Nigeria Matters

One Term Southern Presidential Candidacy: A Norm?

IS IT NOW A NORM IN NIGERIA THAT EVERY SOUTHERN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MUST ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT TO DO ONLY A TERM?

This piece’s aim is to draw attention to the message implicit in the above caption and to urge those behind such unholy agreement to exercise caution in view of the illegality involved in such agreement and its effect on the peace, political stability and unity of this country. It should be recalled that our past President, Olusegun Obasanjo had faced allegation of a gentleman’s agreement between him and some elements in the ‘North’ that he will do only a term and relinquish power to the ‘North.’ At least discerning eyes read this contention in an interview granted to late Chief Sunday Awoniyi by a national daily, wherein the late octogenarian argued that when he entered into a particular house somewhere in Abuja he saw Obasanjo and some lowly placed ‘Northerners’ haggling about he (Obasanjo) need to enter into an agreement with them to do only a term should he (Obasanjo) be assisted by them to clinch the Presidential Ticket under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This was one of the events that preceded the 1999 PDP Presidential Convention that produced Obasanjo as the flag-bearer of the PDP.

The above perhaps explained why after the emergence of Obasanjo as the President of this country under the platform of the PDP the news became rife that Obasanjo entered into a gentleman’s agreement with some elements in the ‘North’ that he would do only a term and relinquish power to the ‘North.’ I have no quarrel about people entering into an agreement for whatever purpose. But I think that when it comes to agreements that violates any provision entrenched in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and having regard to the solemnity of its provisions – then the letter and spirits of the Constitution should be treated as sacrosanct whenever the person who was ‘coerced’ to enter into such agreement realizes the supremacy of the Constitution vis-à-vis such agreement.

It was also due to that ‘purported agreement’ between Obasanjo and some elements in the ‘North’ that led to some members of the then Northern Governors Forum insistence that Obasanjo should not run for the second term after his first term, so much so that during the Second Presidential Convention of PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku was urged by those Governors to run against Obasanjo. The consequence was that Obasanjo was made to suffer all indignities not befitting of a President of a country which includes kneeling down to his Vice-President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, crawling, pleading with tears that he (Obsanjo) be allowed to enjoy a constitutional right for a second term which should have been granted to him as a matter of right being the then Leader of the PDP.

What baffles me is that Obasanjo did not consider the way and manner he emerged as the Presidential Candidate of the PDP in his first term as unfortunate in view of its implication of generating animosity and rancor capable of undermining the peace and unity of this country whenever such purported agreement is sought to be enforced. If he understood that very well he was expected to vow that such shall not happened again to any free born of this country during his life-time. But sadly he (Obasanjo of all persons) is also accusing President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of attempting to renege on an agreement he entered with him (Obasanjo) to do only a term in his vexed letter to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This is as good as saying to hell with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and by implication to hell to the good people of Nigeria to whom sovereignty of this country resides with.

I was happy to see that the provocative letter Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was copied to Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma; Former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme; and Former President Ibrahim Babaginda. I would want these personages to learn from Former President of South Africa, late Nelson Mandela. One of the attributes that made that iconic great son of Africa an outstanding figure, was his penchant to always stand on the side of what is fair and just. They should ponder over the timing of the letter in order to decipher the real intendment of that letter – which was calculated to undermine and make unstable the government and give vent to the another spurious allegation contained in the letter written by the Governor of Central Bank, Alhaji Sanusi to the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (which he quoted in his letter) and by necessary implication to promote All Progressive Congress (APC) and humiliate the office and person of the Nigerian President. Call it tribalism at work. This is wickedness and I wait to see the responses of these great sons of this great country. They must call Obasanjo’s bluff.

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