As reactions trail the disclosure by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday over the plot to install an interim government ahead of the May 29 handover from President Muhammadu Buhari to President-elect Bola Tinubu, Labour Party (LP) has dissociated itself from the alleged plot, denying being part of any unconstitutional arrangement to install an interim government.
LP’s spokesman, Yunusa Tanko, said the party is not plotting any insurrection, describing the development as a conspiracy against the state.
He clarified when featured yesterday on Channels Television’s Lunch Time Politics.
“We are not part of any insurrection plans whatsoever. But what I am saying is that we are going to protect the interest of Nigerians based on provisions of the law, which provides that where you are hurting, you have the right to protest and that you would do so with the defence and protection of the Nigerian security apparatus. That is what we would do, but we will not support any insurrection in any way,” he said.
Tanko, however, accused the DSS and other security agencies of not protecting the interest of the Nigerian state during the 2023 general elections, claiming some of LP’s supporters were disenfranchised in parts of the country.
“DSS and security agencies should come out and protect us even if we are on the streets protesting,” he added, maintaining that LP is not mobilising people to come out on the streets to fight. “We are ready to follow the rules and laws of the democratic setting,” he said.
In the United States, authorities have granted permission to supporters of LP’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to use a park to protest the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
The permit allows about 100 protesters to converge on the iconic Lafayette Park in front of the White House, in Washington D.C. on Monday, April 3, for four hours, between 8:00 a.m. and 12 noon. Located across the street from the White House, the park is a prominent fixture in American history.
“We in the diaspora are demonstrating to call the attention of the U.S. government and Biden administration not to recognise the winner,” the organisers said.
The United States Department of the Interior said the organisers and anyone at the protest must “comply with all reasonable directions of the United States Park Police.”
The protesters were warned that “all sideways, walkways and roadways must remain unobstructed to allow for reasonable use of these areas by pedestrians, vehicles and other park visitors.”
The protest is organised by a pro-Obi group, Nigerian American Coalition for Justice and Democracy Inc. A document seen by The Guardian shows that the organiser of the protest is one Franklin Ekechukwu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 1, announced Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election.
Ekechukwu said: “Nigerian election was conducted on February 25, the institution that conducted the election did not follow their guideline nor rule of law in accordance with democratic principles. We in the diaspora are demonstrating to call the attention of the U.S. government and Biden administration to not recognise the projected winner.”
Reacting, the All Progressives Congress in America (APC-USA) in a statement by its Chairman, Prof. Tai Balofin, said: “We wish to inform the public that a group of the Nigerian election losers are currently protesting at the park in front of the White House. It is important to note that the U.S. government is not involved or in support of the protest, as anybody can get approval for a peaceful protest.
“We also wish to state that this protest is sponsored by Obi, who lost the election in Nigeria. We believe that the presidential election was free and fair, and Asiwaju Tinubu won the election. The majority of Nigerian voters gave him their mandate, and no propaganda, manipulation or tissue of lies can stop his inauguration.
“The APC in the United States of America assures Nigerians not to be perturbed by the actions of the protesters. We have mobilised true Nigerians to come out in support of their mandate, and we believe that the protesters will not succeed in their mission to disrupt the peace and stability of Nigeria.
“The opposition who lost will meet the winner at the protest ground. We urge all Nigerians to remain calm and peaceful, as we believe that justice will prevail, and the mandate of the Nigerian people will be respected,” he stated.