Calling for the suspension of the 2023 polls “will create a gap in our democratic transition capable of truncating our democracy,” Mr Adoke said in response to Mr Afe Babalola.
A former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke, has disagreed with Afe Babalola, over the latter’s call for the suspension of the 2023 general elections.
Mr Babalola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), on Monday, called for an interim government after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure that would pave way for a new constitution for the country.
But, Mr Adoke, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said “the call for the suspension of the 2023 elections cannot be justified at this time,” adding “it will create a gap in our democratic transition capable of truncating our democracy.”
“I read with deep concern the comments credited to Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, on Tuesday, 19 April 2022 and widely reported in the newspapers,” Mr Adoke wrote in a statement Wednesday.
He said “the interim government is alien to constitutional democracy as Nigeria’s constitution has no provision for it.”
Drawing attention to the crisis that engulfed Nigeria during the Ernest Shonekan-led interim government, Mr Adoke said, “an interim government is a recipe for a military coup because of the gap it creates in the country’s governance.“
“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,” Mr Adoke said.
He argued that “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 until “Nigeria has a new peoples constitution which should provide for a part-time legislator and non-executive president” and an “interim government drawn from all living presidents and vice presidents; some selected ministers and governors and delegates of prominent professional associations”, the former justice minister said.
While disagreeing with Mr Babalola whom he described as a “legal luminary,” Mr Adoke raised some questions.
The former AGF who served in President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, suggested that “all processes required to enable us to transit to another democratic dispensation successfully, all hands should be on deck to ensure that our institutions such as INEC, politica parties,” deliver on their mandates.
“Chief Afe Babalola should therefore leverage his immense influence to advise the powers that be that what Nigerians need now is a free, fair and credible election to guarantee them a say in the governance process,” Mr Adoke said.