Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has denied the allegation that he ever solicited for a third term as the president of Nigeria, saying it was the national assembly that included it amongst the other clauses of the constitution, that was to be amended.
While commenting on the challenges of deepening democratic institutions in Africa; the former president for the first time, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television stated firmly that “I never toyed with the idea of a third term.”
The former president insisted that he has always denied the allegations and talks around the third term issue which he allegedly sought at the end of his two-term tenure of eight years in 2007.
He claimed the bill for the third term was initiated by members of the national assembly along with the constitution amendment.
“Third term was one out of over a hundred clauses that they (the National Assembly) included in that amendment and they initiated it.”
“It was not an executive bill, so you are absolutely wrong” he affirmed to Channels reporter, adding that “if I want a third term that bill would have come from me.”
“My liaison officer to the national assembly, Florence Ita-Giwa told the whole world that there was no day I ever called her and say go and work for third term” he added.
He also took a swipe at his Vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, saying “even Atiku who said some people told him there was a third term agenda, hasn’t mentioned the names of the people that told him such.”
“Even Ibrahim Mantu, who was the chairman of the constitution amendment committee, will never tell you I told him I want a third term.”
The former president who now owns a church in Abeokuta further explained that he knew what he would have done to achieve the third term, if he wanted it.
“I am not a fool, if I want a third term, I know how to go about it and there is nothing I want that God hasn’t given me. If I had wanted a third term, I would have gone about it, the way I should have gone about it and I would have gotten it.”
The retired general spoke with our correspondent Olugbenga Ashiru in an interview session in his hilltop home in Abeokuta South-west Nigeria.
For more on the interview watch our programme, Network Africa on Friday 2.30pm, with a repeat broadcast on Saturday 6.30pm on Channels TV.