by John Ameh, Oluwole Josiah, Mudiaga Affe and Ozioma Ubabukoh

 


House of Representatives is set to deliberate on former President Olusegun Obasanjo allegation that the National Assembly initiated the ill-fated third term agenda to elongate his tenure in 2007.
Former-President-Olusegun-Obasanjo
One of our correspondents learnt that the lawmakers are planning to raise the issue in the plenary of the House on April 17.

The House, which has been observing the Easter break, will reconvene on Tuesday, April 17.

The Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, told The PUNCH on Tuesday that the matter would be raised on the floor “under personal explanations”.

He said, “I am very angry and won’t sit down and watch to be insulted; many members are unhappy over this development.

“I will personally bring this issue up the very day of our resumption (April 17) under personal explanations; then we proceed from there”.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, told one of our correspondents that the House would entertain a motion on Obasanjo’s comments if raised by any member.

Mohammed explained that members were at liberty to bring up any issue on the floor, adding that, “in keeping with our tradition, members will listen to such matters”.

He added, “It is a democratic House; there are privileges enjoyed by members and they can raise issues they feel have breached their privilege under personal explanations.

“What I cannot tell you now is the direction the debate will take; if there will be a debate.

“The House may accept the matter or reject it, depending on how members look at it.”

Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, however, told one of our correspondents that the third term proposal was lost to superior arguments of those who opposed it.

Ndoma-Egba, recalled that there was no “formal” request from Obasanjo to extend his tenure, but it was inserted at some point in the process of the proposed constitution amendment.

He said, “I read the comments and what I think he was saying is that he did not formally introduce any bill for the elongation of tenure and to the best of my knowledge I cannot remember any bill from the President on third term.

“I was not a member of the review committee, but I can’t remember having a bill on third term coming from the President.”

Ndoma-Egba also said that the bill was killed because legislators had agreed and “unanimously threw it out”.

“That is why we said that what happened was that superior arguments prevailed and members all voted to throw it out,” he added.

The former Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters during the Obasanjo administration, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, declined comments on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe the third term bribe allegation.

The group, which made the call on Monday,  said the probe was necessary now that Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Deputy Senate President and Chairman Joint Constitutional Review Committee during the third term saga, had come out publicly to defend claims by Obasanjo that he never initiated the idea of tenure elongation.

 

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