to be watchful and cautious to avoid being used as instruments to subvert peace and stability of the nation.
“While its monitoring continues, the DSS will not hesitate to take decisive and necessary legal steps against these misguided elements to frustrate their obnoxious intentions,” the secret service warned.
My birthday gift -Tinubu
Meanwhile, President-elect Tinubu has reiterated his commitment to rebuilding the country and renewing the “hope of the Nigerian people.”
In a message to Nigerians on his 71st birthday which he personally signed Wednesday, Tinubu said the greatest birthday gift he ever received is the chance to lead the country.
The former Lagos state governor said his promises were not mere words to win over citizens but a bond with them.
“With such a privilege already granted to me, I will not go so far as to suggest I am due any birthday presents this year. I have already been given the greatest gift. A chance to lead and fulfill destiny. An opportunity to champion your aspirations and to bring about the Nigeria of your dreams.
“I will, instead, use this day as an opportunity to reiterate my commitment to the great and important task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the hope of the Nigerian people. I campaigned hard and made important promises.
“Those promises were not mere words; professed glibly or cynically to win support. They represent a bond that binds me to the task of creating a better Nigeria for the benefit of every Nigerian, whether you voted for me or not,” he said.
While acknowledging various goodwill messages on his 71st birthday anniversary, Tinubu said: “I received your kind words with great pleasure and was profoundly touched by the depth of your care and support. Above all, I thank God Almighty for the life He has given me, for all the opportunities and doors He has opened to me along the way.
“This year in particular, I see this day as one of deep reflection. The spiritual meaning and significance of the holy month of Ramadan matter to me much more than the celebration of any individual milestone.
“Yet, this is my first birthday as the President-elect. A few weeks back, Nigerians gave me the honour of a lifetime. In exactly two months, on the 29th of May, my term in office will begin. It is a rare privilege indeed, and one that I do not take lightly and shall not squander.”
Tinubu capable, say Buhari, APC govs
Also, President Buhari, has assured that Tinubu is best placed to perform creditably after taking office on May 29, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.
He said the former governor’s experience in the private and public sectors and his knowledge of politics and the economy, have also put him on a good pedestal to discharge the duties of the presidential office.
The president stated this in a statement by his Special Advise media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on the occasion of Tinubu’s 71st birthday Wednesday.
“As the President-elect prepares to take over mantle of leadership at 71, the President affirms that his political pedigree from the 90’s, active role in party politics, being elected Senator and later Governor of Lagos State, and diligent involvement in structure of leadership at the Executive and Legislative levels for many years, will serve as asset for good and effective governance.”President Buhari’s message is supported by torrents of encomiums that poured in for Tinubu on his birthday,” the statement said.
Similarly, governors of the ruling APC expressed confidence in Tiinubu’s ability to steer the ship of state, noting that his patriotism, nationalism, boldness and courage had been acknowledged by the majority.
Chairman APC Governors’ Forum and Kebbi state Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu made the declaration in a message sent to the President-Elect on the occasion of his birthday.
“The Progressive Governors’ Forum joins millions of Nigerians and other Well-wishers in congratulating our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President-Elect, on his 71st birthday. We wish you a happy birthday as well as, a multitude more, in the future.
“This year’s birthday is coming shortly after Nigerians have freely and enthusiastically mandated you to lead our country. Your patriotism, nationalism, boldness and courage have been acknowledged by the majority. It is a befitting birthday tribute that you are Nigeria’s next President, and even while you are taking a much needed time to reflect on all that needs to be done, your vision of a Nigeria that shall take its place of pride among the comity of the nation is resonating with all.
“As you celebrate today, we join in praying for a more prosperous future for your good self, the family and indeed our nation. We are confident in your ability and also proud of your accomplishments,” the governors said.