Remember Shonekan's ING? There are rumors another interim administration, the like of the one concocted by the Babangida regime in 1993, is in the works. The Nigerian Tribune reports that some officials and national figures have concluded that there are no credible presidential aspirants to succeed President Olusegun Obasanjo, in making a lame case for an interim government.

The group reportedly argued that almost all the aspirants seeking the Presidency were tainted one way or the other and that the President could not afford to hand over to a successor incapable of sustaining the tempo of national reforms.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that the forces behind the interim option were pushing for a two-year tenure for such a government with President Obasanjo as the head.

The present administration, the advocates argued, needed at least two more years to conclude the ongoing reforms and to execute two other major assignments.

The two years of the interim government, the group argued, would be used to shop for and groom a credible successor while the constitution would also be amended to correct identified anomalies.

The move, the Nigerian Tribune gathered, had been set in motion with the recent resolution of the Southern Senators Forum calling for a revisit of the abandoned amendment of the 1999 Constitution, a position supported by the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under Senator Yinka Omilani.

Further investigations revealed that the plot might not be unconnected with the blanket probe of all known presidential aspirants within and outside the ruling party.

The plan is to confront the various aspirants with the reports of the ongoing probe which would expectedly indict and force them to voluntarily opt out of the race and back the interim government option, Nigerian Tribune reliably gathered.

As at the time of going to press, it was learnt that the Reformers Group among the loyalists of President Obasanjo met in Kaduna recently to work out a way of checkmating the many presidential hopefuls angling to succeed the president.

At the meeting, the group, while not mentioning interim government as an option, however, agreed that those currently seeking the presidency should be stopped because their values were antithetical to those of the President.

It was learnt that those pushing for this option also rail-roaded the Federal Executive Council into adopting a proposed amendment to the Economic and Financial Crimes Act so as to empower the commission to arrest without warrant.

While the EFCC defended the proposed amendment as necessary to combat financial crimes, opposition forces called it part of an elaborate agenda to round up political opponents and cow aspirants into withdrawing from the presidential race in 2007.

The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) had also in a recent statement issued in Abuja alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had prepared a booby trap for the 2007 polls by not commencing the review of the voters’ register on time.

The group alleged that INEC, by its slow preparations for 2007, was nursing a hidden agenda meant to stop the holding of next year’s elections.

Responding to the alleged plot, loyalists of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar described the development as a continuation of the third term bid.

In a statement issued by Chief Eze Chukwuemeka on behalf of the Turaki Vanguard, the group noted that those who perfected the third term agenda were behind the fresh plot to stall the 2007 polls.

“This is not just a plot against Atiku or IBB. It is meant to stop everybody and scuttle the 2007 elections,” the group noted. Meanwhile, the National Vice-Chairman of the PDP for the South-West, Senator Yinka Omilani, has denied reports of a plan to install an interim government by President Obasanjo.

“We have no plan like that. The PDP is prepared to face other parties at election and defeat them. The President is determined to conduct the election and hand over to a credible successor,” Omilani said.

Also, President Obasanjo has disclosed that there will be no anointed candidates in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for all elective offices for the 2007 elections.

President Obasanjo noted that whoever emerged from the primaries would be qualified to contest under the party. “We must create a level playing field for everybody to participate and feel he has been treated fairly and transparently,” he said.

On the rumour that he has an interest in some candidates for specific elected offices, Obasanjo disclosed that “as the leader of the party, I must be careful not to be seen to be biased, partial and prejudiced and that remains my position.”

Speaking while receiving the delegation of Ogoni sons and daughters led by Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State on Monday at the State House in Abuja, the President said that the peace in Ogoniland must be strengthened through sustainable socio-economic development “underpinned by the laws of Rivers State.”

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