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Odili sings another tune on 3rd term

Posted by By Femi Babafemi, Lagos and Henry Chukwurah, Port Harcourt on 2006/05/17 | Views: 385 |

Odili sings another tune on 3rd term


The alleged U-turn of Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili on his support for a tenure elongation for President Olusegun Obasanjo has begun to attract reactions from prominent Nigerians, most of who expressed doubt over the sincerity of the governor.

The alleged U-turn of Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili on his support for a tenure elongation for President Olusegun Obasanjo has begun to attract reactions from prominent Nigerians, most of who expressed doubt over the sincerity of the governor.

A national daily had on Tuesday quoted Governor Odili as saying that plans for tenure extension is a crazy idea. "Seeing a situation where a man is running one race, he hasnít finished that race, he starts running another one, it is crazy; isnít it? Let us face what we have first and pray God will help us to finish what we are doing to His pleasure, satisfaction, His glory and to the upliftment(sic) of our people. That is our focus," the governor was said to have declared in Port Harcourt weekend in response to question on the controversial third term agenda.

The governor has been an ardent supporter of President Obasanjo and his alleged desire to run for a third term in office. He had in February declared his preparedness to appeal to Obasanjo to seek for another term in office during his appearance on a Cable News Network (CNN) programme.
Leading the pack of prominent Nigerians who expressed surprise over the report credited to Governor Odili, fiery lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) said if indeed the governor expressed the view, he couldnít have done it out of sincerity.

His words, "he knows third term has failed, he wants to get back to public reckoning. Nobody should take him serious, he is an Obasanjo man. He is probably saying that to save his face when he knows third term has failed. I canít really waste time on the comment of somebody like Odili."
Chief Fawehinmiís view was also backed by a chieftain of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Senator Joseph Waku. "I donít believe him. If that is his comment, then the reality has dawned on him because he has been accused of being the financier of third term," he added.

Speaking in the same vein, former Lagos State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav said, "I think he has seen the handwriting on the wall or maybe his people have been putting pressure on him because there will be no benefit there for any of them supporting third term."

In his own reaction, a vocal voice in the South-South region, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) said "I canít believe it, itís extra-ordinary. I donít know what is behind his new opinion. He should have seen that the project is a doomed one, no dictator has ever succeeded with it. It is really a crazy idea. To me, it is an incredible turn for Odili and that is expected from every democrat."

The report on the governorís volte-face on third term has, however, created jitters within his government which in a swift reaction Tuesday denied that the governor kicked against a tenure extension for President Obasanjoís administration.

Describing the report as "a lie", at a press briefing Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Magnus Abe, said that although the governor granted an interview to some "editors" who accompanied the Minister of Works to the state recently, the issue of tenure extension did not feature in the interview.

"At no time in the course of the interview was the issue of tenure extension raised or discussed".
Abe who said he witnessed the interview, recalled that one of the unidentified editors wanted to know the governorís plan after 2007 and Governor Odili told him he would rather bother about the present.
"Governor Odili who prefers to leave tomorrow in the hands of God said that his major concern was his on-going assignment in Rivers State. He said he will concentrate on what he is doing in the state presently and prayed that God will help him to accomplish his vision to His glory and to the upliftment (sic) of his people saying that talking of what he will do in the future when he has not finished with his present task was crazy."

The Commissioner said the state government saw the publication as a deliberate attempt at damaging the cordial relationship between the governor and the President.
"The reading public would recall that there has been series of sponsored efforts by some sections of the press to destroy Dr. Odiliís rising political profile and damage his much talked-about special relationship with the Presidency.

"Let us say here that these efforts are laughable. The relationship between the Rivers State Government and the Presidency is founded on mutual trust, confidence and shared ideals".

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