THIRD TERM: PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO: PLEASE FOR WHOM?
Professor Oladimeji Aborisade
University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Politics in Nigeria take many different dimensions on an hourly basis. Most of the onlookers adjudge these different dimensions to a very basic problem of undermining the voice of the people. It is true that Nigeria by virtue of history must have passed through several experimental political stages but Nigeria may not be an exception to all the agenda of colonial exploitation. Nigeria is clearly a giant in Africa in many respects but it is a sick state that evade to take pills. Pills here simply connotes learning from the past and following the collective wisdom of survival based on adherence to the process of a binding document which is simply the constitution. At least there are a number of notable constitutions in Nigeria such as, Clifford, 1922, Richards, 1946, McPherson, 1951, 1954, independent constitution, 1960, republican, 1963, presidential, 1979, inconclusive constitution, 1989, and the 1999 constitution. All these constitutions are well tailored sufficiently to pilot a state to reality. But the fact remains, the problem with Nigeria is not directly linked to a constitutional document but rather to the operators of the constitution per se.
It is either to assume that the Nigerian politicians behave as if they are far from making any mistake or they are untouchable from the time of assumption of office therefore, they are immune to any form of false behavior.
If President Olusegun Obasajo wants the third term, he should please know that he is on his third term already as the occupier of the 'State House of Nigeria'. The position which no Nigerian has ever occupied as the occupier of the 'State House' for three distinct times. In 1976, he assumed that position as a military head of state with the name 'Olusegun Obasanjo'. In 1999, he came back as a civilian President of Nigeria. This became possible probably not through the track of the previous records but because politics in Nigeria was very much uncertain due to the hidden notion of northern domination which Ibrahim Babangida and Sanni Abacha conceived. In 2003, the Nigerian people voted him into power for the second term which normally became his third time to be sworn in as the head of state of Nigeria. There is no one else in the history of Nigeria that could claim to have got such a privilege. It is only Olusegun Obasanjo.
What is it that President Olusegun Obasanjo failed to do in 1976, 1999 and 2003 that he may now wish to do by twisting the hands of the Nigerian people through a close door constitutional maneuvering for his over ambitious third time headship?. He knows.
It is pertinent to remember that in 1976, the military government under his leadership had a poor record of university management. In 1999,history repeated itself when all the universities in Nigeria went on strike because of a total neglect from the federal government. In 2003, under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the federal government could not pay the retirement benefits of the retired university employees. The situation turned painful. President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice President Atiku replied the Nigerian people by opening their own private universities while still in office. If they see themselves as potential leaders who deserve several terms in office, they should have applied their scrupulous knowledge to make the universities in Nigeria functional. Their weaknesses in running university administration in Nigeria is a thread that runs through all aspects of Nigerian administration before and now. From 1976 till now, the following areas of services are rated low, unemployment, health services, security, payments of wages and salaries, innovations into the government service, creating confusion across the country and obstruction of justice.
Well, there is nothing wrong in tracing our journey back to the 'old grind stone' when the traditional rulers had power to perform. It may be wise to revisit those days especially before the colonials came. Nigeria is now in dare need of a good government. There should not be any room for pretence. If the imbalance was masterminded by the British colonials, we Nigerians after 60 years of freedom must find amicable solution to our constant problems arising from the North and South dichotomy. If President Olusegun Obasanjo needs another term, he should tell the Nigerian people of his handicap if any and why he thinks that the next one year may not be long enough for him to solve the outstanding problems hanging on his sleeves. Even for the one year ahead of him, he must do more to convince the Nigerian people that he has not been a burden to the country. For whom is this artificial third term designed to serve. President Olusegun Obasanjo , please react to the Nigerian people. Prevent confusion.