Former Senate President Ken Nnamani has said the upper chamber during his leadership scuttled the third term agenda of Olusegun Obasanjo but failed to amend the 1999 Constitution.

Mr Nnamani, who was Senate President between April 2005 and May 2007, spoke at a media parley in Lagos ahead of the release of his new book.

The book, Standing Strong: Legislative Reforms, Third Term and Other Issues of the 5th Senate, has 14 chapters and 492 pages.

Mr Nnamani said although he was happy that the planned tenure elongation of the then president, Mr Obasanjo, was truncated, the Senate missed an opportunity to amend the constitution.

“In respecting our constitution, we hold it sacred until amended,” he said.

“There is need for us to follow our constitution and our own rules.”

The book also disclosed part of his background that contributed to actions he took and how he piloted the red chamber.

Checks and balance

Mr Nnamani said he documented his experience and how his leadership served as the bridge between autocracy and democracy.

“If there are no checks on a president, there is tendency for him to become a dictator and later an aggressive one,” he said.

In the excerpt of the book, Mr Nnamani said attaining executive-legislative balance was one of the challenges Nigeria faced after a move from military rule to democracy.

“Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Army General and military head of state, who was elected civilian president did not waste time showing his disdain for the legislature and his impatience with the principle of separation of powers.

“He wanted absolute control of all the reins of government, and from the outset, elected to choose and install the leadership of the legislature, probably thinking it was his God-given right as president,” the excerpt reads.

Mr Nnamani said the quest for power led to the push for a third term by the former president which the Senate, under his leadership rejected, regardless of manipulations and blackmails.

Mr Obasanjo had denied any involvement in the plan to amend the constitution to give him a third term.

Mr Nnamami said following the crash of the third term bill, it was difficult to work with the then president, but he had to find means to carry on his duties.

Mr Nnamani said he used “no attacking phrase or words of abuse” in his book, as he has no intention of attacking anyone.

“I tried to tell a story of what happened while I was in office, I talked about accountability. It wil help us, researchers and students of political history will find some piece of information there that will help the future.

“It is not about challenging anybody or putting anybody down. I tried to show is that both the current and previous regime, if we must advance the country, we must follow due process. If we can follow it, we will cause ourselves less havoc,” he said.


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