The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, has replied those criticising his call for the suspension of the 2023 general elections and setting up of an interim government, saying his intervention was aimed at securing a better and improved nation for the poor and frustrated citizens.
The renowned legal luminary spoke at ABUAD in AdoEkiti, the Ekiti State capital, during the maiden inaugural lecture of the university delivered by a professor of Economics, Samuel Igbatayo.
He expressed disappointment that those who were supposed to be engrossed on how to devise a new workable model of development were faulting his patriotic suggestions targeted at finding a lasting solution to the avalanche of challenges plaguing the nation.
Babalola accused those latching on to his suggestions of putting personal interest above that of the nation, describing them as “impotent enemies” of a better Nigeria who were wholesomely benefitting from the rots in the current system.
He said: “Out of about 6,000 people who have commented, 90 per cent supported my view, particularly the young people, the poor people and those who are looking for work.
“I am happy about that because those are the people I am working for. Section 14 of the constitution states clearly that the primary duty of the government is the protection of lives and property and welfare of the people.
“Unfortunately, the constitution is not made by either you or me. The preamble of the constitution says it was made by us, whereas, it was made by the military and that is why it is a nullity.”
According to him, his position was not in any way, shape or form antithetical to the nation’s democratic processes, as that the idea of interim national government had evolved over time and put into practice in some developed countries when facing similar issues bedevilling Nigeria.
He said: “Today, life has become unbearable, you are unsafe on the road, you are unsafe in the farm and you are unsafe in your house. Those who are governing us owe us a duty to look into these. I am happy that the House of Representatives has noted this.
“I have been complaining about this constitution since 2001, but those who are benefiting from it would not allow the enactment of a new constitution. That is why I said that before you go, set up an interim government. If you can’t do it, allow others to do it so that we can have a new set of people that will make the country great again. The governor of Imo State apparently didn’t read my full article. I am sure that by now, he would have a different opinion.
“The lawmakers are the ones that will set up the interim government, not Buhari. There can be no other way out. If they fail to agree with me, then we are jinxed.”
The inaugural lecturer, Professor Igbatayo, who spoke on the topic ‘The Triple Challenge: Balancing the Tradeoffs and Policies to Achieve Economic, Social and Environmental Goals in the 21st Century’, noted that the nation’s economy, when it experiences growth, would in no small measure help in employment generation for youths and improve the quality of life.