In what seems to be a confirmation of the irreparably damaged relationship between him and his estranged godfather, immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan has confessed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo indeed, wanted to elongate his tenure in office aka third term agenda.
Despite his insistence that he never initiated the failed third term bid, some of the active political players at the time have come out to contradict the claim, saying Mr. Obasanjo not only attempted to elongate his tenure, he gave full backing to his foot soldiers to actualize the bid.
“People say that it was obvious that I wanted a third term and I ask those who say I was behind the third term to bring concrete evidence to prove that I spearheaded it”, Obasanjo noted during the launch of his controversial autobiography, ‘My Watch’.
He added that “Third term was not my agenda or intention. I didn’t mastermind third term. Those who were telling me to go on were the governors that were going to benefit from it”.
This claim was, however, punctured on Thursday when former President Jonathan, who was governor of Bayela State when the controversial issue of third term came up, said if not for the strong opposition to the bid by the then National Assembly, Mr. Obasanjo could have gotten a tenure elongation.
“I was a governor at that time, but due to strong resistance from the national assembly, the third-term bid failed”, said Jonathan at an event titled: “Presidential elections and democratic consolidation in Africa: Case studies on Nigeria and Tanzania”, co-hosted by National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The ex-Nigerian leader was the sole speaker.
Jonathan, who last March suffered defeat at the presidential election, noted that Africa needed strong parliaments to checkmate presidents’ desperation for prolonged 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.
“This is a disturbing precedent for the region and continent”, he added.
Jonathan, who also shared his experience as leader of a commonwealth observation team at the just concluded general elections in Tanzania, disclosed that he will soon launch his foundation.