Thursday, May 25, 2006

Obasanjo is great indeed!

[updated below]

Speaking of their president, the Obasanjo Solidarity Forum (OSF) called on the Nigerian Federal Assembly to return the money they were given to develop reforms to the Nigerian constitution. Those who have followed this blog know that the principle constitutional reform, that of allowing Obasanjo to run for a third-term, went down in flames just last week.

Ostensibly, the OSF's complaint is that anti-third-term forces in the Assembly had thrown out other important constitutional revisions along with the bathwater.

They had these elevated words for their leader (stop drinking your coffee, now!) [emphasis mine]:
In a cool, calculating and leisurely manner, Mr. President accepted the verdict of democracy as symbolised by what happened in the National Assembly. Once again, we of OSF have been proved right, that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo still remains the elder statesman he is reputed to be, more visionary than Mandela, greater than Clinton and more pacific than Bush.
Totally agreed, of course.

But I'm not so sure that Mr. President General Olusegun Obasanjo would be so "pacific" if he had a $400 billion a year defense budget, and special appropriations on the order of $9 billion a month for an overseas war.

UPDATE: From Tom Ashby at Reuters:

Obasanjo, a 69-year-old former military ruler, said last week he accepted the National Assembly's rejection of his tenure extension. He told the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to heal the wounds of the divisive "third term campaign" and prepare for the 2007 polls.

But some lawmakers fear that the retired general might launch an offensive against those responsible for the defeat or even try to hold onto power by wrecking the elections.

"If there is any victimisation of people because they were against the third term, or if he refuses to fund the electoral authority, or if people feel the president wants to abort the process, impeachment proceedings will start straight away," said a senior PDP lawmaker, adding that a long list of charges had already been prepared.

"Visionary" or not, Obasanjo is still considered a serious threat to democracy in Nigeria. You might say, hey, these are just opposition lawmakers talking. But this "senior lawmaker" is not from an opposition party -- he's from Obasanjo's own PDP. Ashby goes on:
With the third term now ruled out, power is draining away from Obasanjo and many party members are calling for the removal of the party chairman. The 36 state governors, who fund and control the party machinery, have re-emerged as key players.
His party is in disarray, and he is being threatened with impeachment should he attempt what Nigerians routinely call "shenanigans."

I'm wondering -- will we see the reintroduction Obasanjo's super-repressive gay marriage bill (pdf)? Or perhaps it's already dead? The disapperance of that bill would get a lot of people (i.e., the Anglican Church of Nigeria, its primate Archbishop Peter Akinola, and his high-profile conservative western supporters) off the hook.

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