Politics And National Development Of Nigeria: A Case Of Obasanjo’s Regime
Politics And National Development Of Nigeria: A Case Of Obasanjo’s Regime
During the dictatorship of Sani Abacha (1993-1998) Obasanjo spoke out against the human rights abuse of the regime and was imprisoned with the claim of planning a coup. He was released only after Abacha’s Sudden death on 8TH Jun 1998. To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.
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It was after his release from prison that Obasanjo announced that he was a born again Christian. The first term, that was 1999 election the first in sixteen years, he decided to run for the presidency as a candidate of the people democratic party.
Obasanjo won with 62.6% of the vote on may 29, the day Obasanjo took office as the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule is now commemorated as democracy day a public holiday in Nigeria. Obasanjo spent most of his first term traveling abroad visiting mostly western countries. He claimed, this was to polish the country’s image and re-established. The country to international scene after being battered and stained by the regime of General Sani Abacha. Obasanjo was effective in making changes to the party officials but lacked support in the National Assembly, but was able to pass anti-corruption laws, survive impeachment and denomination.
Second term that was when Obasanjo was re-elected in 2003 in a tumultuous election that had violent ethnic and religious overtones, his main opponent (follow former military ruler gen. Muhammadu Buhari) being muslim who drw his support mainly from the north, since he lead a public campaign against corruption and implementing economic reforms in his country he has been widely seen in abroad as an African stateman companioning debt relief and democratic institutions. Critics of his politics say that he has used the campaign to fight his enemies and not to transform Nigeria.
Obasanjo second term has been more effective than first term. He was able to attract technocrat and Nigeria expatriates to his administration. He made effective contribution to the country economic planning and development. He played an important role in judiciary by not ignoring judgments against his government no matter how dubious the judgment, nor was any judge victimized for this. Also, he still did not find solution to provide police and security in the country.
Third term agenda, Obasanjo was embroiled in controversy regarding his “third term Aganda”, a plan to modify the constitution so he could serve a third, four year term as president. The bill was not ratified by the National Assembly. Consequently, president Obasanjo stepped down after the April 2007 general election.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
This work is set out to verify and disclose the politics and national development in Nigeria by the president Olusegun Obasanjo. Special reference will be made to the inception of democracy in Nigeria since 1999 to 29 May 2007.
Therefore, this work will strive to establish and tried answer to such questions as:
(1) What way has Obasanjo’s third term has habitated politics and national development.
(2) What are the standing ways Obasanjo regime has in developing Nigeria politics.
(3) What are the strategies of the present government to formalize third term bid.
(4) What are the causes of politics of national development and disintegration of Nigeria society?
(5) And, how second tenure became a reality.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this research work are:
(a) To analyze the politics and national development of Nigeria.
(b) To explain the genesis of the presidential first term and second term activities.
(c) To unravel the politics of reluctance of Mr. President.
(d) To critically examine the implication of the third term agenda on the Nigeria political development.
(e) To recommend appropriate policy measures that will help curb the extension of tenure beyond constitutional requirement.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of any scholarly research work consists in the accumulation and codification of facts. It is therefore, the aim of this work to accumulate such facts to unravel the politics and national development of Nigeria which has caused disintegration of society, political partied, violence, demonstrations and international warning.
It is the writers expectation that this work will go a long way in suggesting ways of solving the rather endemic power extension of this present 2007, which resulted in economic retrogression, that is the bane of development in Nigeria.
This work, will finally open the way for an objectives and biased view of corrupt politicians in the country who are pursing the realization of third term agenda, how it has continued to impeded the quest for development and recommending policy measures that will curb it.
This work will also open ways for future researcher to adequately take into cognizance the need for a relentless regard towards disclosing to the public dangers passed by sit tight syndrome, it would also give them more insight inspiration and good faith to stand firm on the constitutional requirement for peace and success of democracy in Nigeria and the need to study more on the eschew of this evil practice on our society.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
This research work shall be based on the following hypothesis.
HI politics and National development are complementary.
HO politics and National development are not complementary.
HI politics and National development are negatively affected by gender inequality.
Ho politics and National development are not negatively affected by gender inequality.
Hi Politics and national development are affected by interferences both internally and externally.
1.6 SCOPE/ LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is restricted to Obasanjo regime . The researcher in the course of the study encou tered a lot of constraints, topmost on the list of the constraints are such factor as time and fund to comprehensively and comfortably execute this project. The cash limitation disclosed to the researcher that academic projects consume a lot of money even when sponsors finances are stretched to their limit. The time limit is mostly caused by the fact that the time available has to do by shared between both lectures and pursuing the search of material for the research.
Moreover, it is necessary to mention the last limitation which was the pressures on how to get money and pay the school fees and also how to save money for collecting material for this project. This issue was most disorganizing and nearly destroys the interest, the researcher had in this challenging study.
1.7 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
In academic world such as ours, it will be incomprehensible to carry out a research work of this magnitude without a relevant guiding theoretical framework. The theoretical framework of this work shall centre on elite theory.
This theory harps on the reality that in every society there is the existence of two broad categories of individuals.
(a) The selected few, who are capable and therefore have the right to supreme leadership;
(b) The vast masses of people that are destined to be ruled.
The theory became popular in the united state of America in the year following the second world war is traceable to the writing of European thinker like Vilfredo parato (1841-1923) Gasset, Ortega (1883-1955) Gaentano Mosea (1858-1941), and Robert Mitchel (1876-1936).
The theorists were in agreement over the belief that every society is rule by minority that possesses the qualified necessary for the ascension to full social and political power and they are known as the elite. It is the contention of these scholars that the elite group consists of people who are successful and had risen to the top of the stratum in every occupation in the postulation of praetor two classes of people exist in the society, the higher stratum and the lower stratum. The higher stratum of the elite is divided into the “governing elite” and the non governing elite.
The theory of political elite was one the word of Mosca (1939) depieted in following way:
The first class, always the less numerous perform all political functions monopolizes power and enjoys the advantages that power brings, whereas the second, the more numerous class is directed and controlled by the first in a manner that is more of less legal, now more or less arbitrary and violent and supplies the first in appearance at least, with the instrumentalist that are essential to the vitalities of the political organism.
Mosca went further to add that the larger the political community, the small will be the proportion of the governing minority to be governed, and the more difficult it will be for the majority.
The elite can also be those few who are considered socially, intellectually or professionally superior to the rest in any group or society. It can be found in the church, political party, social club, trade union in government and even among the armed robbers. They are the people who fill the position that are strategically located in the decision making process, the are the people who control the community or communication system in any government. They decide who sees the president influences the decision on the president and other leaders in society. The theory equally believed in the circulation of elite. They posited that there is unceasing movement of individuals and elite from the higher to the lower and from the lower to the higher. Many African scholars had assured that in African, we have what they regard as elite recycling’ a development in which the same crop of elite continue to occupy the top most positions in government and equally influence the decision making process. They also “hold on power” syndrome, which is a feature of Africa leaders by suppressing official opposition and blockage to any useful empirical research as those presently occupying top position would not encourage researchers into ways in which there will be a free movement of people from the lower to higher strata of society.
Elite theory as the theoretical framework for this research nationalized the existence of “elite recycling’ in the Nigeria, a feature which is equally obtained in other parts of Africa. The sit-tight syndrome where a crop of elite continue to hold onto power in successive years owing to the fact that they had already formed a strata of elite remain the root of the presidential third term, which was bid in Nigeria. Instead of administration which headed by Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo stepping outside for another, having ruled the tenures provided in the constitution, it went further to arid the constitution so as to pave away for legislation of third term agent.
Beside some persons within the governing elite in Nigeria were not left out in the move of persuade the government to continue in the office under whatever cloark they could use to justidy the support. Such terminologies like “Consolidating democracy in Nigeria” “the game of continuity” among others still remain their justifying reason. However what ever reason the Obasanjo regime could be using to Prolong its administration, to ensure full accomplishment of the economic reform programme or eradicating of corruption in the country there seem to be common consensus that this quest to prolong the stay of his regime in office of which could cause political integration and social fragmentation of our country, and the need to opposed that bid become a welcome idea, this consummated the choice of the theoretical framework.
1.8 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
To achieve a very comprehensive work, which contains reliable information a suitable methodology is necessary. Due to this, data has been sorted from secondary sources, which include: data from textbook, journals and articles, newspapers and magazines, and report from periodicals, which content analysis will be used as the method of generating relevant information. The units of analysis are individual politicians, civil societies, The Press, Labour Union, political partied as well as organized trade Unions, Economic Interest group and other politically conscious group within Nigeria.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERM
Politics: refers to the study of government and her exercise of authority.
Development: Refers to the process of developing or being developed.
National Development: Refers to an ever shifting but always higher level equilibrium between the positive and negative elements within a society and the individual.
2.1 STRATEGIES TOWARDS THIRD TERM AGENDA
On May 21 2005 president Obasanjo inaugurated his national political reform conference (NPRC) contrary to what patriotic Nigerians have been yearning for. At the inauguration, he tried as hard as he could to convince Nigerians that he meant well. Among other things, he said. “History has presented us with the opportunity to reassess, refocus, redefine and redesign our p olitical landscape in a direction that would strengthen the bans of unity-enhancing the process of democracy consolidation, strengthen the structure so as to solidify those values that promote democracy good governance and good neighbourliness and open bondless opportunities for Nigerians to be and feel that they are part of the evolving political development and socio-economics advancement.
In spite of this beautiful proclamation, he did not convinced most Nigerian, that the so called conference, the president personally appointed 50 persons while he allocated 174 persons to his party, the almighty PDP on the rates of six delegates per state governor.
In my own view, I argued that in spite of what ever was going on is to be outcome of political conference; it is an insult to well meaning Nigerians to call it national conference. Rather, it was PDP national convention that was dressed up with some unusual garbs that made it look as if it had something good for the entire Nigerians and not only PDP supporters.
To the best of my knowledge, the greatest proof that the so called conference was truly a PDP convention is the fact that instead of solving any, it has rather aggravated Nigeria’s problem, since then, millions of Nigerians who said that Obasanjo used it as an umbrella under which he would hide and actualize his third term agenda have been proved right.
I recall what Gani Fawehinmi said about the so-called conference. He said that in the final analysis, the whole thing would “amount to surreptitious strategy of trying to use the conference to achieve an agenda”. He continued.
“I have shouted myself hours of a number of times that unless we stop Obasanjo, he will keep going on, third, fourth, fifty, term and so on. That the man has never meant well for this country. He is egoistic and the entire programme is geared towards, not only this third term but permanent position”. For his third term plot to said through the president needed the endorsement of the national Assembly and two thirds of the state assemblies. Achieving this feat looked so impossible. However, since anything is possible in Nigeria. Gain argued that even if the National and State Assemblies endorsed him, it would still be difficult for him to make it. He said, if they take money destroy their integrity and do that Nigerians would not accept it, because it will be a problem. It would amount to tumultuous catastrophe. We have suffered for a long time and this country will not accept a sit tight agenda of Mr. President let him be ready to jail as many people as he could. I am 67, I will do the unusual with many people in this country… He should be ready to roll out the tanks to kill as many people as he is and was used to in the past… We will not allow Mr. President to go beyond 2007”.
No matter how hard the president’s apostle tried to convince the people of his good intentions, the people found it difficult to believe it because of the many stacks realities that contradicted the president’s purported good intentions. As Ademola Adegbamigbe put it, Obasanjo’s government is capable of doing good and it has all that it takes to do good, but it is not in its character to do good. And as Victor Lar, a member of the house of Representatives, put it, the people’s general lack of trust for Obasanjo stems from the fact that “the only consistent thing about president Obasanjo is his inconsistency” Victor Lar was the leader of the fifty-seven members of the house of Representatives who took the president, the senate president, the speaker and some others to court to stop the convocation of the national political reform conference and the sourcing of money for the conference from federation account.
In spite of the hue and cry reused against it, the national political reform conference took place, gulped a mind-boggling amount of money and ended up in the president’s waste paper baskets as usual. We knew it would and up that way. And so, that is not the main issue. The issue is that while that political jamboree went on, the people’s that was Obasanjo poly to achieve his third term aspiration was confirmed which the president and his men did everything possible to subject the 1999 constitution to ridicule. One obvious example of such attempts was the smuggling into the working papers of the conference, by Jerry Gana, a secret document titled. Draft constitution to the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
The document exposed the president’s sordid ambition beyond any iota of doubt with the result that the frantic efforts made by some of his men, particularly femi keyode, his special assistant on public Affairs, did not douse the uproar that it generated. The secret document raised so much dust because while section to the provisions of subsection (1) of the section, the president shall vacate his office at the expiration of a period of four years, section 141 (2) Of the secret document recommended a single tenure of six years for the president. It says; “subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section the president shall vacate his office at the expiration of a period of six years.
It ultimately failed to sail through because the legal and judicial reform committee of the conference rejected’ it on the grounds that it was not submitted within the stipulated time frame for the submission of memoranda to the conference.
But in spite of all this the president and some of his men have consistently told us that he has no hidden agenda and that he is not going for the third tenure. For instance, in march 2005, to douse the heart generated by this secret document, Olabode George, who was then the south, west national vice chairman of PDP, made the following statement: I went to state that by the grace of Almighty God, on 29 may, 2005. God sparing our lives, Baba will be heading straight back to ota, why would he want to change the constitution of Nigeria to stay there for third term”
Similarly, in may 2005, while addressing an international audience in Washington, United States America, the president was reported to have reiterated his resolve to vacate office in may 2007. “it is a matter of honour, dignity and respect. I have no intention to stay in power beyond 2007”. Later, he restated the same thing and explained: “I have a constitution which brought me in and which will take me out. That constitution allows two terms of four years each. I have finished one term and the second term is going half. And I am talking to you from my farm now, you should know the process of withdrawal is about to begin” in August 2005, at a retreat for ministers, of the ruling class, the president once more gave a hint that he is not planning to go for the third term. He told his audience: “ladies and gentlemen. You hold the baton in the last lap of this administration’s race to make a real difference in the lives of our people.
It is to be recalled that the president’s campaign slogan in 1999 was the leader you can trust, nevertheless, the unfortunate thing about all the denials is that it has remained impossible for the president and his men to convince honest Nigerians that he is not bidding for the third term by all means. As we said earlier, he has failed so many time to march his words with actions and so most Nigerians have been finding it hard to trust his sincerity. While he says one thing his actions and the actions of some of his henchmen give the lie to whatever he says. The general feeling in Nigeria today is that anybody who trust Obasanjo does so at his own risk.
While the denials came in trickles and the silent but dangerous political war generated by the secret document was still rising to a crescendo, the first major campaign for the president’s third term bid came when grey Mbadiwe, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to congo and the director of strategy in Obasanjo 2003 that is election campaign, lunched his Obasanjo must stay campaign. That made it, very clear that is determined to stop at nothing but the third term plan. It is interesting to know that Mbadiwe happened also to be Obasanjo’s nomince to the political jamboree called the national political reform conference and the representative of Nigeria youths at the conference.
Mbadiwe’s argument to the effort that only Obasanjo has all it takes to govern Nigeria well was a veritable cause for alarm. Referring to the secret document mentioned earlier, he said: “the most controversies aspect of the draft constitution is the six years tenure. But I want to assure you that the six year tenure has a popular support in the country. A lot of people have been clamouring for it before we began this conference, one of our problems in the nation is how the presidency will go round every part of the country. Everybody wants his of her areas to have this power so if we have the six-year tenure, it will even make it faster for this power to move around the various components of this country.
Mbadiwe wanted us to believe that as far as the leadership of this country is concerned, the best thing that has happened to us is Obasanjo. In view of this, he reasoned that once the six year tenure was accepted, Obasanjo should be given the chance to start if retractively. In other words, he should rule the country for two more years, he said, would enable the president to complete the economic miracles he has purportedly started.
Mbadiwe: “if we entrench this six year by starting with president Obasanjo, we will achieve two main feats; once the constitution will be entrenched to move Nigeria forward. Secondly, president Obasanjo will have enough time to carry out his numerous reforms because they need to take their riots. And since the chief visioner as far as these reforms are concerned is Obasanjo, his tenure should be extended to its logical conclusion the president is making a coherent surgical operations of our socio-economic and political problems… we believe that since this administration saw the vision to correct the ills of our nation, by convoking the national political reform conference, we felt that it is wise to make that sacrifice and allow the visioner to continue in office after 2007”.
Mbadiwe’s conviction that Obasanjo is a rare gift to Nigeria could not let him understand why reasonable Nigerian could go as far as opposing the Obasanjo must continue to rule project. He wondered. “what is two years in the history of a nation for Christ’s sake? Do you think adding two years to a person’s four years could cause problem for this country? And here is the president doing well for this nation and I don’t know why we should be making noise about it. We are saying only Mr. President could do it.
To say to the least, Mbadiwe’s logic did not go down well with well meaning Nigerians.
Mr. Olaleye Olusegun, a youth representative at Obasanjo’s bogus conference, described the call for the extension of the presidents leadership beyond 2007 as being anti-democratic and “a slap on the constitutional process, the democratic institution and the psyche of Nigerian youths. To derive his message home, he declared Mbadiwe a person, a non grata and dissociated Nigerian youths form his uncanny claims and activities.
Similarly, another person, Femi Adesina, described Mbadiwe’s action as a suicidal venture. He wondered why the misguided image maker of the president had chosen to be a far cry of his father, Dr Kingsely Ozuomba Mbadiwe, who made his people proud as a patriotic politician. Above all, he could not understand why the harsh criticism that trailed Mbadiwe’s campaign for Obasanjo’s continued leadership could not make him repentant instead of remaining Obdurate and stone heated. After consulting his store of knowledge, he said, the only reason that could account for such obduracy was that “Grey Iheanacho Mbadwie is on the path inexorably leads to infamy disgrace and dishonour. And I wonder how the other Mbadwie’s feel… I sympathize with that family, because its noble name is being consigned to obloquy. Villainy… why and how did grey came to this sorry pass? The man has committed suicide. Hara-kiri politically, he is finished. Dead Buried.
It is pertinent to recall that after his attempt to convince the members of the national political reform conference of the need for giving Obasanjo another chance for third term had failed, Madiwe made it clear that the battle was not yet ended. Rather, it would henceforth be shifted to the national assembly. He said: “I don’t think that all hope is lost yet. I still believe that we could get it through the national assembly. Though we have failed to actualize the proposition through the confab, I believe we should deploy all our effort and move up to the next level which is the national assembly. I think we can get this laudable proposal to sail through if we do not relent.
Just as grey Mbadiwe said. The next effort geared towards actualizing third term bid was the national assembly joint constitutional review committee (JCRC), otherwise known as the mantu committee on constitutional review, which was held in kastina for north East, Maiduguri for the North west, Osugbo for the south west, Abakaliki for the south East, port Harcourt for the south and Lafia, for the North central between February 22-23. The national assembly is not going about it the right way.
2.2 POLITICS OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND DISINTEGRATION OF NIGERIA SOCIETY
On November 23, 2005, chief Audu Ogbeh, the former national chairman of PDP, formerly resigned from the party following a cold war with Obasanjo that reached its climax in December 2004, when Ogbeh wrote an open letter to the president deporing his sordid role in Anambra state political debacle and calling on him to do something to save the state from the sinister activities of the likes of Chris Uba. As one of the former associate who have been compelled by the president’s policy of use-and-dump to dissociate himself from the president and his party, Ogbeh saw some similarity between Obasanjo and the German tyrant, Adulf hither. He said: “Hitler was a civilian dictator who burnt the parliament and blamed Jews for arson. He then enacted a law that law makers could only sit in a building built with German money. He knew there was no parliament to check him. He eventually became a maximum ruler. Nigeria is already moving toward that degeneration and will not allow that to happen”.
He contented that it is the pressure coming from both the movement for the defense of democracy (MDD) and the movement for the restoration of democracy (MRD) that will fame Obasanjo’s recalcitrance and stop him from transmitting into a third term president. He said: “you don’t underestimate Nigerian.
We have no money to give, we will not be subversive. We will talk to Nigerians and stop the evil agenda. If third term is not checked now, it will degenerate to life presidency. It is third term that has kept Africa behind. We shall resist it or else face more years of the swarning locusts “he continued”. Many people have asked how we are going to stop the government in this third term agenda. I will always tell them more than N90 billion entire law makers to facilitate the third term agenda.
On march 2, 2006. the Gurdian newspaper carried on inside story, APGA plans merge with ANPP, AD, ACD, says Okorie, the paper disclosed that all progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) may merge with all Nigeria peoples party (ANPP) Alliance for democracy (AD) and advance congress of democratic (ACD).
The coalition is expected to produce a formidable consensus candidate for the presidency in 2007.
Also, the APGA headed by chief Chekwas Okorie, says it that their was the national democratic coalition (NADECO) during the Sani Abacha regime. And NADECO had no tanks, no missile launcher, no grenade, no gun and Abacha was eventually defeated his concluded plans to bring back all the factions of the party under one united umbrella.
On may 22, 2006, the vanguard published a story with the title “the third term bribery palaver”. The paper disclosed that those who promoted the third term project in and outside our federation knew this fact about the law of evidence, and seemed to account for the audacity and boldness with which they went about its implementation. The news of bribery made is still making rounds within the national assembly.
2.3 TENURE ELONGATION AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES
The evil plot of president Olusegun Obasanjo to stay in office beyond 2007 had continued to draw international attention.
On march 9, 2006, this Day, the title, Mbeki rules out third term in office, descried that Inspite of his party’s overwhelming control of the parliament, south African president Tabo Mbeki has niled out an extension of his stay in office. The British Broadcasting cooperation (BBC) quoted the south African leader as dealing, in unmistakable terms, his aversion for an amendment of constitution of his country.
On March 2, 2006, the Guardian newspaper published on a front page story titled: Dangers of tenure extension in Nigeria, by U.S”. The paper disclosed that the United States (U.S) government has once again listed the dangers of an amendment to Nigeria’s constitution in such way as to grant incumbent president Obasanjo a tenure Elongation. It could also be recalled once more that on August 23, 2003, the Sunday sun newspaper published a cover story with the title: “Mandela warns Obasanjo-don’t try third term”. The paper disclosed that Mandela had a hint that Obasanjo was plotting for a third term after May 2007, in view of this, the respectable statesman lamented; “one thing I do not like is when people think that they are for the only one in a country that can run for the presidency. They amend the constitution.
3.1 NIGERIAN POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT
The game for power in Nigeria has been on long before the country became independent in 1960 and those who told us that they know the game have played it to an awful end.
The awful part of that game led us to the Nigerian Biafara war that ended about 36 years age. But the bitter experience we had from it remained fresh and frightening in our memories. Those who physically experienced the war have since been praying never again? And God in his infinite mercy has been answering that prayer. However, it appears the alluring term, leadership, has once more made those who posses it deaf, blind and stupid that they no longer remember our bitter experience of thirty six years ago. Watching the ominous clouds currently gathering on the nation’s political horizon, it appears Nigeria is once more prepared to tread the dangerous path of self distribution.
This is most likely the conclusion that has to be drawn from the battle currently raging on between the Northern and Southern part of the country. While we must relentlessly keep praying Never Again: It must be said that is most unwise to tempt God.
The battle between the North and the South appears to have reached its climax as a result of the third term virus which started like a dim and flickering light until it grew into an insatiable conflagratude which the potentiality of consuming the fragile geographical concoction called Nigeria. As we saw in the preceding chapters, when the third term, plot became an open secret, Nigerians generally from the different hooks and crannies of the country and from all walks of life, irrespective of their tribe, religion or language, stoutly opposed it. But as time passed, the opposition degenerated into an ethnic agenda, a development which is certainly antithetical to our proclaimed quest for peace, unity and stability.
The political leaders from the southern part of the country say that their Northern counter parts are responsible for the bad blood that has been injected into the master/servant. While the war against the third term raged on, the Northern leaders, went further to demand that power must be shifted to the North as if those who watched them to rule the country for 36 years before 1999 when Obasanji became the president were not fellow Nigerians who have equal right to rule their country.
And to be certain, third term or not third term, what is primary in the Northern agenda is power shift to the North. Northern leaders hinge their demand for power shift to the North on a purported agreement believed to have been endorsed by Obasanjo and those who drafted him into the presidential race in 1999, here is how Alhaji Lawal Kaita, a prominent Northern politician and a member of the movement for the Defence of Democracy, has tried to justify the Northern demand.
“I know there was a gentleman’s agreement in 1999 on the rotation of the presidency; a gentleman’s understanding that at the end of the tenure of president Obasanjo power should shift to the North.
Obasanjo was there, most of the governors were there. There was that resolution. It would surprise me if the south decides to behave differently now but that is up to them, we in the North agreed to the arrangement and we respected that agreement for Obasanjo to complete two terms in office and then have power shift to the North in 2007.
We have kept our own side of the deal and there is no way we in the North would allow power to continue to remain in the south in 2007. This is because there was an agreement and the people who matter were there when this agreement was reached.
The south cannot come out to range on that. We will not allow that to happen in 2007.
Anyway, we shall see how the south will produce the president in 2007 without the corporation of the North let us see how that feat would be performed. It cannot be that agreement has to be respected; power cannot remain in the south in 2007.
Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, former petroleum minister under Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s regime also based his call for Northern presidency on the same gentleman’s agreement, he said “I read the details of the communiqué prepared by those politicians who met in Enugu on Monday and I thought that the people were being unnecessary too militant and divisive in their position, it is as if the North is being blackmailed or intimidated out of their aspiration for the presidency in 2007 which is in accordance with the earlier understanding at the inception of this democratic dispensation.
Ango Abdullahi, a former presidential Adviser on food and security to president Obasanjo, confirmed this much when he said democracy is game of number. The number more than any other zone but we only allowed the south to have a feel of it based on equity and fairness. The fact that a section is considered minority should not disqualify them from coming to the forefront in terms of political offices responsibilities.
The North decided that we should vote for Abiola and he worn the annulled 1992 presidential election based in the support he enjoyed from the North. No body forced any body. We decided that we will vote for him in the North, and Tofa who contested with him lost in his own state, kano. Under ideal condition I would not support the so-called power shift based on zones or regions but the reality on the ground then necessitated that background “that we are kicking against the third term agenda as this was not the agreement reached with president Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003.
We should not just be looking at 2007 as mere political fetishism. We should meet and talk and develop from the performances, successes, failures, weaknesses and hopes of the presidency. We should be laying out the red carpet for a better presidency than the one had since 1999.
This is not just a mater of life and progress. It should be a matter of Northern hope, and Nigeria pride.
The battle link has been drawn the only condition for Nigeria to remain united is for power to go back to the North. Where the south decides otherwise, the North will about to ensure that there is no way power can remain in the south after 2007.
South leaders see all these and many more political scheming in the North as a threat and a provocation. Hence, they rellied together and engaged themselves in series of political realignments which culminated in the southern leaders conference which met in Enugu on December 19, 2005 southern leaders failed to see why the North that has ruled this country for 35 out of the 45 years of its political independence should make their demand that power should return to the North irrevocable.
If logic is anything to go by, the southern leaders felt that when the idea of reciprocal pay back is brought into play, then the North should exercise some patience and allow the south to rule for some twenty four years more than to balance the leadership equation.
The first major step taken by political leader of the south, which comprise the south East, South south and south west to stamp their feet in this direction came on December 14, 2005, when they had their meeting in Lagos. The meeting was attended by a good number of the high and the mighty in the political equation of the south. They include: Alenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo the Yoruba council of elders (YCE), and the southern peoples Assembly. Those who represented those various groups include: Chief Olufalae, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Reuben Fusoranti, Chief Supo Shonibara, Ambassador Mathew Mbu, Admiral Okhai Ahigbe, Dr. John Odigie Oyegun, Dr. Olatunji Otegbeye, Dr. Lateef Jakande, Dr. ABC Nwosu, Admiral Kanu Ndubuisi, Chief Pius Anyim, Senator Taire Sekob, Dr. Uma Eleazu, Senator Melford Okilo, Chief Tony Momah, Chief Philip Asiodu and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife at the end of their meeting they issued a communiqué which read in part.
That are deploy the current simplicity attempt to polarize Nigerian into a North/South decide, even on issues of National development, particularly with respect to the rotation of power at the centre. And that the principle of rotational be equitable and meaningful, it must be based on the existing socio-geo political zones.
“That the inclusion of religion and ethnicity in the causes data should be mandatory also that whilst conceding that there was no official move by the president to seek a third term we take cognizance that it has become the most divisive in the polity”. We condemn unequivocally any attempt to foist any third term on our people because it is inconsistent with 1999 constitution.
And in any case dearly, not in the national interest”. Justice and equity must reign in Nigeria.
3.2 NATIONAL LEADERSHIP STYLE
Much of the reasons why the current conditions persist with the style of leadership which the country has received since independence in 1960. Leadership in Nigeria lacks vision for the nation. Its main concern has always been to relain power, and its primary reason for wanting power is the protection of ethnic tuffs. The leadership’s primary pre-occupation in power has been the business of managing ethnic or regional demands. No Nigeria leader has ever been able to break away from that paradigm.
And that has translated to a high degree of provincialism in Nigeria leadership. Nigeria leaders tend to try to keep as many strand of the strings of power within their personal grip. This tendency often exacerbates inefficiencies and corruption in the system.
In Obasanjo’s case, his desire to retain as much power as possible led him to break many of the salient rules of democratic practice. President Obasanjo had come on board promising to support the entrenchment of democratic rule country, yet his efforts to share up his own presidential power became inimical to the democratic health of the nation. It began with his scheming to oust independents and install amenable leaders in both the House and the Senate. To achieve this end, it is usually necessary to bribe legislators, most of who had arrived to the legislature through corrupt political machines and therefore owe their positions to the party leadership. The first senate president, the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, was ousted in this way. It continued with the presidents’ total control over the people Democratic party, (PDP) the party that brought him to power. Party Chairman then which is Chief Audu Ogbeh, lost his position and place in the party when he dared to call the president to order on his role in the crisis engulfing Anambra State in 2005.
The 2005 crisis in Anambra State further highlighted serious flaws in the president’s method of leadership. The crisis had begun when Governor Chris Ngige refused to toe the president’s line in his administration of the State. Almost immediately following Ngige election, the president’s point man in the State the thuggish millionaire and self styled “godfather” of Anambra politics Chris Uba, had attempted to assert control over the newly elected governor, Uba had openly claimed that it was he who had bank rolled Ngige’s election. He also claimed that Ngige had not actually won the election, but that he, Chris Uba, had rigged it to make Ngige’s the winner! For these stunning revelations Uba felt entitied to a stipulated portion of the state’s treasury. President Obasanjo had intervened directly by inviting Ngige and Uba to Aso Rock, his official residence in Abuja. There, he apparently brokered peace between the two and persuaded Ngige to accept some presidential appointees as” advisers” to be paid and financed directly from the presidency, nowhere in the constitution does it say that the president can appoint advisers for, or have any role to play in the government of a state.
That these things could happen without adverse repercussions for their perpetrators points to the peculiar nature of power as adopted by the Nigeria elite.
The cause of them goes back many decades to 1950-51 the period when the colonist organized and conducted the first general elections in Nigeria.
Those election organized to counter the challenge of the rising popularity of the nationalist under their political vehicle, the national council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC). It began with referendum to change the constitution which a few years earlier, in 1947, colonial authorities had insisted-against the demands of the nationalist for a new constitution that the existing one introduced in 1964, had to be worked for at least a decade before any thoughts of amending it can be entertained. The referendum and ensuring elections were tightly controlled to produce the results envisaged by colonist. For instance, Lagos which was always a federal territory was for the first time made to come under regional control despit the people’s desire, expressed through the referendum, to retain the city as a federal territory. That was the beginning of corruption of our electoral processes. The colonists had a long-term view to keep the nationalist out of Nigerian politics. The ensuring elections to populate the National Assembly were tightly controlled to ensure that regional interests (as opposed to nationalist pan-Nigerian interests) carried the day.
3.3 THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
President Obasanjo regime had stayed faithfully within parameters for meeting the internationally set millennium Development Goals in its social and economic policy development. Following that guideline helped the president a lot in his areas of success. His much touted National Economic Empowerment and development strategy (NEEDS) programme is built on this MDG foundation, but area where the MDG is silent or doesn’t provide specific guiding, Obasanjo largely failed to perform credibly. This is especially true in the management of domestic projects and systems.
Obasanjo performed well in areas of direct interest to the international business community. He has been able to embark on large-scale projects such as giving the country a brand new railway system and building new sophisticated electricity generation plants. These are project requiring large scale infusions of cash, a lot of which comes directly from development partners like the United Nations, the European Union and china. But his management of existing system lacked vision.
In 1999, the newly elected president Obasanjo promised to tackle the problem of electricity supply in the country. At the time Nigeria was struggling to maintain a daily power generation capacity of about 3000 megawatts and power shortages were rampant.
The president promised that he would make power shortages a thing of the past within six months. Four years later the country was still struggling with 300 to 400 megawatts, where it needed at least 10, 00 megawatts to meet current needs. By the end of Obasanjo tenure in 2007 power generation in the country dropped to about 1000 megawatts for a few months when the Egbin power station went off-line.
The problem with power generation in Nigeria is not just that NEPA is not generating enough electricity to serve the nation.
More than inadequate power generation, the utility’s problem lies in the management’s inability to manage what is available and provide stop-gap measures to cover for short falls in its installed capacity. Careful management of existing resources, power importation and investment in temporary emergency power systems would be far less costly (at least 50% less so) than the existing situation where most industries and small businesses are not able to complete due largely to inadequate power supply.
President elect Yar’Adua has to keep these things in mind as he sets his priorities for the next four years more than any thing else Yar’Adua can not adopt Obasanjo’s style of democratic leadership style. He must do better if the functions of democracy are to be strengthened in this country.
3.4 VERTICAL INTEGRATION IN POLITICS
Those 1951 election introduced a kind of vertical integration into the conduct of politics in Nigeria. Vertical integration in polities is a situation where those with the means to control the political machinery arrange things so that they control every step in the process thus ensuring that the outcome will always be in their faviour. Other political operators sine 1951 have consistently applied this model of vertical integration to the conduct of politics in the country and Nigerians have come to know it as the “incumbent factor”. Vertical integration in politics defeats the democratic ideal because it removes the element of free choice from the electorate. It is in itself corruption in politics. It does not allow the best possible candidate or most popular one to emerge only candidates approved of by the owner or owners of the political machine may emerge.
After he came to power in 1999, promising to promote democracy in Nigeria, president Obasanjo nevertheless employed the vertical integration-in-politics model extensively in establishing and extending his political hold. He did not countenance any opposition to his own choice for action and direction in the people democratic party; and neither did he tolerate such in his roles as president. Such qualities have their advantages in situations that relate strictly to the president’s executive role especially when the presidential decision is the correct on. For example, Obasanjo appointed a number of super ministers and directors-general who have done and are doing very well in their roles-people like Dora Akunyil in NAFDAC; Nuhu Ribadu in EFCC; and El Rufail, Minister for the National capital Territory.
On the organizational level a modified approach was needed to secure a fragile democracy, yet the president did not seem to appreciate the need to champion the formulation of such a modified approach. He made no attempt to reform the PDP political party structure, which was inimical to true democracy, but took advantage of it to secure and advance his own power within the party and beyond. It was a shortsighted choice that, in the long run caused democracy surfer in Nigeria and it, ironically, ultimately increased the president’s own frustrations in government administration.
Vertical integration enables the president, through the PDP political machine, to exert tremendous influence and control over the federal legislature for a long time. Beyond the PDP political machine, vertical integration also meant “high degree of inter dependency between national institutions. It kept power concentrated in the centre or at the federal level and made things convenient for the president in terms of acquiring and extending his own power. It enabled the president to keep a tab on, and wring concessions out of the governors.
Those governors who refused to go along with the presidents program, like Ngige in Anambra State, paid dearly for that streak of independence.
All the governors, in turn, adopted the same system of vertical integration to keep firm control over all the people and institutions below them. It enabled them, most especially, to keep tight control over local government affairs.
Vertical integration engendered corruption in the system. The president recognized this as far as the local governments were concerned because he saw clearly the resulting corruption that it caused, but he failed to recognize the same phenomenon in his own relationships with the governors and other branches of the government.
It was a frustrated president Obasanjo therefore who soon after his re-election in 2003, convened the council of state obtain agreement for dismantling the local government council system.
The president’s frustrations stermmed from the limitations placed on him by the constitution in connection with the situation in the local government system.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
4.1 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The study was an attempt to look at politics and national development in Nigeria, a case of Obasanjo regime. The study observed that there was a lot of problems in politics and national development such as, problem of third term agenda which has habitated politics and national development of Nigeria. Then the problem of national disintegration or ethnic problems, problem of breaking does the silent features of democratical practices, because it remove the element of free choice from the electorate, which brought about corruption in politics.
It brings vertical disintegration of power in Nigeria.
The researcher equally observed that the negative actions which Obasanjo administration created through the so called cabinet, is the issue of voting the incompetent leaders who has myopic visions and selfish interest.
The study further observed that the political arrangement/leadership style in Nigeria back slide the national development. It regards to the use of thugs/assassinators to pin down their opponents during the election, in the name of politics.
Finally, as a result of this menance no body could stand on truth and as a matter of fact, there was problem in almost all the sectors in Nigeria such as Educational sector, political sectors, economic and family level, and once there is no peace in various sectors, their would be no development.
This research study has also extensively established the politics and national development of Nigeria during Obasanjo first term, second term and third term bid. Obasanjo spend most of his first term traveling abroad claimed to polish the country’s image and re-establish the country to international scene after being battered and stained by Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime. Obasanjo second term have been more effective than first term. He was able to attract technocrat and Nigerian expatriates to his administration, and he made effective contribution to the country economic planning and development.
Though president Obasanjo deserves praises for the fight against corruption and his effort which led to the conciliation of Nigerian’s debt by the Paris club, but that should not be a criteria for him to seek for third term in office in contravention of constitution and in the way that does not reflect the principle of democratic society. Even if he were qualified to run for presidency again, it is the electorates that will choose who leads them and by imposition.
1. There will be rotational of political power among three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, for adequate distribution of national cake and proper development.
2. Proper application of democracy in Nigeria so that electorates will give the chance of electing competence person of their choice, so that politicians should encouraged to play politics without bitterness, shown discrimination, greedy, selfishness in their quest for power in order to move the nation forward.
3. All the political office holders should be made to give account of their services at the expiration of tenure while those who shy away it should persecuted accordingly, to stop/avoid the problem of mismanagement of public funds.
Politics And National Development Of Nigeria: A Case Of Obasanjo’s Regime
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