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You can’t pick successor

Posted by By CHRISTIAN ITA and KENNY ASHAKA (Kaduna) on 2006/05/30 | Views: 494 |

You can’t pick successor


As speculation persists that President Olusegun Obasanjo may be working for the emergence of a South-South president in 2007, frontline northern politicians, including Alhaji M.D. Yusufu, weekend said the president does not have what it takes to choose a successor for himself.

•ACD belongs to Atiku, aide

As speculation persists that President Olusegun Obasanjo may be working for the emergence of a South-South president in 2007, frontline northern politicians, including Alhaji M.D. Yusufu, weekend said the president does not have what it takes to choose a successor for himself.

Speaking exclusively with Sunday Sun, Yusufu said the only way Obasanjo could successfully chose his own successor is if the election is rigged.

“People should not have sleepless night over this matter. The presidency is not his (OBJ) to give unless we continue with the situation that brought him in 2003. It is a matter of election,” declared the leader of the defunct Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ).

This is coming just as some prominent politicians and political parties are rejecting the election time-table released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The North and the South-South region are pitted against one another over where the next president should come from.
While the South-South believes it is its turn, with some militant youths in the region threatening secession if the ambition is unrealised, the North contends that going by a subsisting agreement in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), power must revert to the North.

With the failure of the third term agenda, speculation has been rife that the President may influence the party to pick a candidate from South-South as its presidential flagbearer to spite the North for the opposition it mounted against the third term agenda.

However, Yusufu clarified that he is against the North/South dichotomy, expressing opposition to the regionalisation of any political office, stating that nobody should because of his geo-political zone, be prevented from aspiring to any office.

But speaking on the issue, a pro-Atiku campaigner and member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Usman Bugaje, was of the opinion that there are other political parties on whose platforms the North could realise its presidential ambition should the PDP pick its candidate from the South-South.
While trying to down-play the seeming chasm that now exists between the North and South-South on 2007, Bugaje said taking the presidency to the South-South would be inconsistent with “a subsisting” agreement in the PDP that power would return to North in 2007.

Insisting that the two regions have been long time allies, the federal legislator from Katsina State pleaded that the quest for the presidency should not be allowed to jeopardise the relationship, adding, “The reality is that this relationship is very deep.”

Asked what would happen if the PDP were to zone the presidency to South-South, he said: “Let the PDP do what they want to do. If they decide to go South-South, we would wish them luck. There are other political parties that we could use.”

The secretary of PDP in Kaduna State, Alhaji Alimi Yau Abubakar, said if the North does not get the PDP ticket for 2007 presidency, then it would have no choice but to field Vice President Atiku Abubakar as a presidential candidate on the platform of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD).
His words: “If the North does not get the ticket in 2007, it will move to ACD because ACD belongs to Atiku.

“I have no apology to say that. If the North does not get the ticket in PDP, we have an alternative. And whether we like it or not, the North will have a say and will determine who becomes Nigeria’s president in 2007. The North has the joker. Obasanjo cannot give power. Only God gives power. But let me say that the North has all it takes to fight for its right.”

On the recently released election time-table by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi described it as part of a continuing plot to have President Obasanjo stay in office beyond 2007.

The time-table indicates that elections would start on April 7 and end on April 29, just a month to May 29 when a new government should be inaugurated.

Gani, the leader of the National Conscience Party (NCP), said by the time-table, INEC has confirmed it was working hand-in-gloves with the PDP to “illegally elongate the tenure of the president.”
Describing the time-table further as a “mad and insensitive programme”, the renowned lawyer contended that the time-table is programmed to induce chaos in the electoral process, which ultimately would give the president enough reasons not to hand over power.

Insisting that every election should be conducted this year, the fiery lawyer dismissed INEC as “nothing but a tool in the hands of the president, who wants to scuttle democracy. This government does not want to hand over power. He is fighting hard to scuttle democracy and we must not allow it.”
Re-echoing similar sentiments, the Director General of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Prince Kazeem Afegbua, said by releasing the time-table at a time the National Assembly was working a new electoral bill, INEC was merely trying to pre-empt the National Assembly.

Dismissing the time-table as a PDP agenda, Afegbua insisted that “no matter how you see it, it runs foul of the constitution. The constitution says not less that 60 days before inauguration and now he (Professor Maurice Iwu, INEC boss) is giving 30 days.”

Urging the INEC chairman to seek the interpretation of the provision of the constitution on the matter from a constitutional lawyer, the NDP leader wondered what time INEC was giving for petitions.
For Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), the time-table is a mere attempt by the PDP to blackmail members of the National Assembly for killing the third term dream of the party.

Ahamba, a senatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), said: “INEC is trying to pressure the National Assembly into reconsidering the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill.”

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.