Interim Government: OBJ's Invitation To A Military Coup


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Interim Government: Obasanjo's Invitation To A Military Coup




Phil Tam-Al Alalibo





culled from DAILY TIMES of NIGERIA, August 4, 2006



Even as the people through their representatives in Abuja have soundly and deservingly worsted the third term bid, the resilient and supple demons of term elongation continue to birth new ideas to manipulate Obasanjo and his co-travelers in power beyond their constitutional mandate. The rationalization for a third term, now, aptly couched in the form of an interim government, is clear; that Obasanjo may continue to govern in an interim capacity until further notice. It's a grievous outlook that this absurdity is predicated on the risible notion that out of a possible 150 million Nigerians, home and abroad, not a single one is capable of providing good leadership, except Obasanjo, the same man who has squandered three golden opportunities to positively change the course of affair of a bedraggled nation.


As I look in the Diaspora, I see many Nigerians capable of leading the country right. I see many who are vast in the spheres of leadership and astute in the business of economic reforms and transformation. I see many who are visionaries, persons with genuine interest in the progress of their country. I see many who will return the country to its past and forgotten glory, many who will proffer selfless and honest leadership. Some of them are already transforming their corporations and companies, the world organizations, which they are part of. Here is a good example; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance and Foreign Affairs minister who resigned her position today (August 3, 2006) as a minister in the Obasanjo's government. Her work at the World Bank made her a perfect candidate for the finance ministry. There is hardly a shortage of these and they can easily extend their work to the bigger stage. They are in Canada, in Britain, in Germany, in Holland, in Russia, in the US and many other parts of this earth advancing the democracies of their host countries. I see them in Nigeria as well, but they dare not declare their intentions less they be obliterated by the forces of the malevolent woe-mongers.


Indeed, this ought to be an intriguing point that no one is capable of ruling the country, except Obasanjo, a military man whose education, exposure and civility are well dwarfed by many able minds. But Nigerians know better and cannot be fooled by the sordid intent of this new plot frosted on the nation by those who have benefited from government. Incapable of confronting the soon-to-be reality of powerlessness, incapable of surviving outside the perks of government like fish out of water, incapable of feigning for themselves without the apparatus of government and levers of power, the sycophants are seeking other means to nab unto power. They are afraid of the unknown, they are afraid of being investigated by the EFCC when they vacate office, they are unsure of how else they would make money without the opportunity to dip their hands into the public purse. Some without even the benefit of primary school education are devoid of the simple survival skills needed to forge on in a society such as Nigeria's. Yet many more are afraid of losing the police escorts, the fine cars, the women who patronize them because of their position, they are simply afraid of life without power.


But a salient issue that has been ignored in this new incendiary debate of the formation of an interim government is the constitutional justification for such an arrangement. Where is the stipulation in the constitution that after eight years, if no "capable" Nigerian is found to govern the nation, an interim government shall be formed until such a Nigerian is born? And who is capable of defining the term "capability" if not the electorate? Why not allow elections to forge ahead and let the electorate determine their next leader in a free and fair environment? The interim government arrangement cannot be justified under the 1999 Constitution and therefore it is an aberration, a circumvention of the truth by the shameless and incorrigible barnacles imposing themselves on the Nigerian polity. 


The last time the nation had an interim government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan, it was largely ineffective with no mandate. It was a government beset with paralysis, unable to help itself, not to mention, the Nigerian people. During that brief period in 1993 before Abacha's malignant reign of profligacy took command, all manner of separatists in the polity hoisted their nationalistic flags; the Oduduwas, the Biafrans, the Ijaws, all were harmonized in the quest for nationhood. Chief Shonekan, the unfortunate soul trusted with the caretaker role on account of his ethnicity, was clueless, befuddled and at times looked like a deer with headlight beaming in his eyes. It appears Nigerians are poised to travel that perfidious road again. They have learned nothing from the past as this new plot can soon become the catalyst for a military coup.


And as it is, Obasanjo has mounted the pulpit of muteness watching the debate with solicitous interest. But this time, he cannot afford to dismiss this as the work of independent persons unconnected with his government. He cannot afford to run about the usual business while the plot thickens. The time is now for him as leader of this nation to declare this sadist plot null and void. The time is now for him to reassure the nation that on May 29, 2007, another duly elected president will lead it. The time is now for him to call the doltish and reprehensive characters that are announcing the cancellation of elections to order. If indeed, Obasanjo is attempting once again to circumvent the constitution to remain in power such a frolic is capable of luring the military back to power on the pretext that civilians have violated the constitution and squandered the goodwill and resources of the nation. In this, I am afraid, they will not be far from the truth and if it happens, Nigerians should put the blame where it belongs - on the head of President Olusegun Matthew Aremu Obasanjo.



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