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72% Nigerians reject 3rd term

Posted by By Sun News Publishing on 2006/02/28 | Views: 1123 |

72% Nigerians reject 3rd term


As the Joint Committee on the Review of the Constitution (JCRC) drew the curtain on the public hearings held at six different zones of the country between February 22 and 23, 2006, Nigerians have collectively rejected the elongation of the tenure of the present administration, Daily Sun can exclusively reveal.

As the Joint Committee on the Review of the Constitution (JCRC) drew the curtain on the public hearings held at six different zones of the country between February 22 and 23, 2006, Nigerians have collectively rejected the elongation of the tenure of the present administration, Daily Sun can exclusively reveal.

Sources told Daily Sun in Abuja that the Mantu-Committee met up till 4a.m of Sunday morning, and from the reports collated, 72 percent of Nigerians were said to have rejected the third term project, while only 28 percent okayed the agenda.

But despite the outcome of the report, Daily Sun authoritatively gathered that the presidency and the Mantu-Committee are bent in ensuring that the agenda finds its way into the proposed new constitution.

To realise this, the presidency is said to have earmarked five billion naira, to be distributed to both senators and members of the House of Representatives, to ensure that they support the idea.

Daily Sun further gathered that, while three billion naira would be given to the Representatives, the remaining two billion would be shared among the senators. The fund which is expected to be sourced from Corporate Nigeria and in dollar equivalent, is to be exchanged at black market rate in Aba, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Kano states, to avoid upsetting the financial system.

Three senators from Kogi, Niger and a state in South East as well as two members from the House of Representatives, Daily Sun further learnt would serve as the presidency’s link men in the National Assembly, for the purpose of lobbying the lawmakers.

And to ensure that Nigerians back home do not attack their representatives at the National Assembly who are likely to back the third term project, it was agreed that voting on the issue on both the floors of the House and the Senate, would be done by secret balloting.

In a related development, the 36 governors of the country are expected to meet today (Monday) in Abuja ostensibly to deliberate over the raging issue.

Sources told Daily Sun that the presidency was already calling the governors on phone personally, to ensure mass attendance at the meeting. At the meeting, the governors are expected to commend the JCRC sub-committees on the public hearing, for a job well done and endorse the proposed constitutional amendment.

In addition, the governors would be discussing strategies on how to impress it on the lawmakers to go ahead with the third term agenda.

But the anti-third term governors are said to be insisting that their people back home would not accept third term. They were said to have described it as a "time bomb", waiting to explode.
Confirming plans to woo the National Assembly to get the agenda into the constitution, a member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Usman Bugaje said N100 million has been promised each member to enable the president have his way.

Dr. Bugaje said that campaigners for the third term bid of the president at the National Assembly have promised members the huge sums of money in addition to other promises if the president has his way.
Bugaje was in Kaduna to present a paper at the one day conference on the third term organised by the Save Nigeria Movement which was aborted by the Police.

Chairman of the Save Nigeria Movement, organisers of the event told Daily Sun in Kaduna that they came to the venue of the event only to be turned back by a detachment of regular and anti riot policemen who claimed to be acting on the orders of the state Commissioner of Police.

The symposium which was scheduled to hold at the main bowl of the Arewa House, Kaduna was organised by some academics from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the Bayero University, Kano under the auspices of the Save Nigeria Movement and scheduled to speak at the aborted event were the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Sunday Awoniyi who was to present the lead paper, Chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group, Festus Okoye and the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Dr. Usman Bugaje.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs told newsmen that other promises being made to the members include: a return ticket to the National Assembly and a choice plot of land in Abuja for such supporters.

His words: "the people who are canvassing for this at the National Assembly are making promises. One of them is a return ticket. It doesn't matter the party. They will make sure you return to the National Assembly.

"They will make sure that you have a choice plot of land in Abuja with N100 million that you will now build a villa of your choice. If you choose not to go back to your constituency, you can stay in Abuja and enjoy the rest of your life.

"These are the kind of things they are telling them. It is important that the wider Nigerian public appreciates that if they allow such a thing to happen, they are condemned forever. I don't see how they can address the multitude of their problems.

"Graduates have come out of schools without jobs; hospitals have no drugs, you cannot pay school fees for your children. You are condemned to slavery for the rest of your life. So, it is not a small matter.
"Nigerians should be prepared to rise up against these dictators, these hawks who are out to condemn them to a life of slavery for the rest of their lives," he said.

The lawmaker said "What we are telling our colleagues is that if the views you express are the views of your constituents, that is fine. But the constituents should note that if any member they have elected goes and votes in favour of a third term and that is not their view, they have to make this very clear to the person.

"Clear, not only in terms of recalling him, but clear in whichever way they choose to show that this is not their view and he is not representing them. We have to alert the constituents that people like myself who were elected to serve are there because of our constituencies and not because of the presidency or any other person.

Meanwhile, uproar against the purported self-seccesion bid by President Olusegun Obasanjo has resurged, with the "successful" conclusion of the public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution. Calls came from the ranks of the political class and pro-democracy activists on the president to halt the train, to avoid plunging the nation into chaos and instability.

In fact, the Campaign for Democracy (CD), which was in the frontline of opposition to former dictator, General Sani Abacha’s moves to perpetuate himself in office in the 90s, had called on its allies, politicians, professionals and the civil societies to start networking to stop the third term campaigners in their tracks.

The public hearing, which held in the six geo-political zones in the country last week, is widely seen by cynics as part of the ploy to foist the agenda of third term on the country.
In a press release circulated to media houses in Ibadan at the weekend, the pro-democracy group also cautioned President Obasanjo not to sacrifice his integrity and international recognition on the platter of the rumoured third term bid.

The statement, which was signed by the National President of CD, Moshood Erubami, said the group was opposed to the third term agenda because there was no justification for it as there was no spectacular development from the Obasanjo-led PDP government’s reforms CD cited hunger, fall in the standard of education, political assassination, unemployment, handicapped Judiciary, badly equipped police and a highly dependent electoral body, INEC, as few of the problems still plaquing the nation, which Obasanjo administration has not been able to solve since May 1999.

"In the above regards, what the call for third term translate to is that Nigeria cannot manage the victory of civilian transition to civilian regime in 2003 and is therefore dangerously transiting to 2007 without the ability to replace legacies of corruption, intolerance, violent and authoritarian patterns of behaviour left by the military", the statement added. CD, nonetheless, chided President Obasanjo for staking his hard-earned integrity and ‘pretentious love for peace in Africa continent’ by embracing the practice of other African despots.

From the North, Kano based politician, Alhaji Mohammed Gambo Danpass called on President Olusegun Obasanjo to heed the people’s rejection of his third term bid through constitutional manipulation and vacate the seat in 2007. This, he said, would be more honourable, than being forced out by a popular uprising as was sure to happen if he proved not to have any self-respect or the fear of God, the politician said.

He cited a precedence in the Philippines in 1986 when the sit-tight President Ferdinad Marcos fled to America with his shoe-amassing wife, Imelda, where he died a few years later in disgraceful circumstances."

Danpass spoke to Daily Sun in Kano in the aftermath of the zonal public hearing for constitutional reforms in the country.
Danpass said "all the people calling on Obasanjo to 'carry go Baba' don't love him, they hate him that is why they are misleading him," he said.

The Conference of Nigeria political Parties (CNPP) also lent a voice in condemning the agenda, commending Nigerians for their solidarity and support against the third term bid during the public hearing.
It condemned what it described as police brutality, restrictions of attendance, censure of presentation and arrest of UAD officials, by the organisers of what turned out to be closed door hearing."

Describing the third term ambition as a monster and the greatest threat to national security which generates unwarranted tension, the CNPP said for failing to clear the air on the issue, and resist the temptation like President Thabo Mbeki, "President Obasanjo is graduating as the greatest enemy of our democracy and fallen angel."

The group warned that the battle line has been drawn adding that "the only genuine option open to president Obasanjo is to nominate one of his lieutenants to take over from him.

An Alliance for Democracy chieftain and the Secretary of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Dr. Femi Okurounmu, warned that calamity looms in the country if the third term agenda succeeded.
According to him, he did not believe that President wanted to extend his tenure until last week’s public hearing on constitutional amendment.

His words: "I was very amazed. I was shocked really. I was shocked beyond belief because I did not think that could happen. But that was what happened." The former member of the National Assembly who recounted his experience at the public hearing said, "I saw a number of organisations which I wasn’t familiar with. There were many so-called human rights organisations and civil societies, calling for third term."

Okurounmu who expressed dismay at what he described as ugly situation warned against the extension of the tenure of the executive saying: "It is very unfortunate. I think we are going to another dark period of Nigeria’s political history. Just pray that we emerge from it intact. We are laying the foundation of a big crisis."

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.