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Afenifere Hails Police, US Stance on May 29 Handover

They appealed to aggrieved parties to allow democracy grow peacefully in Nigeria.

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has praised the security agencies and the United States government over their stance to ensure that no-one, no matter how highly placed, prevents the swearing-in of Bola Tinubu as President on May 29, 2023.

This was even as the group appealed to all aggrieved parties to play by the rules and allow the process of democracy in the country flourish.

Afenifere stated this in a press statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, who asserted that the journey to the present democratic dispensation had been hectic, “thus, nothing should be done to truncate it.”

Since the conclusion of the presidential election on February 25, 2023, and the announcement of Tinubu as winner of the election, there have been allegations of moves to prevent the inauguration of the president-elect on May 29th.

Some had even advocated for an interim government which has been largely condemned.

The Afenifere spokesman recalled that the Department of State Security (DSS) and the military in April, had alleged a move to scuttle the scheduled inauguration and had warned those who may be contemplating such to perish such thoughts.

He said, currently, four residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by one Mr. Ayanegbunam Ubala Okoye, are presently in court to use the legal process to stop the inauguration.

He said: “It could be that there were other clandestine efforts along the same line hence the warning issued on May 4, this year by the Defence Headquartes of the Nigerian Army to those it described as ‘unscrupulous politicians’ who were bent on disrupting the May 29 inauguration.”

Ajayi said it appeared, “that those making the move are still hell-bent in their unpatriotic contemplation, hence the strong warnings that were again issued separately by the IGP, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba and Mr. Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State, on Monday this week.”

He said for the Secretary of State who is a top-ranking officer to make a statement about an issue outside the US, “indicates how serious the matter was taken.”

“The organisation appeals to all those who are aggrieved to be patient and allow the legal process they have already initiated to take its normal course,” the statement added.

In a similar vein, Afenifere seized the opportunity to caution the outgoing government of President Muhammadu Buhari to have a rethink on the $800 million facility it had secured from the World Bank for the provision of palliatives, “because it would be adding more to the already huge debt burden presently put at over N77 trillion according to the government-owned Debt Management Office (DMO).”

The World Bank had said that Nigeria spent 96.3 per cent of its revenue on debt service in 2022, although the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, claimed that only 80.6 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue was spent on debt servicing that year.

Ajayi, who recalled that Nigeria’s debt burden in 2015, when Buhari came to power was N12.6 trillion, but now hovering around N80 trillion, described the undesirable development as regrettable, “in view of so much infrastructural deficit, cut-throat insecurity and economic dislocation that are ravaging the land.”

He expressed optimism and confidence that in spite of such a debt profile, the incoming Tinubu’s administration would be able to meet the high expectations of Nigerians and bring the country back from the precipice.

Emameh Gabriel in Abuja