Professor Ben Nwabueze has lashed out at the presidency for scoffing at calls for the resignation of the president, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The eminent constitutional lawyer described as untenable the position of the president that he could not relinquish his mandate.
In a rare address on the state of the nation, Prof Nwabueze dismissed claims by the presidency that Buhari had “overwhelming mandate from Nigerians”, adding that a government of national unity need to be formed to save the people from rising insecurity.
Read his statement below:
From a position where a call for the President’s resignation is treated with utter disdain and is scoffed as “foolish”, the new position where the call is recognised as worthy of presidential response represents a certain progress.
The response has come in the form of a categorical statement by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to the effect that “Mr. President will not resign”, because “he has the overwhelming mandate of Nigerians to preside over the affairs of the country till the expiration of his tenure in May 2023.” The reason given is untenable on two main grounds.
First, the so-called overwhelming mandate derived from the February 2019 presidential election is disputed by the European Union Election Observation Mission Report, international Republic Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI); in their final report, by the Coalition of NGO’s Report, and by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDC)” Post-Mortem Report.
The Nigerian people themselves are not deceived by the rhetoric of overwhelming mandate.
The reason given by the Hon. Minister is untenable more because it ignores the obvious fact that the worsening incidents of insecurity as aggravated by the everyday and continuing holocaust of killings by Fulani herdsmen, by kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers and cultists not to mention the slaughter of thousands by Boko Haram terrorists is a post February 2019 presidential election phenomenon. Aggravated insecurity occurring after the election could not have been mandated by the votes of the people cast at the said election. If anything, the votes cast at the election are a clear repudiation of the claim of mandate based on them.
President Buhari’s blunt refusal to resign, which is accompanied by the equally blunt refusal to change the service chiefs, raises the issue as to what alternative is left for the Nigerian people in order to save themselves from the scourge of insecurity that threatens them with ruination. I venture to suggest that a government of National Unity composed of the candidates of the political parties, with significant votes at the February 2019 presidential election, and headed by a person chosen by them, may be the alternative for us. The details of such arrangement will need to be worked out and will require compromises on all sides.