Third Term Agenda? What Third Term?

by Paul I. Adujie

President Obasanjo has repeatedly expressed his lack of interest in self-succession as events and all eyes turns toward the 2007 presidential elections in Nigeria. Unfortunately, however, some Nigerians have chosen to exhibit their happy ignorance of President Obasanjo’s clear and concise denunciations of the idea.

First and foremost, it should be clear to Nigerians and the world that President Obasanjo’s antecedents precludes the sort of character that enables and has in the past enabled some to seek self-succession in political helm of affairs in Nigeria.

It must be recalled that it was this man, President Obasanjo, who willingly and voluntarily relinquished political power, even as a military head of the Nigeria state in 1979 to a democratically elected President Shagari.

Unless you are a person or a Nigerian born after 1980, and you have a particular preference for ignoring the history books, as you enjoy your glorious self-inflicted amnesia, you would have to have known, you would have to have heard or read about President Obasanjo’s epoch making and ground breaking willful hand over of political power, even as a military man in 1979.

President Obsanjo’s act of voluntary hand over of power, from the military to a civilian president in Nigeria was an unsurpassed demonstration of patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s national cause. And it was acclaimed and hailed as a first in Nigeria, Africa and most of the world!

It ought to be very clear to Nigerians and the world therefore, that the speculations and rumors of a planned self-succession by President Obasanjo have no basis in fact or reality! It is falsehood aimed at tarnishing and besmearing President Obasanjo’s exemplary service to Nigeria, at all levels, including as the time he served as a military head of state and now, as a civilian president. A civilian president, who has been laying foundations, institutions and systems which are dedicated in all ramifications to, and will sustain Nigeria, now and for a very long time to come.

Nigerians with a good memory of Nigerian history will tell you that it is not in President Obasanjo’s DNA to plan self-succession in 2007. It is against our constitution, it is also against every moral fiber that constitutes President Obasanjo the man!

But why then have the rumors and speculations gained such acceptance? Perhaps this is as a result of misperception or propaganda by enemies and detractors? And those who loathe the current reforms that have been initiated and instituted by President Obasanjo, such as the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Could this be because there are some Nigerians and their cohorts who benefited and seek to continue to benefit from the evils of corruption, regardless of corruption’s detriment to our common good in Nigeria? There are some Nigerians who are unwilling to change from their old nefarious ways, and so, they seek to malign and lampoon President Obasanjo, the champion of the reform programs. These leeches and parasites have constituted themselves into a cabal that continue to seek to destroy the President Obasanjo’s federal administration, all in order for these enemies of Nigeria to be able to return to the old corrupt ways, corrupt ways that benefited them and their friends at the expense of the generality of the citizens of Nigeria.

Regardless of region, religion or ethnicities, the average Nigerian is confronted daily with identical plight and predicament of desperation and hopelessness. Some Nigerians who now are quick to whip up ethnic, regional and religious sentiments are the same Nigerians who are quick to forget that the several decades old abandonment, neglect and mammoth decadence and decay suffered by public infrastructures in Nigeria actually affected all Nigerians identically. Whether such public infrastructures are roads, schools, hospitals etc, inefficiency and ineffectiveness know no region, religion or ethnicities. Corruption and criminal behaviors have no ethnicities, religion and region.

Those who seek only selfish and parochial interests are now whipping up these negative sentiments, a panoply of common denominators for some Nigerians, even in the face of evils, evils that ought to, and should be condemned by all. Frequently, however, some seek to explain evil away by presenting a façade, a cover for their own negative common denominator that tend to bind some Nigerians, as opposed to the sustained pursuit of Nigeria’s national interests, as priority and foremost objective.

It has been quite clear that President Obasanjo does not intend to engage in any self-succession activities. He has on several occasions vehemently rejected it. He has stated that there is no third term ambition on his part. President Obasanjo has been unequivocal and emphatic on this matter of his lack of desire for self-succession and yet the unsavory rumor persists! Even though so, he is on record as having publicly stated that he was looking forward to his retirement to his Otta Farm, as he said something to the effect that he missed his stay on the farms, upon which commentators and cartoonists, joked and derided him, with swipes and snide remarks regarding his plans to retire and return to his “chickens” or “birds” etc.

At other times, I recall clearly, when the president had again restated the absence of desire on his part to seek extension of his final tenure, which ends in 2007, he emphasized that point when he said anyone engaged in such third term project was doing so at their own peril, and further, that such persons were surely on their own! For the purpose of mischief making, for the purpose of causing chaos and distraction from Nigeria’s national interests and purpose, this garbage about third term agenda has been recycled ad nauseam!

Every effort by President Obasanjo to deflate the rumors and speculations about this phantom third term agenda is completely ignored, and in fact, the greater the effort in this regard that has been made by the president, the more redoubled the efforts on the part of the rumor mongers and mischief makers, who have been busy, spreading the falsehoods against President Obasanjo.

There is now a new twist! As it has become obvious that President Obasanjo has no third term agenda whatsoever, his political enemies have changed and embellish the

third term rumor to include something like, if President is not scheming for a third term, it must be because of the welter of opposition that the mention of a third term agenda has received. Oh, it must be because of the resistance and vociferous oppositions from powerful individuals, organizations, political blocs, and it must be because America and Europe are not supportive, etc. What hogwash!

There have been all sorts of orchestrated efforts by political enemies and those who no longer have access to political power and spoils of office of the old corrupt way of life, they are seething with rage and so, they have set themselves the task of denigrating and disparaging President Obasanjo. These cabal who are uninterested in Nigeria’s national interests have aggressively sought to drag President Obasanjo’s good name, integrity, good character and credibility to the mud. All in order to blindfold the average Nigerian, blindfold Nigerians into thinking that the problem with Nigeria is the president himself, a man who is known to have dedicated himself to the cause of Nigeria, 18 hours a day. Why does President Obasanjo get such bad press in Nigeria?

Why? Despite all the reforms being undertaken by President Obasanjo’s administration, an administration that reflect Nigeria, an administration that is suffused with talented Nigerians, young and old, but seasoned world-savvy technocrats! Why is it our current president never get credits for the successes of his sundry reform efforts? Why is it that there is always some political motivation or ethnical motivation or third agenda motivation or some unexplainable motivation for everything our current president does?

President Obasanjo has said it himself, that he will not be blackmailed or intimidated away from the task of continuing and sustaining the direly needed reforms in Nigeria. He has said that he will not falter, fail or be cowed by those who are apparently not focused on our national interests.

May providence and God protect and preserve President Obasanjo and Nigeria

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Anonymous March 2, 2006 - 6:56 am

look mister i dont want this issue to be further stressed.Mr President has nothing to do in aso rock after the 29 of may 007.i will personally see to it that he is pulled out of office he still sticks to that seat.sun new paper of 26th feb.portrayed him saying he is ready to die for the country.ironicaly he is ready to die for the presidential seat come 007,thanks for fearless men like gani fawehimi who quikly brushed of that impulsive comment.quoting hi,"leave ,dont die".my own to him is "leave or die." pls make sure you forward this to him that there are worse osama bin ladens already building up a terrobalistic strong hold against PDP and all evil men in nigeria.thanks my name is jango ibn faloud

Cletus E. Olebunne January 2, 2006 - 10:04 pm

I have so far refused to involve my brain and time in the discussion of what are clearly the governing PDPs issues — the third term agenda and the presidential zoning. But somehow PDP has managed to make these issues national issues.

Unfortunately, the US government has also been dragged into the third term issue. The USA will always have interest in Nigeria; whether Femi Fani-Kayode, the presidential spokesperson likes it or not. Why Because, as long as a country goes panhandling in the form of aid or other supports, that country has sold her soul of complete independence.

Here is the question: When has the PDP issue problems become Nigerias national issues of discussion Granted, PDP is the ruling party; it holds the majority for that matter, but oppositions are not doing good enough job in strengthening their parties to counter PDP and its issues.

Two scenarios:

1. Assuming the unthinkable happened, and there is a third term Obasanjos candidacy under the PDP platform. Does that mean he automatically gets the presidency in 2007

2. The other issue is the power shift. If PDP presents a northern or southern candidate. Does that mean that the PDP candidate gets to be elected president in 2007

If these two questions are answered in affirmation, then there is no democracy in Nigeria; there lies the problem issue. This will mean that Nigerians are trained zombies; that Nigerians will never let their thinking mind do the work of ownership for them. The issues of most importance to discuss I believe should including; electing quality leaders, continuing those institutions that are helping Nigeria progress, grooming new leaders.

When the leadership of an organization is brain storming or discussing the wrong issues or problems that are not there; the entire organization suffers. If this is the case in Nigeria, then we are truly, truly in trouble.

Incompetent leaders tend to create problems that are not there, then try to find solutions to the problems they created that have nothing to do with progressive growth, therefore giving the impression that they are doing something, when in actuality they do not know the real problems or solutions to the real problems. Selfish leadership or personality leadership tends to apply this strategy of creating non-existent problems.

It is great to be a vocal leader, but please, quality leaders know important issues at hand to talk about. Obasanjo not talking on third term issue does not mean he is for the third term agenda. He knows that himself. I believe the man will leave in 2007. I am not a defender of Obasanjo; as a matter of fact, I cannot say whether I like or dislike the guy, but I see him trying. Whether he is genuine or not; that is up to him and his conscience, and how he sleeps at night. Why do I think Obasanjo will leave in 2007 Here were his comments in 1991 on his hand over in 1979 and on Gowons regime:

1. On his hand over to civilian government: He, Obasanjo said, It is a sense of pride in myself and the Military, and in the Nation. We did it without being forced out. It is our utmost commitment; at the end of the day we handed over in peace, in harmony. Saluted the incoming President, walked behind him, and put him in front of me. And from then on, he became the Head of States, President, Commander in Chief, and I became an ordinary citizen of Nigeria, a subject of his.

2. On Gowons regime: Obasanjo said, During the war years, there was everything to agitate the leadership. After victory, then there was slumber. There was attitude of I have done it; I know how to do it. And if I did it and I succeeded, why should anybody say that I cannot do it. I think there was nothing to agitate the leadership. What really substantially damaged the situation (image) of the military in the days of Gowon is going back on their promise. If you now say that you will not hand over because there is a lot of work to be done. There is never going be an end to the work to be done. The work of the nation continues. There is no limit to it. And what really is the substitute for democracy If people have to learn and make mistakes, so be it. In every work of life, people make mistakes and learn again. And, I personally dont see any substitute for democracy

Nigeria political system does not allow debates for Nigerians to truly know their leaders and their capabilities. I believe this will not continue to be the case in the future. In place of the presidential zoning discussion, we should be discussing on allowing political candidate debates at all levels. This way Nigerians will have the opportunity to know their leaders before they are elected. The ones that did not keep up with their promises will not get a second term, because second term debate will be waiting for them. This is how we can build and have quality leaders. Zoning does not produce the best for the country.

We are Nigerians first before party politics; therefore let us all focus on progressive issue discussions, rather than these childlike power struggles that have adults shouting and talking like children. Government should not be the problem or the solution but an instrument that helps people to be the best they can be. This is the role of a democratic government. And the moment we stop talking about what matters the most; our life begin to end.

Future generations, 50, 100 years ahead will look back at this period in time, and say, our forefathers were really ignorant of issues of important for a progressive growth. The good thing about it though is that Nigerians are talking freely.

Have other opposition parties ever thought that, this might be PDPs way of having them involve in PDP discussion and not focusing on strategies that will defeat the ruling party come 2007. Opposition should wake up. Whether the constitution is changed in favor of a third term candidacy, I believe Obasanjo will not seek for a third term candidacy. May be some governors might, but not Obasanjo. There is a vacancy at the Nigeria Presidency. The question is: at this political cross road, who is the best-qualified candidate I know whom I am rooting for, but not until that person makes a public declaration.

Cletus E. Olebunne

Anonymous December 30, 2005 - 11:42 am

This piece is a good literary work that seems to be bereft of realistic situations. The writer needs real conscientization next time he plans to do this type of work.The question one would love to ask the writer, therefore, is whether it is right in any for Obasanjo to allow speculators a field day and not come out openly to make a categorical statement on the rumoured 3rd term bid.

Hnali E.

Anonymous December 28, 2005 - 8:31 am

The author of this article has probably missed Nigeria's recent history.Till he died ,even after being made sole candidate for president by the five parties Abacha never said he would contest as civilian president.Those who jubilated at his timely demise are amazed the same cabal of politicans seem to have roped OBJ into the same game.You must understand Obasanjo does not need to desire to stay past 2007, it is the rogues who are afraid of loosing out in the 'choppings' at Abuja that are pushing him.Of recent with his history of 'How Many Presidents do you want to make of me' in 1999 and his dodging of questions about 2007 ,and the not too secret lobbying by his associates.It is neccessary that he makes a national broadcast about this issue or all of us will live to see the consequence .

Anonymous December 27, 2005 - 3:59 pm

I am most amazed at your simplistic evaluation of the situation! Amazed because I actually think you believe what you have written despite the deafening silence in recent times by a president who is anything but circumspect. Amazing, absolutely amazing.

Goddy December 27, 2005 - 3:14 pm


This is excellent!

Again, you've demonstrated your consistency of positive thoughts in a negative world of cyberspace journalism.

Anonymous December 27, 2005 - 10:21 am

While it might be too early to declare victory, I am of the opinion that the President wont do it. But to say that there are no pressures to do so is to decieve ourselves. We need to continue making clear our opposition while the rumors last, while making it clear as well that we dont need the jobbers of yesterday to lead us to promise land. The sooner the PDP is cleaned up and the President set a clear path for transition then the better for Nigeria. I am of the opinion that the main enemies of Nigeria democracy are the likes of Dikko, Awoniyi (that bastard) and Rimi. These guys are losers.

Michael O.


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