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3rd term attempt: It was a mess up, says David-West

Posted by By HENRY CHUKWURAH, Port Harcourt on 2006/05/22 | Views: 409 |

3rd term attempt: It was a mess up, says David-West


Former oil minister, Prof. Tam David-West, has castigated President Olusegun Obasanjo for blowing the chance to be a democracy hero by waiting till he was humiliated by the National Assembly’s nullification of the third term bill, which sought to elongate his tenure, despite overwhelming opposition by Nigerians.

Former oil minister, Prof. Tam David-West, has castigated President Olusegun Obasanjo for blowing the chance to be a democracy hero by waiting till he was humiliated by the National Assembly’s nullification of the third term bill, which sought to elongate his tenure, despite overwhelming opposition by Nigerians.

The Senate and the House of Representatives last week threw out the Constitution Amendment Bill, which among other things, sought to approve three terms of four years for the president and governors.
The decision of the lawmakers followed heated controversy and opposition against the bid, seen largely as intended to serve an individual.

President Obasanjo had in the aftermath of the National Assembly’s action, said his party, (the Peoples Democratic Party), which had sponsored the contentious move, would abide by the parliament’s position.
"But now, he is less than a hero and I am saying this with all amount of seriousness. He is going to leave office less than a hero. If he had left when the ovation was loudest, he would have been a hero but some of the pluses he got have been rubbished.

"The thing that makes him less than a hero is that all the things he is doing that are considered positive scores, if you look at them and analyse them, they were all done to boost him for 2007."
In the assessment of the fiery university don, the Senate merely acted out of fear and not out of love for their country knowing that to do otherwise was avoidable risk.

"I cannot give them 100 percent kudos. What they have done was out of fear, not out of commitment. If they were doing it out of commitment, this thing would not have gone up to this level. It would have been jettisoned long ago. So now, they are frightened of the consequences, the Armageddon that is overlooking this nation nationally and internationally.

"If you are doing something out of special commitment, I commend you. If you are doing something because the sword of Damocles is dangling over your head, I don’t commend you but I say you have tried. They saved their necks; they never saved the neck of the nation."

Prof. David-West, who described Tuesday’s rejection of the controversial bill as, "one of my greatest days," said the senators were lucky they threw the bill out.
"They are lucky they threw it out because if they did not, some of them would not go back to their constituencies."

He saw the federal lawmakers as, "very unserious" for finding "100 flaws in a constitution that is seven years old," particularly when it was aimed at helping the president’s tenure elongation project.

" I say they are not serious because you cannot change a constitution to suit one man. Constitution in every country is a dynamic document for governing a people and the social changes will inform national tooling at certain clauses. But they don’t sit down and tailor constitutional amendment because of one person."
Prof. David-West said that the nation needs dedicated leaders to get her out of the woods. He gave three conditions for genuine peace and growth in the country.

"First, Nigerians would have no peace till they purge themselves of the crime committed against the Niger Delta. Secondly, this country will continue to have wobbly stability because the centre is very strong. The centre should be very weak. Thirdly, they should make the office of the president very, very unattractive. Right now, it is so attractive and that is why governors are running after Obasanjo. It has become an investment".

Quoting the late K.O. Mbadiwe, he said that "in the past, we over-decorated politics" and suggested that politics in the country should be, "de-decorated" by making political offices less attractive so that only the good and dedicated can come on board.

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