Stephen Ukandu (News/Features Editor)
Elder statesman, and legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola, has advocated for the setting up of an Interim Government, IG, at the expiration of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023.
According to him, the Interim Government will be in office for six months to chart a new course for the country.
Babalola who addressed a news conference Monday in Ado-Ekiti, called for the suspension of the 2023 polls until Nigeria “gets a new constitution that the people can call their own.”
“A new-look peoples’ Constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and the non-executive president,” he said.
He suggested that members of the interim government be drawn from all living former Presidents and Vice-Presidents; some selected Ministers and Governors and delegates of prominent professional associations.
The legal icon identified the professional bodies to include: the Nigeria Medical Association, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Academic Staff Union of Universities and Civil Society Organisations.
According to him, members of the IG should be elected on zero party basis.
Babalola 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.
Babalola 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 a 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, a criminal record which includes pending suits,’’ he said.
He further said that any person that would become the President of Nigeria should not be older than 60 years of age and must have a university degree.
“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.”