Of course this is another dynamic era in the history of political innuendo, of which will become a stigma in the remaining life of President Olusegun Obasanjo and his family. I want to vehemently say that his ambition of the third term or any of this related plan and mechanism was un-Obasanjo-like and demonic. It was solely used by jobbers and rats to smell what the people were thinking and disrupting all other economic and social activities of the ordinary Nigerians. The president fell prey, and only his memories of the past will revive him. I will tell you the whole damn story as it’s going on in Nigeria, at least with the limited information I have been able to gather.
We are one vibrant, lively nation despite all the odds we have faced and continue to face everyday. We are definitely not a boring society. There is always something juicy for a journalist to report; be it social-wise, political-wise or economic-wise. Though, unfortunately, not all of what is reported about us is good news, it is however noteworthy that we have somehow managed to be in the international news one way or the other. If our infrastructure were all in place as should be in any well-functioning society, all major international news media outfits will have a major base in Nigeria to report the news that spews out of our very vibrant society on an almost daily basis. But since the antecedent of the new democracy, those in journalism has suffered back in the days till this era of sensitive and pragmatic democracy. They have been killed, intimidated and harassed especially by the SSS, other government officials and the individual bodies. Yet the government has done nothing to help them secure their constitutional rights in the national polity. This is the evil that has been going on in this administration, yet there are propagandas everywhere claiming that Mr. President has done and undone, this is not debated as he is well favor and scented among his predecessors phonies.
For news, we have had the occasional terribly embarrassing reports of failure and inefficiency; the reports of accidents and its attendant loss of lives; the surprising good news in sports before the occasional sudden and disappointing exits; the cheery news of our freedom from the shackles of indebtedness to the Paris Club; the glorious moments of our return to democracy [May 1999]; the kangaroo trial of Ken Saro-Wiwa; the death of a tyrannical General; the C-130 crash that killed over a hundred men and women[?] of the Armed Forces; June 12 and the stepping aside of a gap-toothed General; the fall of a few corrupt but powerful politicians to EFCC and now the latest good news – the rejection by the Senate of the Federal Republic of a bill that would foist upon us Nigerians the wishes of an elite few. The few are the jobbers working in hand with Mr. President to perpetuate their stay in office, and hence further their evil goiter like vampires against the wishes and aspiration of the people. I know they would have failed and which they have failed for a long time now.
“Why are you staring at me? When I put [forward] the question, it was transparently clear. You did not say anything. I put it [the question] twice.” Those were the words of Ken Nnamani, the President of the senate, yesterday, as the Senate rejected the 1999 Constitutional Amendment Bill. His comments were directed at his Deputy, Ibrahim Mantu, who sat stupefied – numbed as he stared in disbelief at the event that unfolded live before his very eyes – as reported by THISDAY newspaper. The Punch newspaper quoted the Senate President slightly different: “I said [to] those in favor of a second reading, say `aye’ and you all sat down looking at me as if it’s by looking at me that you’d vote.” Thereafter came the clincher that was quoted in the press across the world yesterday: “By this result, the Senate has said very clearly that we discontinue further processes on this amendment bill.”And Kenechuwku Nnamani sounded the Gavel.
With those words in the Senate yesterday, May 16, 2006, a death knell was delivered on the issue of the elongation of the tenure of the Obasanjo administration. All major newspapers have reported the visible disappointment amongst those who supported the idea to extend President Obasanjo’s rule. The Punch and THISDAY both reported that the Presidential Villa wore a solemn look yesterday as well. This contrasts with the much vaunted Presidential aides’ declarations that the President [who himself has refused to state his position directly with the people] is not interested in ‘3rd Term’. The somber look they wore is however the latest in the many give away on the part of the Presidency that Nigerians have noticed so far.
And so it came to pass that an idea was hatched called `3rd Term’ and was fine, as every citizen – including the President – has a right to an opinion as to what is best for the nation. This idea was however shrouded in secrecy and smuggled around like it was some deadly contraband. It was not open to the average Nigerian but peddled around the corridors of power. The people, under whose mandate those who hold power were elected, were ignored. Hence the people of Nigeria naturally got suspicious and doubted the sincerity behind the intent to elongate the rule of the incumbent President.
Meanwhile the President keeps mum to date; preferring, like his supporters, to use subterranean moves to achieve his objective. Nobody knew his position and he tactically and disrespectfully [to Nigerians] evaded a direct answer on the issue. But Nigerians do remember that the last man to act in such a way was a bespectacled General of the Nigerian Army who took our nation with him down the path of pariah. That General never spoke his intent either, nor did he stop the campaigners from clamoring for him to remain our ruler for life. Instead, he basked in the attention he was given – even as the existing 5 political parties then all adopted him as their respective flag bearer – until nemesis kindly took him away for us.
So, it was only natural that Nigerians will doubt the current President’s sincerity as well, when he adopts a similar posture in the midst of many intimidations and coercions to force the nation to bend the way of a few. These further added to the disadvantage of a less-than-honorable silence on the part of the President. Also, protests against ‘3rd Term’ were cut short, rallies were tear-gassed, the few who declared intent for the highest office in the land were hounded and intimidated, free assembly of people as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution was denied those who sought it, unknown agents of state raided media houses [AIT], rival politicians and their families were targeted and sometimes assassinated [Rimi] etc.