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Babalola, Clarke’s calls for interim govt, tenure extension violate Buhari’s principles: Presidency

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The Presidency has dismissed Roberts Clarke’s call for the extension of President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime by six months and Afe Babalola’s suggestion of setting up an interim government.

Mr Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

He restated that Mr Buhari would hand over on May 29, 2023 to a democratically elected winner of the 2023 presidential election.

Mr Shehu stated that the president was committed to extending and entrenching democratic values across the country.

”In response to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria’s recent remarks, the Presidency wishes to state as follows: Chief Robert Clarke, a very well-respected elder may be sincere in his wish for the President to extend his term by six months. We wish to categorically restate that the President will step down on May 29th, 2023, after serving two terms – as per the constitution,” the statement noted.

It added, “Having been the first recipient of a democratic transfer of power from an incumbent administration to an opposition candidate in Nigerian history, the president is committed to extending and entrenching democratic values across the country. He shall, in turn, hand the privilege of serving the people of Nigeria to whomever they choose through free, fair and credible elections.”

However, Mr Buhari’s regime admitted that “Clarke is right to say that without security, Nigeria would not likely realise its true potential as a peaceful and prosperous nation. That is why it has been at the core of this administration.”

The presidency maintained that until the last day of Mr Buhari’s regime, ”the security of the citizens shall remain the administration’s paramount concern.”

“Yet there are others,” stressed the presidential statement, “such as Chief Afe Babalola, that believe elections should be suspended, with the current elected government replaced by an interim unelected administration.”

Faulting Mr Babalola’s call, the presidential statement said, ”This, he claims, is necessary to create a new constitution for the people, made possible, paradoxically, by ignoring their democratic rights. Down that path lies crisis and instability. Instead, this administration proposes something entirely simpler: honouring the constitution and people’s right to decide.” 

(NAN)