Jonathan Hits Back At Obasanjo

Former President Goodluck Jona­than yesterday in United States of America, took a swipe on the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo over his third term bid, saying that if not for a vibrant parliament in place, he would have had his way.
Obasanjo and Jonathan
Jonathan spoke in the Unit­ed States at an event titled: “Presidential elections and democratic consolidation in Africa: Case studies on Nige­ria and Tanzania” and co-host­ed by National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
According to Jonathan, the strong resistance of the Nige­rian National Assembly actu­ally frustrated the third term bid of former President Oluse­gun Obasanjo.
“Of course, I was a gover­nor at that time under the Peo­ple’s Democratic Party (PDP), the same party as Obasanjo, but due to strong resistance from the National Assembly, the third term bid failed.”
According to Jonathan, Af­rica needs strong parliaments to checkmate sit-tight presi­dents who influence parlia­ments to consider amendment to the constitution that would extend their stay in office.
“Changing constitutions to eliminate term limits in order to favour incumbents is incon­sistent with democratic prin­ciples and reduces confidence in democratic institutions.”
While addressing the issue of weak African institutions, Jonathan observed that Afri­can democracies are becom­ing stronger, adding the situa­tion would greatly improve in the next decade.
He further noted that al­though some leaders in Af­rica are still able to manipulate their way to elongate their tenure, the people are increas­ingly raising their awareness and African parliaments are becoming stronger to be able to resist such tendencies in future. He made reference to Burkina Faso, where he noted that although the parliament approved an extra term for the former president, the people resisted that, forcing the presi­dent and speaker of the parlia­ment to go on exile. Also in Senegal, Jonathan, noted that the former President thinking he would win another term in­creased the tenure of his office to seven from five years. But the opposition candidate won the election and returned the tenure to five years, believing that seven years was too long for one term.
On the issue of security contracts for which his for­mer Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, is currently facing charges, it is believed that the Jonathan administration spent a sizable amount of money equipping all the security and intelligence outfits in the country over his five-year pe­riod in the presidency.
But Jonathan stated that his administration never awarded a single contract that was worth $2 billion, stressing that the economy couldn’t have supported such huge amount of money to be awarded at once. “At no time did I award a single contract of $2 billion for procurement of weapons.”
Jonathan stated that like most governments around the world, there might have been issues of corruption during his time as President. He however maintained that the story was being unnecessarily embel­lished, adding that there are ongoing investigations and court processes that would es­tablish the truth.
For instance, he frowned at the allegation that some officials in his administration were stealing one million bar­rels of crude oil a day at a time when Nigeria’s production peaked at 2.25 million barrels.
“To claim that half of that was being stolen on a daily basis doesn’t add up, other­wise the government wouldn’t have functioned at all to even be able to pay salaries,” Jona­than said.
The Sun
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