© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
12 years after failed third term bid – Na’abba says what Obasanjo wanted was president for life
Ghali Na’abba, one-time Speaker of the House of Representatives and one of those who were against the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, says, he (Obasanjo) had an agenda to be president for life with his third term bid.
“What came to my mind was that the third term agenda was undemocratic and since it involved a constitutional amendment, which would eliminate constitutional term limits, it was not going to be an agenda for the President to have a third term, it was for him to be President for life, Na’abba told The Punch in an interview .
“I’m aware that the president wanted a situation whereby he wouldn’t leave the Presidency.
“So my first instinct was to be wary of it and I thought that I must fight to ensure that it did not see the light of day. So that was how other Nigerians and I collaborated to help campaign against it and to eventually cause the National Assembly to vote against the constitutional amendment that could have allowed it.”
He explained that the former president would have had his way if simple majority of the National Assembly was what was needed to amend the constitution.
“If it were a simple majority that was needed to alter the constitution, that agenda would have been passed but fortunately, it was not so.
“For that amendment to be able to go through, it must be passed by two-thirds of the members of each of the chambers of the National Assembly and they could not get that.” Na’abba said
The former Speaker said he regretted that the impeachment move against Obasanjo which he championed then did not succeed.
His words: “Really, I regret that the impeachment was not able to go through on the advice of certain former heads of state that we had tremendous respect for.
“And one of the reasons why we thought we should impeach him was simply because (we felt) something like the removal of term limits was going to be initiated and that was why we thought we should impeach him at the time.”
Speaking on the insecurity in the country, particularly killings in the North East and Benue State, he said those incidents have shown that there is no governance in the country.
“It is very unfortunate and it has conclusively shown that there is no governance in the country because you can’t have a country where there is governance and every day, people are killed – not one person, not two, but 30 people, 50 people, 80 people, this is too much.”
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is the narrowest in the history of Nigeria, noting that the President’s approach to issues portrays him as a man with monopoly of wisdom.
“It cannot tackle the problem because the decision making process of this government is too slow. It is too slow to solve any problem, so it can’t fix any problem.
“I don’t think the country is being well-managed. You can’t have a President who claims he has monopoly of wisdom. That is what it is. This is the narrowest government in the history of this country. The base is too narrow for the country to have stability and the President has a choice to make the government as wide as possible so that all shades of opinions are represented in the government.
“He has that choice but he chooses to make it the narrowest government in the history of this country and it is the consequences of that decision that we are seeing today.