Atiku, Kalu, others stopped third term, Larry Essien tells Nnamani
From Paschal okeke, Abuja
Former National Chairman of People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Chief Larry Essien, has lambasted former Senate president, Ken Nnamani, over his claim of involvement in stopping the third term agenda of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Essien described Nnamani’s claim as “false and self glorification” and said the former lawmaker “arrogated to himself what he never engineered.”
He said it was former Deputy Senate president, Ibrahim Mantu, who, at the time, was also the chairman of the constitution review committee; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who he said Obasanjo had suspected to work with the United States against him; former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Bello Masari and a few others that made it impossible for the third term agenda to scale through.
Nnamani was quoted recently as saying he had no regrets truncating the third term bid of former president Obasanjo.
He said: “If given another opportunity, I would still preside over stoppage of the botched third term agenda.”
But Essien, in a statement, argued that Obasanjo was a popular president and could have only been stopped by people who dared him without minding the actions of the former president.
He noted that Nnamani was just a senator and did not have the capacity, both as an individual and as Senate president, to stop what Obasanjo wanted.
He said: “The lies sold to the public is unbecoming and I am surprised that the former senate president is trying to circumvent the true facts of third term agenda.
“If the constitution review committee had subscribed to the idea of tenure elongation which Senator Ibrahim Mantu chaired, third term agenda would have been a success story,” he said.
Essien explained that Senator Mantu, who has maintained relative silence on the matter, was able to give Nigerians a little light when he was quoted in an interview as saying, “the third term agenda failed because most of the senators bought into the campaign of those men who did not want Obasanjo to have another tenure.”
Essien noted that the political disagreement between former president Obasanjo, Atiku and Kalu was because Atiku and Kalu were strong stumbling blocks to the former president’s hidden tenure elongation agenda.
“Atiku and Kalu came under serious political persecution for opposing the third term agenda which attempted to remove constitutional term limits.
“First, they were deregistered from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which led to Kalu’s founding of People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) and subsequent casting of Atiku as corrupt and unreliable. The big arm of the Federal Government fell on Kalu and his businesses,” he further said.
He advised political leaders to endeavor to state the true position of things to avoid misleading the public.
Meanwhile, former president Obasanjo has yet to admit any plan to elongate his tenure as president. He has waved it as a rumour orchestrated by his detractors. The effort to amend Nigeria’s constitution at the tail end of Obasanjo’s tenure was widely viewed as engineered by him and his top aides.