Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Ibrahim Mantu, a former deputy senate president, has disclosed how former president Olusegun Obasanjo third term agenda failed in 2006.Mantu, in the interview granted to the Premium Times, said that Obasanjo was unhappy that the plan to extend his tenure beyond the two terms approved by the Constitution failed.According to him, the senate in 2006 overwhelmingly declined an offer to amend the Nigerian Constitution, which would have made Obasanjo entitled to contest again for president, after eight years in office.
Former politician was one of Obasanjo’s henchmen in the then senate and was the chairman of the Constitution Review Committee.He said: “I don’t want to say much about that. All I know is that he was not happy.”“But he knew a tree could not make a forest.”Meanwhile, Mantu, former deputy senate president, stated that Obasanjo should be praised for subjecting himself to a constitutional process when he wanted a third term, unlike other African leaders who forcefully stayed in office beyond their tenure.
“If Obasanjo had wanted to cause confusion, he was still the incumbent president, he could have caused a lot of problem,” he noted.
“He could have even asked the military to stage a coup against him.
“Then, United Nations would come and say we should negotiate and that Obasanjo should be there for two years and all sort of things.”
Mantu added that Obasanjo was a popular president. He said the third term agenda “failed because most of the senators bought into the campaign of those people who did not want Obasanjo to have another tenure.”
“The truth is if I had known Nigeria would find herself where we are today, I would have even taken the last drop of my blood to ensure it happened because it would have been in the greatest interest of the nation.
“We never envisaged we would be here. Since Obasanjo left, the way this country has been run up to this moment, I weep for Nigeria.”
Obasanjo had never publicly acknowledged plans to run again, but the effort to amend Nigeria’s constitution was widely viewed as engineered by him and his top aides. He had said in interviews that more years in office would allow him to complete initiatives.
The Nigerian leader has repeatedly said he would comply with the constitution, which limits presidents to two four-year terms.
Ex-president has said last year that he would never be a politician again in his life, announcing that he remains a “partyless” Nigerian.