Posted by By Emeka Mamah, Umoru Henry & Dayo Lawal on
THE Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) rose from its General Assembly meeting Monday and resolved that President Olusegun Obasanjo, through the alleged third term bid, remained the biggest threat to nation and democracy.
KADUNA— THE Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) rose from its General Assembly meeting Monday and resolved that President Olusegun Obasanjo, through the alleged third term bid, remained the biggest threat to nation and democracy. However, PDP top shot, Chief Olabode George, has asked the ACF to expell from its rank, former Chief of Army Staff, General Malu, for saying he regretted not toppling President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Forum said in a communique at the end of the meeting that the president must save the country from collapse by making an irrevocable, categorical statement over the agenda.
“The bid by the present administration to perpetuate itself in power has become the dominant threat to the stability, economic development, survival and the orderly growth of democracy in Nigeria.
“The meeting further noted that the President’s desperation to hang on to power has led him to seek to take personal control of all decision-making structures of not only the government but the ruling People’s Democratic Party, the PDP. There are also relentless efforts to undermine and incapacitate opposition political parties as well as other tiers and organs of government to render them incapable of playing their rightful roles of upholding the constitution, the rule of law and democracy.
“There appears to be a clear and unmistakable effort to contrive and to instigate misunderstanding and ill-feeling amongst different social and polical groups as well as between the geo-political zones of the country.
“The meeting noted with sadness and regret, the bellicose statements coming from certain promoters of the President’s Third-term Agenda, particularly those acting under the aegis of the Southern Forum threatening the break-up of Nigeria if they failed to realise their mission.
“The meeting also observed the growing inability of government to make good on any of its purported reforms because most government policies and programmes are tainted by the obsession with securing a third-term. These include some aspect of the war on corruption,
inappropriate and ill-digested economic and social programmes.
“That in the interest of the country, the peace and security of the people of Nigeria and the survival and growth of democracy, the meeting calls upon the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to douse the stress in the polity by declaring categorically, unambigously and irrevocably that he will not seek the nomination of his party, or of any other party for that matter as candidate for the presidential election in the year 2007 and even if drafted, he will decline
“The President should not attempt under any guise or pretext to prolong his stay beyond 2007 by taking extra-constitutional measures such as the declaration of state of emergency. The President should also call to order, his associates and subordinates whose utterances and activities on the third-term agenda continue to fuel tension, insecurity and instability in the polity.
“In view of the struggles and sacrifice made in peace and war to keep Nigeria together and enthrone democracy, President Olusegun Obasanjo should be the last person to preside over the dismemberment of the country.
“The President and the National Assembly should take up, urgently and seriously, the review of the electoral law which shall transform the Electoral Commission into a truly independent organ which will ensure transparent, free and fair elections for the growth and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
“That the Northern Senators, and Northern members of the House of Representatives should be congratulated for their joint message to the meeting in which they promised to stand by their resolve to uphold the interest of the North in the unfolding political atmosphere, and that the people of the North are fully behind them.
“Following the formation of states in the South into a Southern States’ Forum against the North, all Northerners are enjoined not to indulge in any blanket attack against the South. Rather, they should strengthen the harmonious relationship and friendship which they had developed over the years with their Southern compatriots in schools, universities, the public service, business and politics for the unity of the nation,” the ACF said.
George carpets Malu
Meanwhile, National Deputy Chairman (South) of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George yesterday asked the Arewa Consultative Forum to expel former Chief of Army Staff, General Victor Malu, from its fold before his activities bring the apex body into ridicule, just as he lambasted him over his utterances.
“Malu is no match for President Obasanjo in all ramifications, be it academic, age, experience or what have you? The Army is not meant for coup. Those who are pushing him should call him to order. We don’t want to overheat the system, that is why we are silent,” he said.
Chief Bode said the statement credited to the former Army Chief ought not to have come from a forum of the ACF, an assemblage of matured and serious minded Nigerians. “The ACF we know is peopled by matured and serious minded people. The association should never have allowed the likes of Malu to speak at its forum. It will send a wrong signal to the general public.
“Such statements will only breed hatred in the country, which is not good for the unity of the country.
“How can a retired Army officer like Malu be making such an inflammatory statement? I think he knows the implication of coup planning. Because such a coup would have failed and he would have paid for it dearly. It is unbecoming of a man who attained the rank of a General.”
Former Chief of Army Staff and ECOMOG chief, General Victor, was reported to have said he regretted that he never mobilised his boys to overthrow the government of Obasanjo during his tenure as the Army boss, just as he said he disagreed with the president on a number of issues especially that of security.
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