Posted by By Paul Odili & Tina Antony on
AGITATORS of a third term for President Olusegun Obasanjo are plotting a strategy to win the support of the United States of America (USA) for their project.
LAGOS—AGITATORS of a third term for President Olusegun Obasanjo are plotting a strategy to win the support of the United States of America (USA) for their project.
The first leg of the strategy is the setting up of an informal think-tank of top academics by a senior official of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC to influence the White House on the project.
However, Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State wants Nigerians to desist from speculations on the president’s alleged third term plan, because, as he said, the 1999 constitution is clear on the tenure of public office holders.
A source who participated in one of the meetings of the think-tank told Vanguard that the terms of reference of this group, which has mostly academics including Americans, is to develop ideas on how to position the government of the country under President Obasanjo before the American political establishment, especially functionaries of the Bush administration at the White House.
It was learnt that at one of such meetings, the position was canvassed that President Obasanjo’s firm grip on the country has ensured stability, and his reforms have begun to have a salutary effect on the development of the country, and his stay in office beyond 2007 would help to consolidate them. It was further gathered that in using academics, the Nigerian diplomat was counting on people with credentials and whose opinions carry a lot of weight within the American political establishment.
Vanguard learnt that for reasons of confidentiality, this gathering of academics does not hold in the Nigerian embassy, but are held in the homes of various participants, who are regularly informed of developments at home and how that can be used to shape the arguments before the American government.
Also Vanguard reliably gathered that this think-tank set-up a year ago, has also been instrumental in advising the Federal Government on policy and related issues.
Sani faults bid
Meanwhile, Governor Ahmed Sani wants Nigerians to stop speculating on the alleged third tenure game plan of President Obasanjo because the 1999 constitution is clear on the tenure of public office-holders.
Governor Sani in a chat with reporters in Kano said: "As far as I am concerned, the extension of tenure is not within the power of any Nigerian or President Obasanjo to either support, accept or encourage because the Nigerian constitution is very clear on tenure of leadership. It only provides for second term, nothing more. Which is why all of us who have served twice either as governors or legislators and the president must vacate office in 2007 because we have all exhausted our constitutional provision."
Speaking on his presidential ambition, Gov. Sani said his decision to go for the nation’s number one seat in 2007 was informed by pressure from Nigerians. On his relationship with General Muhammadu Buhari, he said the decision on who should be the presidential flag-bearer of the party in 2007 would be determined by the party after its national congress