Saa Albashir <saareads@yahoo.com> wrote:
where does this guy, man(flu) as Prince Charles Dickson puts it, gets his guts. (one eye)

Adey <adey45@yahoo.com> wrote:
Constitution review: My conscience is clear –Mantu

Sam Akpe and Ibanga Isine

The Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, on Saturday said his conscience was clear about the decisions taken by the committee during its retreat in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Mantu, who was visibly angered by a journalist’s question, said in spite of the mischievous reports on the media, he was satisfied with the outcome of the retreat.

He said, “I want to say that in fact, yesterday after the completion of this job, I was on my knees thanking God, my Creator, for using me to do something that posterity will ever remember me for.

“If there is any achievement that any of these members as a team and legislators have made, it is being privileged to write their names in gold by producing something that we believe is the best for this country; something that will promote the endurance and enhancement of democracy.”

He denied insinuations that the committee took its decisions without complying with the due legislative procedure, noting that majority of members supported the decisions taken at the retreat.

The Deputy Senate President challenged members of the committee who claimed that a call was made for the division of the house when the issue of the third term was being discussed, noting that nobody raised an objection to the issue after a voice vote was taken.

Decisions taken by the committee, he said, were based on a voice vote, adding that the retreat was not meant to record the views of individual members of the committee but the views made by Nigerians during the public hearing.

Moreover, he said, more than 90 percent of members supported the decisions taken at the retreat, saying that the allegation that he did not allow popular participation was unfounded.

“Every decision we took here was by voice vote and I want to tell you here that if we took a voice vote and somebody is dissatisfied, he would call for a division and if he calls for a division, we will count.

“But there was nobody who actually called for a division when we came to tenure because the overwhelming ‘yes’ was clear to everybody and if I had got a single individual who said he wanted a division, I am bound to respect the provision of our rules and our rules are clear: when you take a voice vote and somebody says he is not quite satisfied, he will now call for a division.

“Now, when you call for a division, then everybody will answer his father’s name. There was no such thing because it was not so clear. I say that there was nobody who asked for the division of the house. I challenge that person who called a division and I didn’t allow it.”

On threats by some members to prepare a minority report on the retreat, Mantu said, such a report would not scale through the National Assembly whose decisions were based on majority views.

Some of the major decisions taken at the retreat included the adoption of three terms of four years for the executive arm of government, withdrawal of immunity for criminal prosecution for the president and his vice as well as the governors and their deputies, power rotation between the geo-political zones of the north and the south and the post of governors between senatorial zones.

Others were increase of the derivation fund from 13 per cent to 18 percent, independence of the Local Councils from the state government, independence of INEC and the right of every Nigerian to enjoy all the rights and privileges enjoyed by others in every community of a state.

The committee also recommended the creation of an independent office of the Attorney General of the Federation, inclusion of independent candidates in the country’s electoral system, inclusion of the National Industrial Court as a superior court of record and the assigning constitutional role to traditional rulers.

Sunday PUNCH March 12, 2006


Enyimba1ofAba@aol.com wrote:

Third Term: Soyinka, Others Protest To World Leaders
How Opposition Fuel Agenda
Mantu Panel Prepares Bill
Bishops Warn Obasanjo
THE campaign by pro-democracy activists to check the alleged third term bid of President Olusegun Obasanjo may have shifted to international arena.
The aim is to formerly protest alleged attempts by the President to manipulate the Constitution in order to secure a third term in office.
Leading the train to the United Nations, the United States of America, the European Union (EU) and Great Britain is Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and former governor and factional chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Bisi Akande.
Among others, mainly based in the United States, are Prof. Ropo Sekoni, Dr Joseph Oladokun, Solomon Olufelo and Adeola Odusanya.
Besides, the local content of the campaign to stop third term gathered momentum at the weekend with individuals and different organisations expressing opposition to the agenda.
Indeed, eminent constitutional lawyer and chairman of The Patriots, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) has called on the citizenry and civil society to embark on mass action to stop the third term agenda.
"During military rule, the civil society checkmated the military authorities, which had absolute power; they can still play the same role in this regard," the eminent constitutional lawyer and chairman of The Patriots he charged.
The National Society Coalition Against Third Term Agenda (NACATT) yesterday in Lagos called on Nigerians and civil society organisations to rise against the third term agenda as it is a ploy to have Obasanjo stay in office for 20 years.
"The whole ploy goes beyond a third term thing, because if allowed to continue, Obasanjo will, in his third term be working with a whole new Constitution which will allow him to run for another two terms," said the coalition of over 150 civil society organisations.
To the Peoples Problems and Solutions (PPS) organisation, the third term agenda will have negative consequences for the nation if it eventually scales through at National and State Assemblies.
It warned at the weekend that the approval of the elongation of tenure was capable of destroying Nigeria, noting the constitution that could sustain the unity of Nigeria and promote her development "is the constitution that has the inputs of Nigerians."
And from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria is the counsel that even though its support for a review of the 1999 Constitution stands, the process must be open and fair.
"Our country cannot live in hope if government engages in a monologue neither listening to the people nor to the international community," the Bishops said.
Soyinka had alleged that some Western countries were propelling Obasanjo's speculated moves to continue in office because the economic reform of the present administration favours them.
But he changed his position recently following what he called successful discussion with world leaders on why they should not throw their weights behind such moves.
"From my recent discussion with the world leaders, they seem to have changed their position on the third term bid. I can assure you," he told The Guardian recently in Lagos.
It was learnt that the outcome of the parley between Soyinka and the world leaders may have informed the American government's warning that Nigerians should stick to the current terms for political office holders in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
Soyinka, who was in the country for the burial of Beko Ransome-Kuti, confirmed the move to protest Obasanjo's alleged third term to the Black Caucus in America Congress and other world leaders. He refused to give details.
But Akande said that the visit would enable them to educate and expose alleged atrocities committed by President Obasanjo since 1999, and the likely implications of his third term on the polity.
"Efforts have reached an advanced stage to present Obasanjo's 'atrocities' to the international community just like NADECO did during the Abacha era," Akande said.
He, however, insisted that Obasanjo would not stay in office beyond 2007 because other leaders that had tried it in Nigeria failed.
The chairman of NACATT and Lagos-based lawyer, Bamidele Aturu said if the Constitution permitted a third term in office, Obasanjo was likely to stay in office for a total of 20 years.
Aturu, quoting from a book entitled, "No to Third Term Agenda: Don't Destroy our Unity with Third Term Agenda," held that the third term agenda was divisive in nature and capable of creating chaos in the country.
He argued that those who claim that Obasanjo is the only one that can guarantee unity "must be embarrassed if they have any conscience concerning how the issue of a third term has badly divided our people. How united could Nigeria be under a real third term presidency of General Obasanjo?"
He disclosed that NACATT has opened registers in its offices and on the Internet for Nigerians to sign against the third term.
The PPS, in a statement signed by its National Co-ordinator, Dr. Wale Omole called on the Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to prevail on other governors "to ponder what posterity will say about them by staying in office beyond the specified two terms in office."
"We believe that those who are clamouring for third term agenda are making mistake," Omole said. "It may suit them today. But certainly, any foundation laid on the threshold of falsehood can never last."
The Catholic Bishops' Conference noted that "hope will be shattered if government ignores or stifles divergent opinions on important issues."
"Hope will undergo a frightening recession if government believes might is right. Hope will be bundled into exile if arrogant use of power scares and discourages credible and competent candidates for political offices."
The Bishops said what the country needs is a constitution that ensures a credible system of free and fair elections.
On the issue of third term, they noted that it must not be a result of manipulation for self-perpetuation in office against the wish of the people.
"Whatever the outcome of the debate, the eventual choice of president and governors in 2007 must be that of the people in a free and fair election," they said.
"Even if a third term is made legal through a constitutional amendment process, those presently in power should consider whether it is ethical for them to change the rules to their advantage midway in the game."