An elder statesman and senior lawyer, Robert Clarke, SAN, has said President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) should be given an extra six months to enable him to address the country’s security woes.
He stated this Monday during his appearance on Arise Television program in Abuja. Clarke said with less than a year to the 2023 elections. The time was too short to address security challenges and ensure a safe exercise.
Clarke noted that it is provided in the Constitution that the President can extend his tenure for six months in the first instance if conditions are not ripe for an election.
He, however, warned that the nation may not scale through 2023 if nothing was done before the elections.
“The Constitution provides that the President can stay longer than eight years. I’ve always said it. It is in the Constitution. If the situation in which we’re in now continues, and it is impossible to vote in the 2023 elections, the Constitution says if a problem persists, the President can stay. Given all insurgencies, kidnappings, and Boko Haram, I don’t think in these areas of Nigeria we can have a good election.
“So, the fact that the Constitution says the president cannot stay for more than eight years is wrong. Because the same constitution says, he can be given six months if those conditions persist.
“Now, I don’t see any green light. I don’t know how what is happening today can be stopped within six months from today or before February next year, when the elections will be held.
“The alternative then is for Mr President to continue as president, allow the security watches to carry up the mopping up, and Nigeria will become stable.
“Because I swear to God Almighty, without stability in Nigeria, without security, Nigeria is going nowhere. No foreigner will bring his money and put in any business in Nigeria when he knows that any of his expatriates who are sent to Nigeria can be kidnapped.
“So, until all these things are sorted out, I don’t see any green light. If nothing happens before the elections, God forbid, this country will go down in flames,” Clark said.
Meanwhile, three weeks ago, a lawyer, Afe Babalola, had criticised the 1999 Constitution, stressing that it no longer reflects the present-day reality of the country. In his suggestion, he said 2023 elections should be suspended, and an interim government should be instituted after President Buhari’s tenure elapses.
Clarke’s assertion came barely three weeks after legal luminary, Afe Babalola, suggested that the country should suspend its 2023 elections instead and institute an interim government after Buhari’s tenure elapses.
He said the interim government should serve for six months to chart a new course for the country.
According to Babalola, “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 produce transactional and recycled leaders, with no ability to turn things around.”