Afe Babalola calls for suspension of 2023 elections, gives reasons
NEWS DIGEST – Legal icon and elder statesman, Afe Babalola, says an interim government should replace the current administration at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari tenure in 2023.
Mr Babalola told a news conference in Ado-Ekiti on Monday that the interim government should be in office for six months to chart a new course for Nigeria.
He stressed that the 2023 elections should be suspended until Nigeria has “a new-look peoples’ Constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and non-executive president’’.
Mr Babalola said that members of the interim government should be drawn from all living former presidents and vice-presidents; some selected ministers and governors and delegates of prominent professional associations.
The professional associations could be the Nigeria Medical Association, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Academic Staff Union of Universities and Civil Society Organisations.
The elder statesman noted that such delegates should be elected on zero party bases.
He said it was regrettable that the current 1999 Constitution, foisted on Nigerians by the military was no longer in tune with realities of the day.
“The same Constitution has made politics become not only very attractive, but the only lucrative business in Nigeria today.
“What this means is that any election that holds under the present scenario will end up producing transactional and recycled leaders, with no ability to turn things around,’’ he said.
The university proprietor advised that the new Constitution which should be coordinated by the interim government, should spell out rules and regulations on improved qualifications of those contesting elections.
He added that the new Constitution should provide for part-time legislators and not full-time legislators, considering the attendant waste of resources.
“The new Constitution should also provide that there shall be no salary, but sitting allowances only for lawmakers.
“It should provide a true federal system of government, instead of the expensive presidential system of government. I suggest parliamentary system of government, with a unicameral legislature.
“The new Constitution should also provide a body at the local, state and federal levels to screen all aspirants on the sources of their wealth and means of livelihood, criminal record which includes pending suits,’’ he said.
The legal luminary added that any person that would become the president of Nigeria should not be older than 60 years of age and must have a varsity degree.