Posted by By Jide Ajani & Rotimi Ajayi on
PRO-THIRD term governors and loyalists of President Olusegun Obasanjo, in what appears as a face-saving move, have started piling pressure on him to give direction on the next line of action.
ABUJA— PRO-THIRD term governors and loyalists of President Olusegun Obasanjo, in what appears as a face-saving move, have started piling pressure on him to give direction on the next line of action.
Meanwhile, the last has not been heard of the truncated constitution amendment with the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) vowing yesterday to launch a fresh push for changes to the constitution under the next legislative term.
The pressure, which started mounting, following President Obasanjo’s return from France last week, is said to be coming from at least 20 of the 28 PDP governors. Some of the governors, it was learnt, had met with him personally last weekend, before proceeding on his official trip to Rivers State.
Vanguard was reliably informed that some of the governors wanted a committal statement from President Obasanjo on what the next phase of politicking would be. Some of the governors, whose request concerning what next to do is based on personal political interests and survival, are still apprehensive of what would happen next in the polity.
It was learnt that while the politicking for a possible elongation of the tenure of office for the president and governors was on, some of the governors had personally given President Obasanjo their words that they could deliver their legislators in the National Assembly to do their bidding. The governors did not fully deliver their legislators.
However, upon the collapse of the project, some of the governors have been explaining to President Obasanjo how and why the project collapsed. But the twist is that they now want to have a clear picture of President Obasanjo’s mind.
Some of the governors from the six geo-political zones of the country, including some of the governors of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), are also interested in what next President Obasanjo wants to do even as they attempt to factor in their own future political interests into whatever decision would be made by President Obasanjo.
An Aso Rock source told Vanguard that President Obasanjo, at one of such meetings with the governors, “merely smiled and said, well, everybody has to go to the field.”
Obasanjo’s response, and the determination of the PDP to ensure that it gets the best candidates to represent it at next year’s general election may have informed the decision taken by the party to allow for a level playing field when it conducts its primaries.“The PDP has decided that the party would ensure that there is a level playing field for all aspirants at the party’s primaries in the next few months. This is because there is a need to reconcile all members of the party, especially those who feel discounted on account of the registration of last year.
“Today, the party is determined to ensure that it puts behind it those things that are capable of messing it up at the general elections. The PDP is ready now to take on all comers with a renewed sense of fairness and justice. That is the starting point for us in PDP and we are ready to ensure that all members have their fair share of everything,” a PDP National Secretariat source said.
As a result of this, the PDP is going to have primaries composed of 25 delegates from each ward in a state. These delegates would vote at the party’s primaries and local government, state House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senatorial and gubernatorial seats would be chosen openly.
President Obasanjo has also made this public. Making it public last weekend was a first response to demand by some state governors on the way forward.
There is also information suggesting that the PDP is trying to work out an arrangement that would ensure that the next President in 2007 emerges from the South-South geo-political zone.
PDP still wants amendment
Announcing the PDPs preparation for the 2007 elections at a press conference in Abuja, National Secretary of the party, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, said the reforms outlined by the party would form the party’s campaign ahead of the election.
According to Chief Maduekwe, the party decision to amend the constitution, which bill was defeated at the National Assembly last week, was informed by the desire to assuage the feelings of marginalistion in parts of the country.
He said: “The PDP is fully conscious of the expectations of our populace. The party remains alive to its responsibilities as party in government at both federal and state levels. We have offered leadership without minding the cost. We have initiated and implemented reforms, the results of which are clear for all to see.
“The PDP is committed to a comprehensive economic and political reforms of Nigeria. The economic reforms of this administration, applauded by many, must be accompanied by political reforms to reflect the desire of Nigerians for a strong federal and united Nigeria.
“The wholesale termination of the constitution amendment process by the Senate only goes to mask the fundamental problems of Nigeria which will continue to haunt the nation.
“The PDP as a party will continue in the next legislature to press for a fundamental restructuring of the party to assuage feelings of marginalisation, recreate a new national consensus under a civilian dispensation and douse the rising tension in many parts of the land. This commitment is total and re-invigorated by the temporary set back of the current legislative period.
“As a party, there is nothing we can do now as the National Assembly which has the final say has a different opinion. However, while we respect the decision of the National Assembly, we as a party deeply regret the loss of a big and historic opportunity to restructure the foundations of our federation to build a virile and more united polity.
“From the gains of the last seven years, it has become clear that the Nigerian economy is on the verge of take-off. From the pattern of political conflicts of the past, and the nature of contemporary political conflicts, we as a party have come to realise that at the heart of most of these conflicts are questions of equity and access to power and resources.
“Most of the clauses thrown out alongside the third term of four years provision were matters we carefully reflected on and considered that if they were adopted, had the capacity to remove the sources of these conflicts.”
He named some of the cherished visions of the party as derivation, creation of new states as merited, independence of the legislature by institutionalising its funding as first line charge, independence of the judiciary, modification of the immunity clause for the executive, strengthening of the local government system through direct funding, deepening the principle of power rotation at all levels of government and constitutional protection of the six geo-political zones among others.
The PDP secretary said in its preparation for the 2007 elections, the party would ensure that only candidates with sound integrity emerge for its candidates for various elections, adding that the party would embark on electioneering primaries that is very open and transparent. Meanwhile, the party has announced the names of the members of the committees to carry out the reconciliation exercise decided at its emergency NEC meeting last week.
They are: Alhaji Ibrahim Shema and Mrs Paullen Tallen for South-South zone; Chief Bode George, Chief Secondus and Ebenezer Babatope for North-West; Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Aliyu Akwe Doma and Mrs Rita Akpan for North-East; Professor Osamor, Alhaji Ahmed el-Rufai and Hyde Onuaguluchi for North-Central; Mrs Hauwau Isa Bukar, Admiral Murtala Nyako and Mrs Juli Onum Nwariaku for South-West and Professor Jerry Gana, Alhaji Iro Dan Musa and Ambassador Idris Waziri for South-East. The committees are to be inaugurated today.
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