Third-Term: An Attempt To Pilfer People's Will


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Third-Term: An Attempt To Pilfer People's Will




Ayo Fawibe



March 21, 2006



The hue and cry being raised over the authenticity of a third term plot by Obasanjo and his henchmen in the PDP should now be laid to rest, especially since the Senator Ibrahim Mantu led National Assembly Joint Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has expectedly slammed down a gavel of approval for the unfortunate venture.

Even as Obasanjo, his bulldog, Femi Fani-Kayode and other PDP political jingoists kept playing hide and seek in the news media to distract the world from their plot to subvert the will of Nigerians, it’s heartwarming to realize that so many upright Nigerians were actually right for being suspicious.


Indeed, so many Nigerians, especially those who are actual political pundits and analysts would have been so disappointed and possibly disgraced for coming up with weird permutations, had a contrary scenario reared its head.

It’s assumed that Obasanjo has already secured a purchased third term ticket and this leaves us with the matters arising and that’s people’s will. A big ‘congratulations’ to Mantu for being a true member of the PDP, but he also deserves a bigger castigation for opening his mouth too wide in trying to justify fraud and daylight robbery as the will of Nigerians.

What do you expect from Mantu who is very much under the searchlight and almost sinking? He is at the threshold of being recalled from the national assembly by his constituency in Plateau State and  still fighting hard to swim through the murky waters of complicity for being named as an accomplice by Governor Dariye in the stealing of almost 2billion dollars from the Plateau State coffers to support Obasanjo’s second term project. Above all, the fair skinned senator is struggling to survive being impeached from the national assembly over the diversion of some funds belonging to his constitution review committee and for his overall complicity in the third term scandal.


And if Mantu is so sure that it’s the will of Nigerians to have Obasanjo for a third term in office, then there wouldn’t be the need for elections in 2007. What do we need an election for? In any case, Nigerians don’t even have a say in the present scheme of things, therefore there is actually no will existing for them to express.

The truth is that Nigerians have had their mandate stolen a long time ago and the process commenced by the British colonialists who imposed their own version of governance and this probably continued in the change of baton immediately after independence. So, the robbery has continued through all the administrations we’ve had in place till today; of course, the Obasanjo administration is not an exception.


The MKO Abiola’s June 12 mandate would have had a mere resemblance of a true will as expressed by Nigerians, but it was also stolen just like the others. Or is it possible for any military government to lay claim to people’s will through a coup? Or would anyone say the Shagari NPN civilian administration was truly the will of Nigerians?

Therefore, Mantu and his ‘committee of wise men’ are only serving as another conduit pipe for perpetrating the continued storage of a stolen mandate. Technically, Nigerians have already been robbed and there wouldn’t be need for any elections in 2007 if Obasanjo succeeds in his determination to simply continue in office.

Are you asking about what the role of the other political parties would be? There appears to be no other political party other than the PDP since the rest of them still operate like associations, even the supposedly strong ones, the All Nigeria People’s Party( ANPP), the Alliance for Democracy(AD) and the Movement for the Restoration and Defense of Democracy (MRDD) are not potent forces to be reckoned with in the present political calculations. Therefore it is safe to conclude that these one legged parties cannot pose a formidable opposition to the PDP, talk less of successfully amplifying the voice of Nigerians against the third term usurpers.


When Macon Hawkins of Texas was released by the militants in Niger-Delta, he couldn’t but express worries over the precarious situation of the slums in the oil producing communities. All he said was the need for the United States to pressurize Nigerian leaders on the need to take care of their people. Of course, his assessment of the situation is genuinely the true portrait of the Nigerians masses in whose lives poverty is already reigning supreme. The situation in the Niger-Delta creeks is similar to those of Nigerians living in the slums of Nyanyan, Mararaba, ldu-Karumu and other suburbs of Abuja, most of them a stone throw distance to Aso Rock. Obasanjo probably needs only four years more to actually transform Nigeria, even if the task has been too laborious for him in eight years. Nigeria’s destiny is certainly not in the hands of an Obasanjo or a Mantu, so if the Ota farmer needs more time to consolidate his failure, then Nigerians should actually avail him of the opportunity to hang himself. But it would on record that if Obasanjo dies trying to solve Nigeria’s problems, then he would have died in vain since his death won’t actually take away our troubles.


The third term debacle is actually a blessing in disguise to Nigerians and this should be acknowledged as one of those hard lessons our people must learn in order to define their approach to the future of the country. If some Nigerians had doubts about the integrity of leaders we have, they should now be convinced that they are a bunch of unaccountable and self-seeking chameleonic beings who wouldn’t think twice to auction the country itself, if given the opportunity.


Obasanjo’s seven years in office has nothing in its trail, but tales of woes and calamities. Our people have never had it so difficult, even in the days of the gun-totting military boys. But today it appears that Obasanjo has developed a stone heart that is impenetrable by any wise counsel from within and outside the country.

When Clement Nwankwo of Constitutional Rights Project(CRP) spoke in an interview on the National Public Radio in the US, he painted the grim picture of a potential Nigerian sit-tight president who is old and devoid of the kind of vibrancy required to move the nation forward. Nwankwo’s analysis perfectly fits into the awkwardness of the situation in our country today where the likes of Chief Tony Anenih and others are ever prepared to sing the tunes of deception into the ears of Mr. President. As a member of the kitchen cabinet, Anenih and others are always at hand in Aso Rock to hail Obasanjo for his prowess as a skillful squash player and at dinner, they would reassure Mr. President that all  Nigerians, from North to South and East to West are actually clamoring for his continuous stay in office.


We’ve heard that the private sector have been at the forefront among those urging Obasanjo to ‘carry go’ as Nigeria’s life president. They are not to be blamed, since they are making the best out of profiteering under the present government’s economic policies. There is no doubting the fact that those of them in the oil industry are very much ready to spend some portion of their windfall on the third term agenda, even if the Niger-Delta is on fire, after all, they don’t really have to account for all the millions of dollar being siphoned out of the country; unlike in the US where the major oil companies are currently being asked by Congress to justify the huge profits realized and the modus oprandis for injecting some of it back into the system.


Abacha probably enjoyed the patronage of sycophants more than any other head of state Nigeria ever had and they were always there for him, even if it meant for the Moslem brothers to break the Ramadan fast every evening at the presidential villa under the watchful eyes of the boss. They were able to convince him that one million Nigerians were ready to march in support of his continuous rule. Abacha was so carried away that he secretly drove round the Eagle Square with a few of his security details to assess the success of the march, but if he were to be alive today, it would have dawned on him that except for faithful loyalists like the late Alhaji Wada Nas and Alhaji Alao Arisekola, so many of those praise singers were just sycophants who probably celebrated his death with beer and pepper soup.


Except if Obasanjo decides to backpedal, there is no doubt that the third term project is now his first love just like Abacha while every other concern occupies a second place in his psyche. Some people have said that Obasanjo is pursuing the third term agenda to ensure that power resides in the south. This notion is just a way of evading the real issue, which is the welfare of Nigerians, so if he’s been there for eight years in the name of the south  and the nation is stagnant, then the self acclaimed messiah is certainly not a true representative of the region.                                       


But the national assembly must strive to protect the interest of the people they are supposed to represent, even if most of the governors have been cowered to support the perilous third term project, especially for the fear of being hounded into detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).                                                                                       

As the game continues, if Mantu must be impeached in the overall interest of sustaining democracy, then let him be sacrificed while the progressive lawmakers battle to scuttle the dangerous scheming of the pro-third term group. However, if our distinguished senators and honorable members of the house fail to uphold the protection of democratic governance in Nigeria, then the people shall speak for themselves when the time comes and this might be in any form.




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