Posted by By BIYI ADEGOROYE on
President Olusegun Obasanjo may have assumed direct cordination and control of the "high powered" multidimensional lobby for the actualistion of his much speculated third term ambition.
ē David Mark replaces Mantu as foot soldier
President Olusegun Obasanjo may have assumed direct cordination and control of the "high powered" multidimensional lobby for the actualistion of his much speculated third term ambition. This is seemingly to give the lobby a personal touch as well as get more concrete commitment from supporters.
The president, Saturday Sun gathered, decided to run the show directly following the bougeoning opposition against the controversial agenda as well as the increase in the quality of persons joining the ranks of the anti-third term camp.
To this effect, Obasanjo is said to have been holding private talks with some of the people who cuts across all segments of the society and who have been identifed as key to the realisation to secure tenure extension by constitutional means.
Saturday Sun source disclosed that most of the one-on-one meetings have centred around concessions from the president and commitment on the part of the invitee.
One of those said to have been invited and consulted by Obasanjo is Senator David Mark (Benue) who is said to have even been pencilled down to take over from Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu as arrowhead of the lobby in the National Assembly.
Mark, a former military governor and former Communications Minister, is believed to be a pro-third term campaigner. But when Saturday Sun called him to comment on the meeting with Obasanjo, a legislative assistant of his, a male, of his who picked the call said that the retired General was packing his bag for a trip and could not take the call.
If he is eventually recruited,he would replace Mantu whose current credibility problem and probe in the senate are viewed as possible distractions capable of undermining his ability to secure his colleagues support for the third term project.
" He is to carry out an intense lobby of his fellow senators to ensure that when the third term bill, now entering its Second Reading with the other proposed constitutional amendments, is not torn into shreds, especially at the public hearing session.
Despite that the bill has already gone past the first reading and might go through the process before it is sent back, amended, passed or thrown out, the presidency fears that the latter might be the case, as the immunity clause which the governors are believed to be passionate about is not contained therein.
The governors are said to have made it clear that they would not back third term if their immunity is not guaranteed in the bill.
Mark, whose military background and unalloyed support for President Obasanjo serve as his selling points, is said among many notable Nigerians briefed on specific roles in the game plan to actualize the third term bid.
His first major task, Saturday Sun learnt, would be to see what possible stunt he can pull to see if the bill could still be withrawn, in spite of the First Reading, amended to include the imunity for governors, and then represented afresh before the Senate can go on with the debate.
If this fails, however, the third term campaigners hope that Mark would put up a more convincing defence of the third term project before senator than Mantu can ever do.
Meanwhile, in other to ensure that money does not constitute any problem to the campaign, the funders of the third term project are believed to have made huge cash withdrawls over the last week.
A director of one of the top banks who bank did not have any problems with meeting the CBNís recapitalisation directive confided in Saturday Sun Thursday that his bank was now having problems meeting customers cash demand as a result of huge draw downs made by some key depositors who are belived to be on the third term train.
The inclusion of tenure extension in the recommended amendments to the 1999 Constitution has generated bad blood in the National Assembly in recent times creating division among prominent federal legislators, many of whom are unequivocal in their opposition to the plot.
The alleged third term ambition is also the kernel of the face off between Vice President Atiku Abubakar and President Obasanjo, just as some governorsí opposition to it has put them on the wrong side of the party for "anti-party activities."