Ken Nnamani, president of the Nigerian senate from April 2005 to May 2007, says he sacrificed his senate career after seeing to the truncation of the bid to give a third term to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006.
Although Obasanjo has repeatedly denied he was involved in the plan to amend the constitution and grant him an extra term, Nnamami said senators elected on the platform of then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were promised automatic tickets in the 2007 elections if they voted in favour of the bid.
In his newly released book, ‘Standing Strong: Legislative Reforms, Third Term and Other Issues of the 5th Senate’, Nnamani wrote on the clandestine meetings that were held to push the third term agenda.
The senate dropped the proposed amendment on May 16, 2006 after a voice vote.
“In my own case, my reelection to the senate was foreclosed because I was marked out as the principal figure among those that ended the infamous project,” Nnamani said.
He said he knew he would not be given a level-playing field in the party primary so “I opted to take the High Road and stay out of the contest”.
Promises were made before the senate vote assuring many of the supporters of a straight ticket back to the national assembly.
Huge sums of money were also said to have been offered to the lawmakers to back the third term agenda.
Nnamani said he rejected all offers, like many others, adding that “it was the least sacrifice” he could make to ensure that the constitution amendment process “was not abused”.
“We lost the opportunity of continuing with a crop of lawmakers who had gained experience in the culture of legislation but who were brazenly denied their party’s ticket because they stood against autocracy. The political party system as nurtured by Obasanjo was one where the party and the governors were in the pouch of the president and from the comfort of his bedroom he decided who went where,” he wrote.
President Muhammadu Buhari will be special guest of honour at the public presentation of the book on Thursday in Abuja.
Theophilus Danjuma, a retired general and former army chief, will be the chairman.