The Presidency Tuesday raised an alarm over a plot by “some disruptive elements” to throw Nigeria into turmoil. Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the aim of such persons was to create a situation whereby a vote of no confidence would be passed on President Muhammadu Buhari. He recalled that the Department of State Services (DSS) on Sunday alerted on “sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.”
Adesina said, “Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership. Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.
“The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country. The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections. Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.
“These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country. But the Presidency, already vested with mandate and authority by Nigerians till 2023, pledges to keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process”, the statement reads.
The warning from the Presidency came two days after the DSS said it would begin a clampdown on “agents of anarchy” in various parts of the country. A statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, faulted those said to be creating instability through comments that threatened the sovereignty and corporate existence of the nation. It condemned what it called “unnecessary criticisms and activities” by some religious and past political leaders who have either called for a forceful change of government or mass action against the government of the day. The DSS described as unfortunate, a situation where those who should be patriotic were allowing their personal ambitions to ruin the nation.“ Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences,” DSS said on Sunday.
There is no doubt that the nation is going through a very rough patch. There is a pandemic that is ravaging public health and the nation’s economy. Then there is insecurity. No doubt, these fires are being stoked by actual criminals and desperate politicians.
However, we advise caution in the way the government intends to handle these “disruptive elements.” It must not over react to their provocations. To do so will be playing into the hands of the detractors. It is exactly what they want: get the government to make a panicky move that will explode in its face.
We are not saying the government should sit by and do nothing. No. It must act. But whatever measures it is considering, they must be within the ambit of the law. Due process must be upheld, no matter what. This is the only way to handle the “disruptive elements” without setting the nation on fire in the process.