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Mixed Reactions Greet Obasanjo’s Address

Posted by From Kola Ologbondiyan and Donald Andoor in Abuja on 2005/07/27 | Views: 2551 |

Mixed Reactions Greet Obasanjo’s Address

President Olusegun Obasanjo's address to the joint session of the National Assembly yesterday elicited various reactions from the lawmakers. Senator Yari Gandi (ANPP, Sokoto State).

President Olusegun Obasanjo's address to the joint session of the National Assembly yesterday elicited various reactions from the lawmakers.
Senator Yari Gandi (ANPP, Sokoto State).

The issue is that even though the Conference was not sanctioned by the National Assembly, Mr. President is at liberty to bring any document that would improve the chances of good governance in the country.

We will consider the document in the interest of our constituents.
On the debt relief, this is the first official position. Now that we have received President Olusegun Obasanjo, we would also consider the arguments based on their merits so that we will not fall into another "debt trap" because some agreements can also lead to "debt traps" as well.

Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora (AD, Lagos East) President Olusegun Obasanjo’s coming is welcomed. He has put things the right way by saying that the Confab report will be presented with a view to using the same for amendments which had already started but had been delayed.

It appears the delay would turn out as blessings. On debt relief, something has been achieved. I am one of those that have been critical of his junketing but something has been achieved and I also expect the bills that would come to help us.

Senator Ben Obi (PDP, Anambra Central)
Reference to the report of the Conference, it was clear that the report would be sent back to NASS for them to discuss the issues raised therein. However, we believe that though it was not in the interest of National Assembly to support the Confab, it recognises the fact that delegates to the Conference are Nigerians who have made their marks in all areas particularly in governance.
It will not be out of place for us as well meaning Nigerians to consider the report with utmost sincerity and objectivity and that is what we will do.
As regards the $18bn debt relief, its also expected that Obasanjo would also brief the National Assembly on all his efforts in securing the relief particularly as our members participated in involving other parliaments of other countries in securing the debt relief for our nation.
Senator Isaiah Balat (PDP, Kaduna South)
We would study the report carefully and take position. The debt relief would brighten the chances of the country in attracting foreign investment.
Senator Mamman Ali (ANPP, Yobe State)
Debt relief is an academic discourse that requires critical analysis while on the Confab I can say that we had one before and the committee went round the country. This is the second one and the report will be warehoused in the Constitution Review Committee for it (committee) to decide further.
Senator Tunde Ogbeha (PDP, Kogi West)
First and foremost, it is good of him (Obasanjo) to brief Nigerians through the National Assembly because the two issues are momentary. Mr. President also got it right when he said he gave opportunity to discuss and a lot of lessons have emerged and I believe like he said that we must always dialogue and discuss to build a consensus. A walk-out is an extreme position because if a goal is not achieved now, it certainly would be achieved later. If Obasanjo had shunned the moves to secure debt relief on the basis of criticism, Nigeria would not have gotten this far and we might not have benefited from the relief.
Senator Udoma Udo Udoma (PDP, Akwa Ibom State)
On the Confab, we would look at the report as input to the Constitution review but as you know it requires amendment and there other phases that would be followed.
Mr. President has explained the debt relief in great details. A lot of people are making observations and he has cleared the air and spoke authoritatively. He has told the nation he is expecting a new leadership that will continue with reform and anti-corruption.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun (PDP, Ogun Central)
President Olusegun Obasanjo said the right thing. We were not against the Confab but we only did not give them a legal backing. We will look into the report with a high sense of responsibility.
I believe Nigerians should commend the president on the debt relief because it’s like a rebirth for our country.
Senator David Mark (PDP, Benue South)
I think that in terms of the Confab report, it was a good thing that he did not delve into the contents yet. I am sure he is aware that a lot of controversial issues are contained. He must have very well advised not to make categorical statements in that respect. I also believe that if the Confab had taken place about four years back, we would have solved some of those controversial issues by now. But Mr. President has thrown the ball back into our court as the representatives of the people. We will consult with our constituents before we take the report. There are some urgencies but we have to make haste very slowly because the report has the possibility of a tremendous impact.
On debt relief, they have done well to achieve that which brought payment to $18bn from a whopping $40bn.
Hon. Wumi Bewaji AD, Lagos Mainland .
The address is an exercise for self glorification. There is no need for a political conference let alone submitting the report to the National Assembly. On debt relief I’m more worried about what
Mr. President did not say than what he said", From his explanation the 60 percent debt relief was related to only 83.1 percent owed the Paris Club, nothing has been said about the 17 percent owed the multilateral and commercial institutions which makes up to about 6 billion Us dollars of our debt portfolio.

Hon. Bashir Adamu The President's address left me more confused" because I was hearing for the first time that we were owing 38 billion US dollars and that we will repay 12 billion US dollars "This is confusing particularly that 12 billion is to be paid in a very short time."

Hon. Mercy Almona-Isei. I command President Obasanjo for his dogged fight and commitment to liberating Nigeria from the clutches of debt burden thereby erasing all negative perceptions that he was globetrotting for his selfish interest.

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