Former Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Balarabe Musa has cautioned that even though the National Assembly has defeated the third term plot, there are other manipulative options open to President Olusegun Obasanjo still actualize the ambition.
Musa, who is also National Chairman of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) explained in an interview with THISDAY in Kaduna yesterday that his knowledge of President Olusegun Obasanjo as someone "desperate to remain in power" means that he is determined to still push for the actualization of tenure extension for himself. Describing third term as the continuation of Obasanjo's rulership after May 29, 2007, Musa said Obasanjo can and is determined to achieve this through a couple of other means, which includes re-presenting another Constitution Amendment Bill to the National Assembly for re-consideration.
"Even at the National Assembly, 3rd term is not yet finished because nothing stops the president from sending another Constitution Amendment Bill, but not the same bill. "If he sends the same bill, the National Assembly can throw it out, but he can make substantial alterations of the Bill in such a way that it does not look like the same bill", Musa posited.
Secondly, the former governor said Obasanjo can achieve power elongation through creating ground for confusion in the country such that makes it impossible for elections to be held before May 29, 2007, noting that if election is not held, such situation can warrant the president to continue in office.
"Obasanjo can bring about such confusion that election is not possible. If election is not possible, he continues because the law says he hands over only to someone who has been sworn in”, he said.
"Now, you can't swear-in anybody until after he wins an election. So, if there is no election on May 29, 2007 Obasanjo will continue", Musa said.
He said even when Obasanjo decides to allow an election to hold, he could create a situation where it becomes inconclusive, such that election results are disputed and may lead to violence in the country, which will in turn make it impossible for someone to be sworn-in.
The next scenerio is the war situation, such that election cannot take place, noting that, "even of election takes place it may not be possible to swear-in someone on May 29, 2007 because of the war condition".
Musa explained that knowing the president as someone fearful of life after office, he is likely to adopt any of the manipulative options listed above in order to perpetrate himself in office.
The erstwhile governor, who admitted insufficient knowledge of the president however stated that, "the Obasanjo I know is desperate to remain in power and he is mindless. His mindlessness is measured through his seven years in office. Nothing is impossible for Obasanjo. Like we have always said Obasanjo as far as he is concerned must have a third term because he dares not even imagine what will happen to him after he hands over on May 29, 2007.
"So, it is not impossible for him to get third term again by manipulation. In case he cannot get it legally, he can get it by something near treason like the attempt that was killed by the National Assembly. He knew what he was doing and he knew it was wrong, he knew he could have caused anything.
"Did you imagine what could have happened if the National Assembly did what they did at the Public Hearing and also what they did when they accepted another recommendation accepting 3rd term.
"If they had approved 3rd term what would have happened in this country? Certainly, the country would not have been at peace.
The defeat of 3rd term at the National Assembly at least in the mean time cooled down temper", he stated.
Musa, who also commented on the issue of growing agitation by some geo-political zones to produce the next president described such agitations as legitimate.
According to him, everybody is entitled to ask for the presidency and nobody should be stopped from doing so. He said what is important is to ensure that it is the electorates that take the final decision in a free, fair and transparent election.
He said the position of CNPP is that it is opposed to zoning, noting that the best candidate can only emerge if everyone is offered unhindered opportunity.
"As far as CNPP is concerned, there should be no zoning let the best men come from anywhere in Nigeria, particularly now that we are in such dire need for a patriotic Nigerian.
"In any case, what is the essence of democracy? Democracy is free choice and the supremecy of the will of the people. In fact, if not that we are being manipulated by the reactionary rich and powerful, we wouldn't even have been talking about zoning after the wonderful thing done by the National Assembly.
"We should not even be talking now about zoning, we should be talking about who is the best candidate who is capable.
The former governor stated that if it becomes impossible for the country to find a patriotic and truly national leader, the nation should opt for who he described as the "least risk person".
He said this becomes imperative because money politics makes it difficult to judge candidates. If we continue with the talk of zoning, we will be undoing what we did in 1999 when the choice of Obasanjo was made.
"We should look for the best candidate from any part of Nigeria who can solve the problem of the country credibly, peacefully and democratically", Musa opined.