Finally, They Took A Stand: How Third Term Agenda Will Change Nigeria

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

“Moses and Jesus Christ came for different missions and the Almighty God did not say ‘stay on earth until all humanity becomes holy.” Audu Ogbeh (at Anti-Third Term Meeting)

Specific years will go down in the history of Nigeria as important, but few years will be more crucial than 2006. In 2006, the future of Nigeria will be either be made or be broken. Early indications have since being emerging. Newswires have been jammed with news of the open revolt of Mr. VP and his friends: and I must say that I am impressed. Impressed not by the personalities involved, but impressed how in a country like ours – good people can become bad actors and vice versa.

The sudden discovery of courage and “liver” as warfarians will won’t to say by my dear Vice President Atiku Abubakar is the good act that is the talk of town. Not that OBJ is a good actor by any stretch of imagination, neither can I really vow for the reputation of his “vice” in this case either. But the fast degeneration of the Principal Demonic Party (PDP) is what is coming as a surprise to watchers of the so called “biggest” party in Africa. Like the country which it presides over; PDP has shown us that bigger might not be better after all.

Mr. VP finally came out to defend his honor, as a true prince of the Yar’dua political dynasty not to tow the line of the bully, in this case his own president: our own dear baba OBJ. Watchers of political event in Nigeria cannot deny the symbolism of the gathering that came together at which the Vice President finally voiced his inner impetus. Without mincing words in the presence of the likes of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Orji Kalu, Audu Ogbeh, the “catch them mugu” ex alliance of democracy governors the western states excluding Adefarati, General Buhari, MD Yusuf, Orji Kalu, 45 serving senators, and 150 House of Rep members, Na’aba the ultimate enfant terrible; VP Atiku finally answered the name of his father. It is important to note that until OBJ through his mouthpiece finally confirmed his third term ambitions, the Vice President did not open up himself to flak from the enemy camp.

For those that have been quick to dismiss this gathering as a committee of losers, I beg to disagree. In fact, if the President men thought the people who gathered at this meeting were not potent enough why did they disallow them from meeting at Sheraton Hotel? In our own country we cannot freely hold meetings again? Haba! Is this how far we have sunk into dictatorship? I find it funny that supporters of this agenda, even those of them that enjoy the pleasure of freedom in foreign countries and are knowledgeable in law, will not condemn these acts. What a shame! Anyway, it was a demonstration of political courage by the Niger State government (an open opponent of the third term) that finally allowed Nigerians to see the first real opposition to the third term plot. The government of the state that gave us maradona (a man currently in denial), lent the “Nigerian people” the use of its government lodge. Future meetings of any groups opposing Mr. President may well be fixed for private residences because as far as OBJ is concerned only his supporters can have a meeting in our country!

Indeed, the personalities at this gathering were mixed but the benefit that will accrue to us should not be lost. Comments disavowing the people that gathered at the gathering as corrupt hence throwing the baby with the tub water is evidently misconstrued. What Nigerians may well be seeing is a true competition at the elitist level that might save us the torture of dictatorship and one party state. For the sake of political opportunism, many of the members of the new grouping may well have an axe to grind with the president but eventually what this will lead to is the break up of a monstrous party that have destroyed our country. The problem of Nigeria is PDP not even OBJ. PDP as it is configured is a party of crooks- let the crooks break up into two and then we might start having serious debate and competition at all levels of government.

The new gathering of 45 senators and House of Representative members is definitely enough to stop the third term agenda cold. Two-thirds vote from each chamber is needed to carry through the evil proposal, totaling 240 and 73; at the end of the day if the number of legislators is anything to go by, OBJ can kiss his third term agenda goodbye. The time to fight is now, but this fight is greater than a third term agenda. This fight is over whether multi-party democracy can take root in our country or not. At some point in the life of a nation her citizens must take a stand- we cannot afford to hand over the keys of our nation to a unified group of brigands- let the brigands compete for our vote and we might indeed make up our mind on whom to support. Apparently, this gathering was full of rhetoric- the real test will come at the polls next year when they will be asked to present manifestos, candidates on their platform (sure it is sure as death that the OBJ installed PDP Ex-co will expel them all), and then we shall see how they measure up in the hall of public opinion.

More than anything else, the meeting showed that in any case President Obasanjo’s greatest headache is not Atiku – it is the most adept politician in Nigeria today, that gets very little or no credit: Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. This is a man that has stood up to the President and has won every step of the way. From 2003 election, to maintenance of roads in Lagos, to Local Government creation/allocation and now to this public fight over third term Tinubu has shown he understands the game of politics is not just about bullying and unnecessary rigmarole but sometimes it is about building a potent political force behind a central idea. It is not lost on me that Tinubu wants to play a role in the next dispensation and Nigeria will be lucky to have him: at least we can have someone that believes in true federalism in the federal government for the first time. His greatest task will be adequately convincing the sharks that surround him that they should give federalism a chance in our country because the motives of all these individuals vary greatly.

The ability of this new political movement to flourish will depend largely on managing the various characters that are in house. Some people will have to give up their ambition for others, and they must show Nigeria that they are different from the PDP. The first step they can take is to truly allow their members to elect their presidential flag bearer without some underhanded tactics as we are used to in PDP. Let Buhari, Atiku and Kalu begin their feverish campaign to gain the ticket of this grouping and let Nigerians see true democracy. It will be im

perative that they also present a cohesive front in programs and manifestoes that is not written, audited and published in Washington DC. It is my belief that the variation of the personalities and the varying reputation that each name brings to the table can be harnessed to becoming a political capital rather than a liability- but it all depends on what the message is.

Let the naysayer that have previously announced the death of multi-party democracy in Nigeria have a rethink tonight. Let Nigerians hope that this group does not also have a price- because we are in Nigeria; they can be bought. To the people that asked the Vice President to resign, I call them cowards. If they are not cowards let them go to the national assembly and seek his impeachment and see if they have the two-thirds vote to effect his removal. Keeping Atiku in the confines of power is a strategic coup that the current opposition must not give up- his face will be a reminder of dissent in the gathering of the sycophants. It is not surprising that the Alsatian dog in Aso Rock Mr. Fani Kayode has started barking; but this time, his barking sounds like those from a drowning dog. As far as am concerned, Nigeria is a better place when multiplicity of opinions is entertained. It is not unpatriotic when we disagree with the people governing us: they are public servants that should serve at our pleasure not lord it over us or over whose feet we must worship as many OBJokers are won’t to remind us. Nigeria is for all of us- the thieves, the pious, the saints, the conniving and the backstabbers. Let us make our country greater.

Last Line:

“Obasanjo is my brother, my kinsman; there is no way I can deny him. Abiola, my other kinsman, died for the cause of democracy. He is an Egba man. I don’t want another Egba man to die. I want to welcome him (Obasanjo) back home. I don’t want another Abiola. Therefore, help me to say no to third term.”

Chief Segun Osoba

“We are with your anti-tinkering, anti-amendment. It is a principled position we must maintain,”

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

“Indeed, the call for resignation should be directed at the President and others who are pursuing an agenda that is subversive to the constitution, and the will of the majority of Nigerians. The Vice-President was elected by the people of this country and he is busy doing what they have elected him to do. The Vice-President is committed to serving to the end of the second term and therefore will not resign.”

Press Release from office of Vice President

“I will be militant about it (agenda) if it succeeds. It is going to be dangerous for him; it is going to be dangerous for the society.”

Governor Orji Kalu

“The battle line has been drawn.”

Professor Ben Nwabueze SAN

“I will give you all the support you need. I will be with you. Nigeria, which is supposed to be the leading light in the continent, is lagging behind. We are still debating political succession”

Vice President Atiku Abubakar

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Anonymous April 20, 2006 - 7:29 am


Only an insane citizen of any country will wish to be governed by anything other than the constitution. Laws have been as old as the human race. From creation, we are made to understand that there had existed a law, the first law, the law of creation. In the garden of Eden, there had been a law of the forbidden fruit. After the massive exodus of the children of Israel from the land of slavery, laws had been provided to pattern the everyday living of the Jews. Even in military regimes where brute force reigns supreme, decrees are enacted to give control to governance. In democracy, the legal finesse resides in the constitution, because it is the will of the people (in most cases it is the supposed will); which is why the constitution begins with the phrase we the people So who can wish away the gathered force; the collective will of the people?

In the Nigerian situation, our constitution is our constitution At this juncture, it might be necessary to question the authority of such a constitution. With the circumstances that surrounded its drafting; the military influence; the rushed concoction; the conscious protective clauses to the benefits of a peculiar class; inherent immunity jargons; expressions of injustice; chaotic and mindless additives; thematic and stylistic crookedness; attendant short-sightedness; interpretational impediments; foggy dichotomies; exaggerated and sometimes diminutive premises and conclusions; faulty inductions and deductions; naked class insolence; brazen impunities including twisted handsands; other wanton inclusions. What could then be the unforgivable evil in the planned and eventual amendment seven years after!

Nigeria operates a written and flexible constitution, which invariably means that whenever deemed fit, phrases and clauses could be included and subtracted in the accepted process of continuous remoulding; which connotes jaundiced expressions and intensions could be done away with to suit the proper democratic will of the people; which implies that it is a norm to retouch the constitution until it suits the veritable will of the people THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE!! If we could be comfortable with a constitution, no matter how badly flawed, packaged and delivered with military understanding, how much less agitated would it be to receive with open hands, a timely amendment?! More intriguing, how laughable would it be to kick stoutly against such an amendment by a democratic regime?! Let us not permit our hastiness here, let us stoop to reason! When did it actually become a crime to correct our book of laws, particularly when the will of the people had been thoroughly battered from its very foundations?! What is the hullabaloo all about now? Could it be a hangover of the military mentality? Could it be democratic infantility? Could it be a spill-over of the bane of ethnicity?! Appalling!!

The constitution amendment committee has over one hundred and thirty reasons why it was constituted. The issue of tenure, if we would all agree, is unrepentantly infinitesimal to the other many issues of greater, crucial and national concern. Have we ever stopped to think about the vexatious issue of immunity imposed on the constitution; imposed on Nigerians, which has continued to give nerve and verve to the destructive monster of corruption; which has continued to celebrate the rottenness of squander-mania within the political class?! Are the gods so angry with us that they have inflicted us with a terrible kind of blindness too severe to recover from? What on earth could this whole quarrel about tenure elongation mean? Nigeria is a sovereign State and on no account should her democracy be patterned after any pre-existing democracy in the world. The fact that the American or British democracies have worked out in their respective political terrains is not a hard and fast rule that it would work for us. Our democracy is purely circumstantial, especially given our geo-political heterogeneity. Nigeria reserves the sovereign right to invent her own kind of democracy to be copied from by whoever cares! We are not cursed to remain slaves to western colonial dogmatic finalities. WE ARE FREE AND FREE INDEED!!! If we decided to elongate our tenure twenty years hereafter for a single tenure, it is strictly the business of Nigerians; it is also because our socio-economic, nay political situation have coined it so. What we should be interested more in this issue of tenure, should be the authoritative justification of rotation of power within the six recognised geo-political zones in the country, and at such a time that would foster perfect peace and harmony in the polity.

Besides, the Obasanjo administration in all its supposed failure, has achieved quite a great number of novelties. Let us be bold enough to appreciate the regimes anti-corruption posture, where corruption is not only fought, but is seen to be fought. The plucking down of decayed apples in the shameful name of corrupt political office holders; the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), giving sleepless nights to money launderers and advance fee fraudsters; the destruction of fake drug syndicates; the firm establishment of Due Process Department for efficiency in contract execution; stern fiscal discipline with resultant financial reserves; successful recapitalisation and mergers in the banking sector; revocation of ill-acquired land in the Federal Capital Territory and beyond; ban on importation of finished, foreign goods; prompt checks on trans-border banditry; etc. In all its supposed failure, the Obasanjo administration has been able to restore Nigerias image in the comity of nations; it has been able to keep hold on derailing African nations, restoring peace and order where necessary, revamping and even surpassing the old diplomatic ingenuity which Nigeria had been known for. Yet in all its supposed failure, the Obasanjo administration has to a large extent been able to stimulate economic growth internally, creating the pride of a national brand for Nigeria. A lot many reforms – too numerous to mention abound, sure-footed to take Nigeria to the heights of glory in the nearest future.

Every Nigerian is well aware of the present political impasse in the country; no pretensions about that. It ranges from the issue of power shift in the Northern geo-political zones, to the threatening demand for political and economic cessation in the East; to the all pervading issue of power acquisition, resource control, true federalism, in the South-South, culminating in the continuous recent abduction of expatriates in the Niger Delta region and other such vexed reprisals. We acknowledge these problems no doubt.

But one riddle remains unravelled: Who is that sanctimonious angel at this period of no return that has been ordained to salvage Nigeria from the paws of her present predicaments? Or better put, who is that pious brother Moses anointed to lead us Nigerians to the promised land? There abounds no argument here that if such is presented with the utmost yardsticks of credibility and surety, Nigerians will hastily embrace the revelation with profound joy and relief. We engross our thoughts and busy ourselves and waste our irrecoverable time with ubiquitous chanting of anti-third term songs; we jolly so much as crusaders of fruitless pedantic engagements without first observing the crux of the matter: leadership. Are we all sure we still want this Nigeria, our Nigeria, to continue in the functionality of its present state of indivisibility? We will never be a thoughtless people, given only to the sentimentality of nepotic traits! The closest option to victory is what we desire at present. Better the devil we know, than the holier-than-thou that is yet to surface. We agree in totality that justice ought to, and must be done. To that group that has suffered mindless injustices since amalgamation through independence and truncated military and democratic dispensations, we plead adherence to the principle of give and take. To the anxious group, hungry to return to power only after a brief exit, we call for patience and the reason of justice. Yet to those calling for cessation, we refer them to the adage of the broom, who when it stands alone is broken easily, but when gathered in its bundle, hardly ever gives way. Nigeria is too closely knitted to be so cheaply torn apart by the mis-virtue of anger. Here we call for restraint.

From the foregoing, we are left to judge if we actually want the exit of Obasanjo who is presently holding sway in the highest echelon of power in the country, and if we really suggest that his stepping aside will not create a dark cavity for the sipping in of mayhem; if the centre stage will not be left open to another session of armed struggles and if that fallowed soil will not be only too fertile for the blooming of anarchy. Let us first be sure, lest we allow our emotions control our actions; lest we make the wrong choice and regret in either the short or long run. Let us think well; let us explore our foresight with caution and diligence. Continuity may be it at the moment, who knows? God bless Nigeria, Amen and amen!

Anonymous April 11, 2006 - 8:50 pm

Great piece. Thank you for being honest!

murna tam gilbert.

Anonymous April 10, 2006 - 8:30 am

It is a pity that the demonic greedness and selfishness of Obj and his cohorts cannot allow them to think about this their evil agenda and its consequences. It beats my imagination why somebody that have ruled this country in three different tenures and the most beneficiary of this democratic experince should be doing everything possible to scuffle it. While should Obj amend the constitution to allow himself another four years after which no person from Yoruba tribe will rule for the next 60 years. It is selfishness to the highest order and we will do everything possible to resist it. My fear is that War doesn't favour any good person. But we cannot morgage the future of our children to an old greedy and selfish president.Please Mr Mandele and Thabo Mbeki should help us advice our all-knowing president.


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