He has suggested the establishment of a government of National Unity so as to return the country to true democracy.
Benin has witnessed post-election violence in recent times with a group of armed soldiers in an uneasy standoff with unarmed civilians on the streets of the capital – Cotonou. Security forces have been put on high alert following days of post-election violence.
This was after the parliamentary election that took place in April this year but without any of the opposition parties contesting. Military men allegedly scattered demonstrations when members of the opposition called for the annulment of the parliamentary election.
But Dr. Agbesi – a leading opposition political figure and the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Congress (ANC) in the 2016 elections, told journalists in an interview that, President Patrice Tolon, has failed the people and so must step aside for new elections to bring the country back to its former glory.
He said security has failed in the country and businesses are suffering, coupled with the rising bad image of the country internationally, are good reasons for any president who truly cares for his people to take a decent bow for a more competent person to take over and help the people.
“He has been a president for only three years but the people have demonstrated clearly that they are not comfortable with him. By the constitution of Benin, he is not our president. He is creating fear in the country. Many people have gone on exile because they are in fear,” he stated.
Dr. Agbesi was at pains that a country which was once seen as a leading democracy in Africa could be reduced to an almost one party state, where opposition parties do not have a representation even in parliament.
He said there is evidence that President Patrice Tolon has become very unpopular in the country, for which reason he is making moves to change the constitution through strange and unconventional means.
About a month to the recent parliamentary elections in Benin, the Electoral Commission of that country promulgated a new law that disqualified all other political parties except the president’s party. This led to huge apathy with only a fraction of the people turning up to vote on Election Day.
“So we are saying that you can’t have a country that excludes the opposition in decision making. Less than 10 percent of the population voted in the parliamentary elections and so it is not a representation of the people,” he stated.
According to Dr Agbesi, for causing the abuse of the democratic rights of the people of Benin, President Tolon must resign from office immediately.
He called on the ECOWAS not to recognise him as the President of Benin. He also urged the formation of a government of unity which would include all leading political figures who have gone on exile because of intimidation from President Tolon.
“I want ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations to take serious sanctions against this man. I am giving him 90 days to resign. I want the EU to take serious actions against him because the people are not happy with him,” Dr. Agbesi stated.