Third Term: A Monster We Nutured?

by Nnaemeka Oruh

Quite a lot has been said about President Olusegun Obasanjo, and third term as a president. The argument seems to be going round in circles, round the man who appears to keep mute on the issue. The most nauseating of all those statements seems to be the one credited to one Mr. Chinedu Offor (“a Washington Correspondent”), to the effect that the US is against Obasanjo’s third term bid, and has further short listed five possible successors, “screened and approved” by the US. Then follows a cartoonish reference to a former speaker of the House of Representative, an eastern governor who is currently having a running battle with Mr. President, etc. While the US has no say in affairs concerning our country, and therefore cannot decide what happens here, Mr Offor’s report borders on dishonesty, a childish report concocted to please certain people. The type of propaganda that Ralph Uwazurike used to offer a destructive mirage to the people of South-Eastern Nigeria. It is such report that I term destructive and indeed a disgrace to the journalistic profession.

Now, if what Mr. “Correspondent from Washington” reported was nauseating, the assertion by the Imo State Governor Chief Achike Udenwa borders on the absurd. Udenwa (perhaps drunk) had asserted that Nigeria is still searching for an indigenous form of democracy and goes further to perceive third term as maybe an indigenous tinge to democracy.Our own form of indigenizing democracy! It was so very easy to see the reason for Udenwa’s assertion: the man has been so busy accumulating political foes, and riches for himself such that beyond the Governorship seat in lmo, Udenwa does not fathom himself going higher. The openings to political maneuverings to a higher position have been blocked by his greed, so he has only two options: to remain a state governor for the third term, or go for local government chairmanship. Despite all his faults, the man still has enough dignity to know that so soon after being the state governor that it amounts to going-down-the-ladder if he contests for local government chairman. So he endorses third term.

I have my own convictions though, and one of such convictions is that Obasanjo initially may not have harboured intentions of going for a third term. I sincerely believe that it was our wrongly conditioned constant expectation of evil that prompted the belief that the man desires a third term, it was then drummed everywhere until the man began to have little ideas running through his head. A few opportunists would have seen that as an opportunity to become dearer to Baba’s heart, and would have consulted with him on how to make that a reality.

So with such thoughts woken up (subconsciously by us all) in Baba’s head, he adopted the best political stance of “No comment”, while laying down plans. The only disclaimer to Baba and third term was the one credited to one of his spokespersons in Sokoto, to the effect that Baba has no such intention. Why we have failed to hear from the horse’s mouth despite the fact that the horse is here with us is nothing short of the fact that certain consultations that will cure the horse of his dumbness are still going on. Political opportunists, seeking for ways to camp with those already in power, with the aim of carving a space for themselves, in the country’s political future are still at work, nurturing the monster.

Once again, we are back to 1979.Once again, the young politicians have the chance of forever removing the stuttering grasp of the old brigade from our nation’s windpipe. Once again, history is giving us another opportunity to re-shape our country. But like 1979, we are proving (like Achebe would say) the Shavian conceit right, that the only thing we learn from experience is that we learn nothing from experience. Clearly, an opportunity has presented itself for the young politicians to take over the affairs of the country, and try to re-write the trend of our country. To input new ideas into the blood of our country will flushing out the caked blood that the Obasanjos, Buharis, Babangidas, Atikus, etc., have used to block the progress of this nation.

Despite the chance we have been offered, like 1979, we are about to jump into the bandwagon of the old, and dancing like frenzied ogbanjes clamour for the old to replace the old. The questions I keep asking is: must it always be the Obasanjos, Buharis, and Babangidas. Doesn’t the nation have other competent leaders? Is this a fiefdom?

Now what I expect is for our young politicians to assertively tell those oldies that the nation will make do with a new crop of leaders. I expect them to shun the gains of jumping into the bandwagon, together with it’s trappings, and strive to evolve a new political face for the country. I further expect them to sensitize the electorate on the need to weigh the experience of their past, and have the boldness to seek out the new while discarding that slavish notion that the devil you know is better than the angel you do not know.

Indeed we have come a long way as a nation of indifferent people. So much have we been wallowing in indifference that we are taken as fools or worse still, as toys with which several assumed leaders satiate their private fantasies. I strongly believe that this is our chance to stand up. This is not the time to sit with our hands tucked firmly into our laps, while we conjure up every imaginable and unimaginable evil, as springing up, and seizing our fate as a nation.

If in the long run Obasanjo’s third term materializes, I shall see the man as having done nothing wrong. I will perceive all of us as having collectively nurtured the monster that would haunt us-perhaps, forever.

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1 comment

Anonymous January 24, 2006 - 12:49 pm

Some people have stood up to the president on the third term and we can count their losses, but come to think of the current happenings and what occured after the June12 Saga , I believe that form of Nigerianess that made Nigerians in every nook and corner, and from all walks of life to protest in large numbers no longer exists . People are beginning to be aware that the so-called protest leaders of that time were mere tribalists leading populists revolts against a system that was bound to be better than their form of Civilian tyranny . Lets be a little bit patient hopefully this regime will be ousted peaceably like the Abacha regime .


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