Senate President, Mr. Ken Nnamani, rumored as the running mate to brutal military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, for the 2007 presidential race, has denied any plot with IBB to become the next Vice President in a joint ticket. He categorically denied being in Babangida's hands.
Reacting to a publication in one of the national dailies, Nnamani said he had never been in contact with any presidential aspirant since the commencement of the constitution amendment.
He made the denial at a press conference addressed on his behalf at the National Assembly by the Senate spokesman and chairman, Senate committee on media and publicity, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.
Ndoma-Egba said: "I saw in some newspapers today that he ( Nnamani) took side because he has been promised the Vice President slot to General Ibrahim Babangida. Let me say loud and clear in very categorical terms that that proposition is totally false, absolutely uncharitable and baseless. The Senate President has been in contact with no presidential aspirant; he has no deal with anybody; the only deals he has are with Nigerians on the bases of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his colleagues in the Senate to the extent that he must uphold the standing rules and the traditions of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Beyond these two categories of people - that is Nigerians and his colleagues of the Senate as an institution - the Senate President has no understanding, no deal with any other person; and I am quite categorical on this."
He wondered how the handling of the proceedings of the Senate during the debate on the constitution amendment could be faulted, pointing out that the proceedings were very transparent.
"I do not see when the Senate President took side at all throughout the debate. When contentious issues were raised, they were put to vote, and Nigerians listened to the votes; so I do not see where the allegation of taking side will come from; and in any case, if you look at our rules, on issues that require two-thirds majority, the Senate President is not expected to vote. If the Senate President took side at all, it was on the side of constitutionality and on the side of the Senate standing rules; so if he took side for which he owed nobody any apology, he took side with constitutionality and the rules of the Senate", Ndoma-Egba said.
He stated that the Senate had since been able to put the divisions caused by the debate on the constitution behind it noting that every Senator had now agreed to work with one another to move the nation ahead.
On the report of the investigation conducted by the Senate Ethics Committee into some allegations against the Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, Ndoma-Egba disclosed that the report would soon be considered by the Senate.
The ACD position was contained in statement by Lai Mohammed, Head, Media and Publicity Department of the political party and Yinka Odumakin, Publicity Secretary of Afenifere in Lagos yesterday.
To the ACD, the President and his party have been demystified through the halting of the constitution amendment bill last week on the floor of the National Assembly.
In Mohammed's reckoning, it is evidence of how Obasanjo and his PDP have lost touch with reality to think they will have a say on who becomes the next president.
According to Odumakin, Nigerians must ensure that Obasanjo does not sneak through the backdoor to impose a president that will continue with his harsh economic reform which he claimed is based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations.
The Afenifere spokesman called on Nigerians to ensure a free and fair election in 2007.
According to him, this can be done if Nigerians reject e-voting, intimidation and manipulation by Obasanjo to impose a president on the nation in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Abakaliki branch of Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA), Mr. Anthony Oka, has said that members of the National Assembly have not only set a standard for democracy in the country by rejecting the tenure elongation ploy of the PDP, they have also demonstrated that the laws of the nation cannot be manipulated to suit the desires of one man.
Oka, who spoke to The Guardian in his office in Abakaliki, expressed the hope that robust party politics would start in earnest since according to him the third term plot was like a stranglehold on the polity.
He said: "Now that the stranglehold has been removed, I expect a flurry of activities immediately as politics could be said to have started once again in the country. What transpired at the National Assembly amounts to a stepping down of democracy because for the first time the lawmakers chose to align themselves with the views of their people."
Describing those who rooted for tenure elongation as snakes in the polity, the NBA chairman commended Senators Uche Chukwumerije, Ben Obi and others, saying that they had redeemed the image of Igbo. "They have shown that Igbo politicians are not all trader politicians," he added.
He called on Nigerians to be vigilant so as to ensure that the enemies of democracy are voted out during the next elections declaring that "their era is over; they have been defeated as such the era of sit-tight is also over."
Oka, who recently declared his intention to run for Ebonyi State governorship in 2007 expressed dismay that some Ebonyi Senators whom he said were interested in succeeding Egwu voted for the tenure elongation for the President and governors.
He queried: "How can a senator vote against his ambition? How can you vote against your aspiration knowing that if third term succeeded, that ambition would have died?"