08 May 2006

3rd Term Issues and an Obasanjo Exclusive

I am wondering if there is a copy anywhere of the proposed amendments to the constitution for civilians like us to read. I am suspecting that there is more to the whole constitutional amendment thing than the 3rd Term issue. I was on the phone with a friend over the weekend and he was like we seem to be more concerned with treating the symptoms rather than the disease. While I agree with him on the fact that we really need to pay more attention to the amendment to the constitution as whole, I think I agree with PC when he says the whole amendment thing can’t happen. For the proposed amendments to pass as law, a 2/3rds majority is required in both senate and house of reps as well as in the state houses.

Embroiled in a discussion on the 3rd term thing on Friday with two of my colleagues I could understand the argument of one of them, an Ijaw guy who says leave the Houses to amend the constitution and let the voters decide. Unfortunately this is Nigeria, not the US; the voters are yet to decide anything in a poll in this country and I don’t think that is about to change now. My concerns are about the very bad precedent this will set, a sitting administration amending the constitution without following due process. What will stop some future president appointing his/her favorite dog (four legged animal as opposed to best human friend) as Minister of Finance like Caligula was reported to have done with his favorite stallion? My other colleague praises me on my insight (), he is Hausa and is thinking along the tribal lines having mistaken the PDP policy for rotational presidency as a constitutional stipulation. Me I don’t give a damn if Carly Fioriani was president of Nigeria, as long as she gets the job done, and I really don’t see what any of the visible Hausa presidential candidates have to offer us. I think the worst of the lot though is Atiku who is like the python who has as swallowed an elephant and is now sitting duck for anyone who comes across him (notably Baba Iyabo if he gets to serve a 3rd term)
The other day I saw a senator on TV foaming at the mouth on the 3rd term issue. This display came a day after I watched the legislators slug it out in the house on the first reading of the bill to allow governors seek a 3rd term in office. I am unimpressed. The Nigerian politician is of a rare breed. Ideally the politician is in office to serve the electorate. The Nigerian politician obviously operates on a totally different mandate, using the electorate to get in pole position to serve his own needs. If he accomplishes anything that serves the public good, be sure it was by accident not design. Most of the anti 3rd term campaigners are against the 3rd term (not the amendment as a whole) because term extension will distort their carefully laid out plans. The public office holders in the group are against it more because it will delay their probable arrival at the government house (or Aso Rock Villa as the case may be) than any mandate they might have received from their constituencies. Civilians in the group are against it because term extension will delay the installment of their ‘person’ in the government house/Aso Rock Villa thereby prolonging their enrollment in the ‘wealth creation’ program for at least another 4 years. We are such a selfless people!

According to the papers this morning, the 3rd term campaigners might need to put plan B into action this is assuming that like good boy scouts they are prepared for all scenarios. People don chop, clean mouth. According to the Vanguard Newspaper, N50M was offered to each senator to facilitate a smooth passing of the amendment bill. The paper didn’t say if the senators took up the offer and even if they did I can bet nobody signed a receipt form! I had heard last week that some party was held by a 3rd campaigner and money was shared. However those who collected money still voted against the bill. You have got to love the Nigerian politician!

N50m bribe rocks anti-third term camp * Bugaje fingers SSA from S-East as point man vanguardngr.com

On a related note, there is this gem of an interview by 'Obasanjo' on the back page of ThisDay.

Exclusive: Why I Want Third Term thisdayonline.com

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