Posted by By Emmanuel Aziken on
CONTROVERSY over the third term proposed for President Olusegun Obasanjo contained in the draft Constitution prepared by the National Assembly Constitution Review Committee deepened yesterday when a critic of the proposal was removed from the committee.
ABUJA —CONTROVERSY over the third term proposed for President Olusegun Obasanjo contained in the draft Constitution prepared by the National Assembly Constitution Review Committee deepened yesterday when a critic of the proposal was removed from the committee.
Senator Ahmed Aruwa (ANPP, Kaduna) who had criticised the National Assembly as bending towards the inclinations of the presidency was removed from the Committee on account of allegations of absenteeism levelled by his colleagues from Kaduna State.
Senator Aruwa who was incidentally absent from yesterday’s Senate session, however, told Vanguard on telephone that he was removed to ease the passage of the third term agenda for executive office holders.
Although he accused the committee leadership of previously trying to lure him into the third term campaign, he welcomed his removal, saying it had relieved him of the stress of being a member of the committee headed by Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Deputy President of the Senate.
The move against Senator Aruwa followed a letter jointly written by Senators Isaiah Balat (PDP, Kaduna South) and Dalhatu Tafida (PDP, Kaduna North) to the Deputy Senate President, chairman of the Joint National Assembly Committee on the Review of the Constitution, complaining about Aruwa’s absenteeism at the committee meetings. The letter was read out on the Senate’s floor by the President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani, who presided at the session.
In the letter written to Senate Mantu dated November 15, 2005, Senators Balat and Tafida said: "You will recall that during the last National Assembly, distinguished Senator Dalhatu S. Tafida represented Kaduna State in the Joint Committee for Constitutional Review (JCCR). In the recently constituted Joint Committee on Constitutional Review, Senator Dalhatu Tafida was also nominated to represent Kaduna State. But due to his busy schedule, that position was ceded to Senator Ahmed S. Aruwa.
"However, in view of the now emerging facts that Senator Ahmed S. Aruwa who is supposed to represent Kaduna State has not been attending the meetings of the JCCR, the two other Senators from Kaduna, namely –– Senators Dalhatu S. Tafida and Isaiah Balat from Kaduna— have agreed and decided to withdraw Senator Ahmed S. Aruwa from membership of the JCCR to be immediately replaced by distinguished Senator S. Tafida. Please effect this change accordingly."
Responding to the development, Senator Aruwa who was on his way to Kaduna last night said: "Let them check the records, I know I was not at the last meeting, but there is no time a meeting is called that I do not attend except I am outside or on an oversight assignment.
"Anyway, I don’t blame them for doing this because everyone knows that I am against third term and their removing me is to remove an obstacle to that purpose. My not being there may only help them realise their objective.
"I am one of those who cannot be influenced. But by doing this, they have helped to remove me from a committee chaired by Senator Mantu. If anybody had noticed, I do not attend plenary sessions presided over by Senator Mantu," Senator Aruwa said.
Each state is represented in the committee by a Senator from the state and Aruwa had represented Kaduna State in the committee until yesterday when his fellow Senators from the state moved against him.