Kano State Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has said the convocation of the National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan was designed to perpetuate the President in power.
Kwankwaso who addressed reporters in his office at the Government House, accused Jonathan of smuggling a new constitution into the conference and using divide-and-rule tactics to balkanise interest groups to make himself a life President.
He stressed that if Jonathan’s agenda scaled through, he would get another eight-year mandate in 2015, in the bid to perpetrate himself in power and achieve his life ambition.
“These people are desperate. They want to continue by all means. That is the idea of divide-and-rule. They want to rule forever. I think he (Jonathan) wants to be a life President.”
The governor expressed misgiving about most of the issued so far debated at the National Conference. “You have seen recently that he (Jonathan) took a bill to the National Assembly to approve a six-year one term. The implication is that he wanted to lift himself.
“He got two years after the death of (Umaru Musa) Yar’Adua. Now, he is spending four years. And he wants another six years of one term, making 12 years, at least, for now. That seems not to be working. Now, we are hearing that they smuggled a new Constitution through the Conference.
“The arithmetic of the handlers there is saying that they want to throw away the six years, have a new Constitution and, by 2015, start another eight years. This is because we have seen it during the first term of the governors of Yobe, Taraba, Ogun, Kogi.
“These were friends who were governors during the aborted Third Republic and people took them to court so that they regained their first term. The courts said: ‘No, no, no, this is a new Constitution.’ Now, there is a new Constitution on the ground to start another eight years by 2015.”
Kwankwaso said Nigeria needs a change, adding that the nation would continue to pray for the President to sail the ship to safe shores in 2015 and also prayed that there would be no crisis that would degenerate into a religious war.
Kwankwaso maintained that he had always opposed the National Conference because it was a waste of resources, stressing that Nigeria needs an equitable distribution of its vast resources to its impoverished people.
He noted that the Conference would be harmful to the country because it was designed to extend the President’s tenure from the proposed single term to eight years by 2015.
Kwankwaso said if the new constitution is endorsed, it would empower Jonathan to extend his tenure, stressing that Jonathan’s reason for convoking the National Conference was to transform into a life President.
He said the President had concentrated his prosecutions on the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the aim to destabilise it to achieve his ambition of becoming a life President.
Kwankwaso decried the constant interference “from above”, particularly in Rivers, Adamawa and, lately, in Kano and recalled how the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced its candidate as the Emir of Kano without waiting for the announcement of the approved Emir, Alhaji Mohammad Sanusi, who was among those shortlisted.
He said Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako was not as bad as he was being portrayed, stressing that the ruling party is always jittery about APC and will blame the party’s leadership for anything.
Kwankwaso said he supported state police, a position he earlier opposed when his Rivers State counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi, was calling for same.
The governor urged Nigerians to be their brother’s keeper, adding that they should help their compatriots instead of debating resource control and derivation.
“I do not see anything wrong in the revenue sharing formula of the country, rather than agitating for an upward review from 13 per cent to 18 per cent, which is the contentious issue tearing the house apart.”
On Boko Haram activities in the Northeast, Kwankwaso was worried that Jonathan had failed to assert himself as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to halt killings and destruction of property.
The governor suggested that the President should either negotiate with the sect or use force to stop the incessant killings.
“This stoppage should either be by negotiation of by the use of force on any of them. I tell you that most of the confusion is coming from Mr President’s handlers, the people around him, just to cause more problems.”