IN an attempt to mobilise support for the third term ambition of President Olusegun Obasanjo, chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, is said to have visited Minna, Niger State, to persuade former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, to support Obasanjo for another term in office.
Nigerian Tribune gathered from a competent source close to Anenih that the PDP chieftain arrived at Minna Airport in a presidential jet at around 2.30 p.m. and was welcomed by the state governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure who drove with him in the same car to the Hill Top residence of the General.

According to the source, Chief Anenih was said to have met with General Babangida, who the Nigerian Tribune reliably gathered would declare his intention to contest the 2007 polls anytime from now.

However, it was gathered that Chief Anenih, believed to be one of the architects of a third term, visited General Babangida to see if he could persuade him to support President Obasanjo so that he could have another term of four years from 2007 to 2011.

According to findings, Anenih, whose visit could be said to have received the blessing of the presidency which is said to have made available a presidential jet for his use, was said to be visiting the Minna residence of the General for the first time in about two years.

Anenih, it was gathered, was also said to have told Babangida that the president needed his support for another term in office, with a promise that the president would hand over to him in 2011.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that Anenih was said to have argued before Babangida that his support was being sought because the General would form a critical factor in returning Obasanjo for the third term and even influencing the passage of the third term clause by the National Assembly as one of the amendments to the 1999 Constitution.

He was said to have analysed to the General that President Obasanjo came into power in 1999 on General Babangida’s account and he (Obasanjo) also drew support from the same Babangida in 2003 for his re-election, even as he tried to persuade Babangida to just wait for another 48 months to allow Obasanjo complete another term in office.

Another source close to Anenih disclosed to the Nigerian Tribune that Babangida was said to have agreed to everything said by Chief Anenih, provided he would be protected and his interests would not be jeopardised by the president during the extension period.

Following the request made by Chief Anenih that Babangida should make available all his political structures for the use of the group working for the extension of Obasanjo’s tenure, Babangida was said to have pledged such support.

But since the meeting of last Monday, the camp of pro-third term is said to have expressed doubts regarding the sincerity of General Babangida to fulfil his promise to support President Obasanjo beyond 2007.

According to a member of the camp, “how are we sure Babangida is going to fulfil his promise to back Obasanjo again? Is he sincere?” The camp, according to investigations, is said to be in a dilemma and does not think that Babangida is going to deploy his political structure to support the president.

However, the Nigerian Tribune has it on good authority that Babangida had made up his mind to contest the 2007 polls and there were strong indication that he might publicly declare his ambition.

According to findings, the General has continued to assure close friends, loyalists and political associates who have been piling pressure on him that he would certainly contest in 2007 and would not mind to contest against President Obasanjo, saying he did not believe in third term.

It will be recalled that Nigerian Tribune reported exclusively last Friday that the former military president would declare his presidential ambition before the end of March 2006.

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