The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Debo Ologunagba, has called for an amendment to the country’s constitution to ensure that a newly-elected President is not sworn in until all election petitions have been determined by the court.

According to him, the first seven months of President Bola Tinubu’s administration were wasted because he was distracted or preoccupied by election petitions and he could not concentrate on governance.

This, he said, was part of the reasons for the economic crisis the nation is currently facing.

Ologunagba expressed these views in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday.

He argued that given the current economic crisis, there was no better time to restructure the country.

The country is battling a surge in abductions for ransom and killings by non-state actors. Also, the escalating cost of food has created difficulties for many Nigerians.

Commenting on the state of the nation, the PDP spokesman said, “I understand the National Assembly is discussing constitutional reforms, and as a party, we are organising ourselves. One of the issues we will seek to amend is the electoral law. We will advocate that elected officials be sworn in only after the conclusion of all legal battles.

“There is hardship and insecurity because the government was not active. During the first seven months of this administration, we were in court, so the government did not function; it was preoccupied with protecting itself. Consequently, in a four-year tenure, we lost nine months to litigation.

“Additionally, we need to address true federalism. Why should local governments be enshrined in the constitution? This fosters incompetence, favoritism, and complacency. For example, Kano State has 44 local governments, Lagos State has 20, and Katsina has 34. These disparities contribute to the injustices in our country, necessitating restructuring.

“Now is the opportune moment to restructure the country. Restructuring has always been the stance of the PDP. We discussed restructuring when we were in power but didn’t take concrete steps to implement it. If initiated now, it could help alleviate some of the current national challenges.”

He said restructuring should no longer be a mere rhetoric but should rather be taken seriously.

“Even our presidential candidate had a document on restructuring. Since the 2014 Conference under former President Goodluck Jonathan, we’ve been advocating restructuring. However, the same individuals in the All Progressives Congress opposed it.

“We initiated it because our country is diverse — linguistically, religiously, and ethnically. The only way to progress and tackle these challenges is through restructuring. It will instill a sense of ownership and belonging across all sectors,” he said.

Reacting, the National Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, said the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, should be blamed for boggling the Tinubu administration with electoral litigation.

Ibrahim also urged the National Assembly to look at the request for Constitutional amendment on merits and not be swayed by the sentiments being pushed by the opposition party.

“I hope the PDP included the name of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, among the signatories to those who are advocating constitutional amendment. If they are not doing that, it means they are being forgetful of history. Political and electoral litigation have never been extended or exploited by anyone more than Atiku Abubakar.

“The PDP needs to look inwards; the answer to the problem is with them because the biggest culprit when it comes to lengthen litigation as far as presidential elections are concerned is Atiku. He contested the most and lost the most. He is always the one who drags his case from the tribunal all the way to the Supreme Court.

“They need to do a conscience amendment before urging the National Assembly to do any constitutional amendment. The NASS should look into the issue on its merits and not on sentiments before taking a decision.”