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Nnamani: Third Term Agenda Strange

Posted by From Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja on 2005/08/05 | Views: 509 |

Nnamani: Third Term Agenda Strange


Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, yesterday, described the speculation that President Olusegun Obasanjo is nursing a third term ambition as strange to the Senate.

Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, yesterday, described the speculation that President Olusegun Obasanjo is nursing a third term ambition as strange to the Senate.

But Senator Arthur Nzeribe, said the alleged plot by Obasanjo to extend his tenure is "moral and a legitimate ambition" and "it is achievable provided you do it legally and constitutionally."

Also yesterday, Obasanjo's Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, denied media reports alleging a plot by the Presidency to impeach House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, over his comments that Obasanjo should conclude his reforms agenda by 2007 at the close of his second term.

Nnamani, who spoke exclusively to THISDAY in his office said: "Nobody has approached us (Senate). We are being guided by the 1999 Constitution on the term of office and until the constitution is amended, I don't know what to say (on the alleged plot to extend Obasanjo's term)."

According to him, "I don't like crossing the bridge that I have not reached. I've not heard of the third term bid officially from anybody. Obasanjo has not told me he has a third term ambition either in writing or verbally. There is no communication to that effect in the Senate."

"I would be guided by the 1999 Constitution which stipulates tenure. I'm not aware that the constitution has been amended. Until it is amended, I don't know what to say. I have also not heard the President spoke on that and I don't have it in writing either," he added.

Recalling the events at the recent joint address of the president to the National Assembly, Nnamani said; "I didn't comment because I had no reason to make comments on that. He (Obasanjo) did not use any sentence relating to a third term agenda and like I said, I will be guided by the constitution on that."

Also, Nzeribe, who spoke exclusively to THISDAY at his residence in Zone E of the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, contended that the third term agenda is achievable "provided you do it legally and constitutionally. It could be made legal. It is moral. It's also a legitimate ambition and moral if made legal and constitutional."

"What is immoral about having ambition? That is factual. How many people spoke about June 12? Did it actualise? It is achievable provided you do it legally and constitutionally and it could be made legal.

"If Nigerian people, who owns the (1999) Constitution, choose to amend it through their representatives, that is what they want. It (third term agenda) is an easier project than June 12. In June 12, there was no constituency to actualise it but here there is a platform to make it (extension of term) happen which is the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly," Nzeribe further said.

Recalling the judgement of the 2003 Supreme Court that favoured elected governors who had served between 1991 and 1993 and who also contested the 2003 election, Nzeribe said, "when I went to court to challenge the June 12 election, everybody wanted to hang me but today everybody goes to court to challenge elections and their parties. When I moved the motion to impeach Obasanjo, everybody wanted to kill me but today impeachment is the slogan of our polity. In Nigeria, politically speaking, everything is possible."

However, Ita-Giwa, who spiritedly denied the alleged plot to sack Masari as House Speaker over comments against the third term agenda, said "the President is going to leave in 2007. He is not interested beyond 2007 and he will not remain in office beyond 2007.”

"There is no problem between the Speaker, the Senate President or any other person in the National Assembly and the relationship between the President and these people have been cordial," Ita-Giwa further told newsmen at the National Assembly yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on centres of power across the nation to make categorical denouncement of the third term bid "by President Obasanjo or anybody now." It also called on members of the national and state legislative houses not to support such undemocratic move.

"Given the current fragile nature of our democracy, such a dictatorial and unconstitutional tendency is capable of throwing this nation into a serious crisis and it is expected that the National Assembly, in particular, should act as the custodians of democratic order by virtue of being the actual representatives of the people," it stated.

In a two-page statement signed by the group's executive director, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, and made available to newsmen at the National Assembly Complex, CISLAC stated that, "the point is to give nobody the impression that he or she can toy with popular will simply because he sits atop of public resources and can use such powers to manipulate people and processes.

"This is the time to resist a very bankrupt and cynical practice such as third term, which persons of military background have been trying to introduce through deceit and manipulation since 1976. To say it is an idea that Nigeria has overgrown is to be trite.

“The fact that such is part of the checklist of the problems of democracy in Nigeria is further evidence of the progressive deterioration of leadership quality of mind.

"This manifests most in the scenario whereby President Obasanjo who handed over power as a military man at a time that military leadership was still popular in Africa is, 26 years later, being associated with not wanting to handover power as a civilian. It is very, very unfortunate that he would be associated with the third term agenda.

"The clamour for a third term, against the popular view of the Nigerian people calls to question the commitment of the president and his so-called team of reformers. The wisdom of neo-liberalism itself suggests that economic and political reforms are mutually reinforcing. For the so-called reformers, therefore, to keep quiet in tacit endorsement of the third term and the unwillingness to reform the Nigerian Constitution amounts to the waste form of compromise," it stated.


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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.